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ALAMEDA, Calif. — Does Todd Downing have only one game remaining as the Oakland Raiders’ offensive coordinator?

Coach Jack Del Rio on Wednesday came close to giving Downing, who was elevated from quarterbacks coach last offseason to replace the departed Bill Musgrave, a vote of confidence. Though, it could also be seen as a parting gift.
“Obviously, a lot of things have gone in a negative direction,” Del Rio said. “But I do know the guy is super bright. He’s going to be a real good coach in this league and I believe in him. So those are not things that people want to hear right now because the reality is we’ve underperformed offensively this year and so there’s going to be, naturally, there are going to be these kinds of questions and I think we all understand it. I understand it, he understands it.
“But it doesn’t change my belief. It’s what I know. But there have been a tough set of circumstances and things have not gone real smooth. And it’s not what we’re looking for. But this is really about the Chargers. … We can get into season-ending talk when it’s appropriate next week.”

Under Downing, the Raiders have regressed from the No. 6 total offense in the NFL in 2016 — they averaged 373.3 yards per game and scored 416 points, the seventh most in the league — to the No. 19 total offense, averaging 323.3 yards per game and scoring 291 points, 23rd most in the NFL.

Derek Carr's regression under first-year offensive coordinator Todd Downing has been a primary concern for the Raiders this season.

Derek Carr’s regression under first-year offensive coordinator Todd Downing has been a primary concern for the Raiders this season.

Perhaps most glaring has been the regression of quarterback Derek Carr, who signed a five-year, $125 million contract extension this past summer after finishing tied for third in NFL MVP voting.

But many observers have claimed Downing’s offense and route trees for receivers became too simplistic and the addition of running back Marshawn Lynch and stretch-zone runs negatively affected the once-dominant offensive line.

And the Raiders fell from a 12-4 record last season to a 6-9 mark heading into this Sunday’s finale at the Los Angeles Chargers (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS).

Turnover differential is a major reason as well. Oakland tied for the league lead last season at plus-16, but it enters Week 17 29th in the NFL at minus-12.

“Basic execution,” Del Rio said, “is the difference between being happy and not.”
Del Rio essentially chose the potential of Downing, 37, over the résumé of Musgrave, and Downing said after his hiring that any changes to the offense would be “subtle” going forward.

“We’re going to keep the same system terminology,” he said at the time. “There’s no reason to change any of that stuff. All we’re doing right now is finding the ways that we can all individually do our jobs better, prepare our positions better and how we can just quarter-turn a couple things to make the offense as efficient as possible.”

Downing was also asked if he considered himself an if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it type of coach.

“Yeah, I definitely think that that’s a phrase you can tag to me,” he said. “I believe … in efficiency. And if we’re efficient in a concept, I am not going to go changing it just for change sake. If we’re inefficient or we failed to live up to expectations in a certain concept, then I am going to figure out a way to tinker with it and make it work. If I can’t make it work, we simply won’t do it anymore.”

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — The New York Giants appear to be sticking with quarterback Eli Manning even in the final week of the season against the Washington Redskins.

“Eli will start, and then we’ll probably take it bit by bit,” interim coach Steve Spagnuolo said after Sunday’s 23-0 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. “We just take it and see how it goes. Eli is the starter.”

Manning started Sunday, and the Giants lost tight end Evan Engram (rib) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (neck) by the end of the game. He threw a pair of interceptions and lost a fumble that was returned for a score. He also played from start to finish despite the lopsided result.

Rookie Davis Webb wasn’t even an option. He was inactive for the contest, the 15th time in as many games the third-round pick failed to dress. There’s a chance Webb will be active next Sunday after he took some first-team snaps at practice last week.
But since Spagnuolo was named interim coach in place of the fired Ben McAdoo earlier this month, he has insisted that the Giants are prioritizing winning and that Manning gives them the best chance to win.

The Giants still scored 10 points or fewer for the sixth time this season Sunday and lost their fourth straight game.

Spagnuolo didn’t contemplate taking Manning out for backup Geno Smith at any point.

“No. I really didn’t,” Spagnuolo said.

Smith started a game earlier this month in Oakland to end Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive starts. McAdoo was fired less than 24 hours after the game, and the Giants reversed course with their plan, which was to eventually get to Webb.

Co-owner John Mara said he wanted to see the young quarterback play, and by play he didn’t mean come in late to close out a game.
Manning went 27-of-45 passing for 263 yards against the Cardinals.

“Hey, we didn’t score any points, so I didn’t play well enough,” he said.

Neither did his supporting cast. The Giants fell to 2-13 this season and are in position to potentially land the No. 2 overall pick in next year’s draft.

That could put them in position to draft Manning’s potential successor, namely UCLA’s Josh Rosen or USC’s Sam Darnold. But Manning wasn’t ready to discuss his future after the latest loss Sunday.

“I’ll figure out next week and go from there,” he said.

Manning turns 37 next week.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Davante Adams has made some remarkable returns from concussions in his young NFL career.

There was the Thursday night game against the Bears last season. Four days after he was concussed at Dallas, he caught 13 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns in what he called “a statement game” after getting hit and being able to “show [something to] my teammates more than anything, my teammates and the coaches.”

Then there was the game at Dallas on Oct. 8. Ten days after he was taken off the field on a gurney and spent a night in the hospital after Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan’s hit, Adams caught seven passes for 66 yards and two touchdowns — including the game-winner with 11 seconds to play.
Both times he returned without missing a game.

Davante Adams, who has 74 catches for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, suffered a third head injury in two seasons on Sunday.

Davante Adams, who has 74 catches for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, suffered a third head injury in two seasons on Sunday.

This time, there’s no reason for the Green Bay Packers’ budding star receiver to play again the rest of the season after he was concussed on Sunday at Carolina, where Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis leveled him with an illegal block that led to a suspension.

If Adams is indeed the future cornerstone of the receiver group, as it would appear he is, the Packers would be foolish to risk a third head injury in the same season.

And from Adams’ perspective, the idea of playing another down of football without a new contract wouldn’t be a wise business decision.
Adams is nearing the end of his rookie contract, which, as a second-round pick in 2014, added up to a total of $3.933 million. He should be in line to collect more than 10 times that over his next four-year deal.

But it’s worth wondering if the Packers and other teams might be concerned because Adams has suffered three concussions in the past two seasons.

Fellow Packers receiver Randall Cobb said Tuesday that Adams was “frustrated” after taking a second illegal hit this season.

Adams has never once talked publicly about money, saying only that he hopes his next contract is with the Packers, but he referenced his “livelihood” in a series of tweets directed at Davis, saying that players should “be in this together [and] look out for one another [and] not mess with a man['s] livelihood and hand out unnecessary concussions.”
Adams isn’t allowed to speak to reporters while he’s still in the concussion protocol so it’s unknown if he’s willing to play again this season without a contract extension — and with the playoffs out of reach — but when that idea was proposed to Cobb, he said: “Well, you tell him that. I’ll let you tell him that.”

On the day the Packers shut down Aaron Rodgers for the rest of the season, coach Mike McCarthy said the team also would play it safe with Adams.

“We’re going to be smart,” McCarthy said. “We’re not going to take any chances.

“You don’t release a player out of the protocol until he’s ready to play,” McCarthy added. “That’s the way we’ve always done it, whether that’s more conservative I can’t tell you as far as how we can compare it to other teams. But our players don’t come out of the protocol until we feel they’re ready to play. That’s why you’ll see we’ve had certain players be trial return in practice because there’s different stages that you have to go through, but until they clear, they’re not eligible to play.”

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — If Aaron Rodgers plays Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings — and that remains an if — coach Mike McCarthy doesn’t want his quarterback to take the kind of punishment he did in his return from his collarbone injury on Sunday.

Rodgers was sacked three times and took seven hits from the Carolina Panthers during his first game in two months.

“Aaron Rodgers is sore — rightfully so,” McCarthy said Monday evening. “He was hit too many times, took two big hits. So we’re working through that. So we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
By then, the Packers (7-7) will know if they have any chance at the postseason. Their streak of eight straight playoff appearances will end if the Atlanta Falcons beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football.

McCarthy wouldn’t say if that would impact his decision to play Rodgers in either of the final two games.

“Well, we’re obviously watching the game tonight,” McCarthy said. “It impacts our opportunity to move forward, so you’re definitely aware of it. We treated today as a Tuesday with the coaching staff, no different for our players. They were all in here pretty much getting treatment and going through the weight room and strength and conditioning. We’re going to start having a little lighter start tomorrow, and we’re on a six-day week. But our preparation is getting ready to beat Minnesota. That’s our focus.”

Rodgers threw three touchdown passes in Sunday’s 31-24 loss but also had his first three-interception game since 2009. He completed 26 of 45 passes in his first game since Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr hit him and broke his right clavicle. Rodgers underwent surgery and was brought back off injured reserve at the earliest possible mark last week.

Rodgers said after the game that he was “disappointed in my performance … I obviously didn’t play very well.”
McCarthy wasn’t nearly as critical.

“I thought [he] did a lot of good things,” McCarthy said. “I think when you see him come back and not playing for two months, there’s so many things he makes look easy. For the most part, a number of throws, the plays he made with his feet, the awareness of plays, handling short-yardage situations, fourth-and-1, just a lot of critical decisions that he made in the game. We obviously did a lot more at the line of scrimmage with run-pass calls.

“They played us extremely aggressive — as aggressive as anybody played us all year. Handling that challenge. … If you go through it and you look at the three interceptions, two of them were like long punts. Those were all throws he’s made throughout his career. I think it was just a product of not playing for as long as he has because he’s made those throws. Those are routine throws for him. I thought he did a lot of really good things.”

The Packers re-signed backup quarterback Joe Callahan on Monday, which could be an indication that they will play Brett Hundley the rest of the way if they are eliminated from the postseason.

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Adrian Peterson’s status for the rest of this season is in jeopardy.

Arizona Cardinals’ coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday he wasn’t sure if the running back will return from the neck injury that he suffered on Nov. 26 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I have no idea,” Arians said when asked if Peterson will play again this season.

Arians added that there hasn’t been any progress on Peterson’s injury. Peterson missed his seventh straight practice on Wednesday. He didn’t play in Arizona’s past two games. And he is unlikely to play Sunday at the Washington Redskins.

Adrian Peterson has rushed for 529 yards with two touchdowns this season.

Adrian Peterson has rushed for 529 yards with two touchdowns this season.

Peterson has a history of returning from injuries in expedient fashion.

Most notably, he returned from a torn ACL suffered late in the 2011 season to rush for 2,097 yards and win the NFL MVP award in 2012.

He missed 11 games last season with a torn meniscus and also sat out games in 2013, 2011, 2010 and 2007 with injuries.

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Los Angeles Rams have lost cornerback Kayvon Webster for the remainder of this season, but they are otherwise in good shape heading into Sunday’s big road game against the division rival Seattle Seahawks.

Wide receiver Robert Woods and outside linebacker Connor Barwin, who have been absent in recent weeks, are expected to play. Offensive tackles Andrew Whitworth and Rob Havenstein, both of whom exited Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles prematurely, are also expected to play.
Franchise cornerback Trumaine Johnson is not in the concussion protocol, Rams coach Sean McVay said. Johnson was evaluated for a concussion during the game and passed, but he remained out because of a stinger. Johnson is also expected to play, a big boost for a team that will be without its other starting corner.

Whitworth and Havenstein each had their ankles rolled up on, but actually suffered knee injuries. Whitworth got hurt in the first quarter, but returned for the second half. Havenstein was injured in the fourth quarter — giving way to Darrell Williams, who got beat around the edge by Eagles defensive end Chris Long, causing a key fumble by Rams quarterback Jared Goff — but returned for Los Angeles’ final series.

Whitworth “checked out good today” and Havenstein “was in good spirits,” McVay said, calling their prognosis “very positive.”

Barwin had surgery to repair a broken bone in his left forearm on Nov. 27 and missed the next two games, paving the way for Samson Ebukam. Woods suffered a sprained left shoulder late in the Rams’ Nov. 19 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and missed the next three weeks, paving the way for Josh Reynolds.

Barwin and Woods are “on track, unless there are any setbacks, to be able to play and be available for the Seattle game,” according to McVay.

Webster ruptured his right Achilles tendon during a noncontact play in Sunday’s first quarter, shortly after his first Rams interception, and was placed on injured reserve Monday. In an Instagram post, Webster revealed that he also spent the entire season playing through a “torn labrum/rotator” cuff in his shoulder.

McVay said it was an issue Webster was able to play through and that he would’ve had the shoulder surgically repaired after the season.

“It just continues to demonstrate the toughness that Kayvon embodies,” McVay said. “We love Kayvon. Hate it for him that he had to go out like that, but he’s meant a lot to this team.”

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FRISCO, Texas — Dak Prescott threw for the first time since bruising his right hand in last week’s win against the Washington Redskins and pronounced himself ready to go.

“It felt great,” Prescott said after Wednesday’s practice. “There weren’t any restrictions. It didn’t feel like my hand was bothering me or any limitations on throwing the ball or anything.”

Prescott suffered the injury in the second quarter on an option pitch when he was hit by a Redskins defender. He remained in the lineup through that drive, which ended in a Dan Bailey field goal, but went to the locker room for X-rays, which were negative.

Because of Ryan Switzer’s punt return for a touchdown, Prescott did not miss an offensive snap. Rookie Cooper Rush was prepared to go in for Prescott. The swelling in Prescott’s hand started to go down after the game, and the quarterback said the hand was fine after a few days of massages and ice to further reduce the swelling.
Prescott wore a pad on the hand at the start of Wednesday’s practice but said he got rid of it not long into the session.

Officially, he is on the injury report as a full participant, but coach Jason Garrett was not worried about Prescott needing any practice time off.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said he threw without issue during practice on Wednesday. He suffered a bruised right hand last Thursday against Washington.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said he threw without issue during practice on Wednesday. He suffered a bruised right hand last Thursday against Washington.

“He did a good job in the game just coming back and being able to play through it,” Garrett said. “We think he’s going to be functional. We’ll see today. The biggest thing is gripping the ball and being able to throw it the way you want to throw it naturally, but he’s a tough guy, he’s a physically tough guy, he’s a mentally tough guy.”

Sunday’s forecast high temperature is 41 degrees for the Cowboys’ game at MetLife Stadium against the New York Giants. Last season, Prescott warmed up in snow with temperature at kickoff at 32 degrees.

Temperatures at today’s practice were in the low 50s, the coldest of the season.

“Today was a good day to prepare for that. Luckily it’s not too cold or whatever — 40 up there, I’ll take any day of the week, so I mean [I'm] excited for it. Good weather,” Prescott said. “Way better than last year. Yeah, I’m thankful for anything but snow right now.”

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The New York Giants cleaned house on Monday, firing coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese in the midst of a 2-10 season.

McAdoo told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen in a text message Monday morning that he was out after two seasons on the job. Giants co-owner John Mara confirmed the changes in a news conference Monday afternoon.

Mara and co-owner Steve Tisch met after Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders and again in the morning. They decided they couldn’t wait any longer.

“We agreed that wholesale changes needed to be made in this organization to get us back to the team that we expect to be,” Mara said.
Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will be the interim head coach, while assistant GM Kevin Abrams will be the Giants’ interim general manager, Mara announced. A search for Reese’s full-time replacement will begin immediately, and it will be led by former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi, Mara said. Abrams and Spagnuolo will be candidates.

Mara said he and Tisch “agreed it was pointless to wait any longer to make these changes.”

“This has been the perfect storm this season,” Mara said. “Everything that could have gone wrong this season has gone wrong.”

The breaking point appears to have been the benching of franchise quarterback Eli Manning. Geno Smith started for the Giants on Sunday, but a source told ESPN on Monday that the team is going back to Manning.

Mara would not confirm that Manning will return as starter on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. He said the decision will be up to Spagnuolo.

He denied that the Manning situation had anything to do a reorganization of the team’s brass.

“Had no effect whatsoever. 2-10 is 2-10,” Mara said. “Public reaction to that was not pleasant but didn’t really have any effect on our decision.”

He later added: “You ought to stop blaming Ben and Jerry on that. If you want to blame anyone on that, blame me. I certainly had the power to overrule it if I wanted to. I chose not to do it.”

The Giants host the Cowboys on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. McAdoo and a quarterback other than Manning would have been met with resistance.

There has been talk about former Giants showing up to the game and standing on the sideline in No. 10 jerseys in a show of solidarity to Manning.

“I was certainly cognizant of what the fan reaction was likely to be over the last four weeks, but that wasn’t the final determining factor,” Mara said. “We had reached the point where we felt, ‘You know what, we’re going to be making these changes probably at the end of the season, so what was the point in prolonging this any further?”

Reese has been with the Giants in various roles since 1994, serving as general manager since 2007. He won two Super Bowls with the team but has been criticized in recent seasons for failing to address problems on the Giants’ offensive line.

Mara called Monday’s dismissal of Reese “as difficult a meeting as I’ve ever had.” He thinks it will not take long for him to land a similar job with another franchise.

McAdoo took over for Tom Coughlin after the 2015 season. His first year as Giants coach was encouraging. They had an 11-5 record and ended a five-year playoff drought.

Year 2 didn’t quite go as planned, with the Giants struggling from the start. They lost their first five games and were officially eliminated from playoff contention before December.

“Our offense was supposed to be better, and we added some receivers and a couple tight ends. We were supposed to be better,” Mara said. “We got off to a very poor start on offense, our defense did not play as well as they could have and then everybody got hurt.”

McAdoo had to suspend two players (veteran cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) for a violation of team rules, and the controversies persisted throughout the season. They also lost star wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall to injuries in the same Week 5 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

It reached a point where Giants ownership felt a need to release a statement after an embarrassing 31-21 loss to the previously winless San Francisco 49ers that McAdoo would not be fired before the end of the season. The statement noted a desire to evaluate the season as a whole.

Several weeks later, after Manning was benched, Mara wouldn’t guarantee McAdoo’s safety through even the end of the season. It set the stage for McAdoo’s ouster during a season that began with Super Bowl expectations but crashed and burned early.
“There’s no guarantees in life,” Mara said at the time. “[We] made [our] statement on that a couple of weeks ago, but there’s no guarantees in life.”

McAdoo joined the Giants from the Green Bay Packers before the 2014 season. He served as the team’s offensive coordinator for two seasons under Coughlin before being promoted to head coach. The Giants’ offense under McAdoo showed improvement during those first two years. Manning was coming off an awful 2013 season and managed to thrive working with his new offensive coordinator.

The Giants averaged 25 points per game in McAdoo’s first two seasons with the team. They averaged 19.4 points per game last season and 15.6 this year with him as the head coach.

McAdoo also wasn’t especially well-received by fans as the public face of the franchise, beginning with the oversized suit on the day he was hired to his appearance on the sideline and at news conferences. Fans had been calling for his firing for weeks.