Jun 11, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson at minicamp at the Raiders Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson 'Trying to Identify' Playmakers


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.

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  • Tim Martindale

    We will b good but for some reason I think if given a real opportunity Pryor will take it

  • Luis Hernandez

    I’d say Pryor should have the inside track, despite Flynn’s contract and since the other 2 are rookies. Flynn is good with short and intermediate routes, but the deep ball I would give to Pryor. Pryor should be able to learn check downs and reading the defenses after this offseason, so hopefully he will win the job. With the emergence of rookies starting right out of the draft, who knows what could happen. Either way, I’m sure this team will be awesome and finally contend for the playoffs. Raiders baby!!!

    • lorens

      How does Pryor have the inside track when the HC stated that Flynn would be the starter? How would he have the inside track when the offensive scheme is going through a complete overhaul? The impression I am getting with their offseason qb acquisitions is that they have very little optimism with Pryor’s ability as a starter.

      • Luis Hernandez

        For all we know, they might just be trying to light a fire under Pryor’s ass to get his stuff together. Competition is the best way to motivate someone, and he is just as much in the running for the starting position as the other 3 guys. If I’m not mistaken either, Pryor found the end zone 3 times, when Palmer couldn’t find it at all some weeks. If they didn’t see something in him, they could’ve released him already. To me, the whole reason for the scheme change is to fix the embarrassment that was our running game. Knapp doesn’t know how to use talent on a roster to save his life. With Olsen, he actually seems like he wants to build around the players he has, instead of the players needing to fit into his system. Power running = breakout season for McFadden = awesomeness