Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson has a tall task ahead of him as the new offensive coordinator, trying to turn around a 4-12 team last season that took a step back, partially due to the failures of Greg Knapp.
After a full offseason to look at the team, Olson is trying to find his stars.
“The biggest thing for us as a staff is let’s try to identify who the playmakers are, who to get the ball to,” he told the Bay Area News Group in an interview, “and let’s put in a base system, build it from the ground up, and get the players familiar with a lot, kind of throw everything at them so they’ve got a real good feel of what we’re going to try and get accomplished.”
Olson pointed out Darren McFadden as the obvious playmaker under his power running scheme, as opposed to the zone-blocking scheme run by Knapp last season that failed miserably. The Raiders will need the oft-injured running back to stay healthy if they want to have a successful season.
Olson, who was the quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012, has been handed four rather inexperienced players fighting for the starting quarterback position with the Raiders in Matt Flynn, Tyler Wilson, Terrelle Pryor, and Matt McGloin.
“We’re not sitting here claiming we have Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady,” he said. “We never made that statement or that claim. But we’ve got guys we feel are very capable of running an NFL team and an NFL offense and they both possess different types of skills, so we’ll try to play upon those skills until someone separates themselves.”
Prior to the Jaguars, Olson spent six seasons as an offensive coordinator in the NFL with Detroit (2005), St. Louis (2006-07) and Tampa Bay (2009-11).
He was instrumental in running the Rams’ offense in 2006, when they were the fourth team in NFL history to produce a 4,000-yard passer (Marc Bulger), a 1,500-yard rusher (Steven Jackson) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce).
Olson was also responsible for the development of quarterback Josh Freeman in Tampa Bay, where he also helped the Buccaneers to one of their best offensive seasons in NFL history in 2010.
Most everyone would agree that Olson will have better luck than Knapp as the offensive coordinator of the Raiders. He has the experience, the proven track record, and knows what needs to be done to help turn the franchise around.