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Thread: Q&A with Olsen

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    Q&A with Olsen

    Q&A with Raiders OC Greg Olson

    By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
    Friday, June 14th, 2013 at 11:36 am in Oakland Raiders.

    Had a chance to talk with offensive coordinator Greg Olson Thursday afternoon, his first interview since an introductory meet-and-greet with the media following his hiring. Wrote a story on the developing offense for print in Friday’s papers, and the following is the Olson interview in its entirety:

    Q: We haven’t talked since after you were hired and just getting to know your personnel. What do you see right now after a full off-season?

    Olson: Well, we’re trying to identify, throughout this whole process, we’re trying to identify who are playmakers are, and I think we’ve done a good job with that. Certainly Darren McFadden’s going to be a very important piece of what you’re doing. We’ve got good competition at the tight end position and that will sort itself out as we go to training camp. Wide receivers, we found out that we’ve got a number of talented players there. It’s been a pleasant surprise. I think we’ve got great competition at that position. I think the offensive line is the strength of our unit, they show that throughout the three phases, the OTAs, the minicamp, the Phase I part of the program, and we’ve got good competition at quarterback right now. The biggest thing for us as a staff is let’s try to identify who the playmakers are, who to get the ball to, 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.

    Q: Last year, a system was brought in and the philosophy was, `these are the plays we’re going to run.’ Players say you’ll stop them in the hallway to talk offense, sharing ideas . . . do you see offense as sort of an evolutionary concept as opposed to a system and a series of plays?

    Olson: Yeah, I believe that, based upon collective bargaining and the way free agency is now. You can no longer put together a team of players and have them six or seven years together as a group. There’s a tremendous amount of turnover now because of free agency, so I think you’ve got to try and adapt your system based upon the players you have available and the players that have been drafted by the particular team that you’re on, then try and play to those players strengths. I’ve been exposed to a number of different systems and I think that’s helped me throughout my career. I’ve been in the West Coast system early on with Bill Walsh, through Steve Mariucci. I was in the Mike Martz-Scott Linehan system in St. Louis, which is also kind of Al Saunders’ background. I’ve been exposed to a number of different systems. I’ve been with Jon Gruden, and exposed to his version of the West Coast. And then with Mike Mularkey a guy that came from a very successful franchise in Atlanta. So I’ve been exposed to a number of different systems and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, you’d better adapt to the players you have on your team. You’d better not pigeon-hole yourself as in, `This is my system and this is what we’re going to do’ because that personnel may not match that system.

    Q: Seeking player input, selling players on the system, was always a big thing with Gruden . . .

    Olson: I would consider Jon probably my biggest influence in football because of his passion, his passion as a coach, his preparation, and his presentation, his presentation to the players is what you’re talking about, how to present it to him. He talked about that, let’s find out what these guys can do and when you get in that position, Greg, make sure you’ve identified, who are the guys you’ve got to get the ball too and what ways creatively can you do that. That’s what I’m trying to find out here. I’m relying a lot on the staff, some of the guys that were here a year ago, someone like Al Saunders that’s been here for a number of years, as an assistant, and look at some of the things they did before and getting input from the players as well.

    Q: As much as NFL considered a passing league, how much will you hang your hat on a tough, hard-nosed run game?

    Olson: Yeah, I’ve been in deep conversation with Tony Sparano, who excels in the run game, and has everywhere he’s been. With the thought in mind, when we came together, we watched a lot of tape of what they’ve done here, not just last season but the previous system, and we feel good about the system we’ve put together based upon the players we have right now. A lot of what you’re doing with your passing and your throwing will be dictated by the players that you have, and right now, where we’re at, not just at the running back position, but at quarterback and wide receiver, we’re a team that feels we’re going to need to run the football and take some pressure off that quarterback position and play to win the game that way.

    Q: You’re not only putting a system together for team, but for three entirely different styles of play at quarterback. Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson are nothing alike. Is that a challenge?

    Olson: Sure. Certainly it is, but those are the players that are on this team, so we’ll try to play to their strengths and you’ll have packages, do you really want it that way? No, but you do with what you have. We’re not sitting here claiming we have Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. 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.

    Q: Conventional wisdom is when you’re in offseason, with no contact, no one’s getting hit, and receivers know they’re not getting hit, then the ball shouldn’t touch the ground . . . you’ve been up and down _ Dennis Allen says he’s worried about the progress and not what it looks like . . .do you see that progress?

    Olson: Yeah, and I think what we’ve tried to do, we’ve asked Jason Tarver, we want a lot of pressure. We want pressure. It’s a blitz practice, guys. We want to understand how to pick blitzes up, because if we just stand back and play straight Cover 2 and they bring a four-man rush, I’d like to believe our guys would be able to protect it and know how to make the calls. But when you get into those pressures, we want to put them in as many pressure situations as possible and find out who would rise to the top and who may take over a game in that situation. Those are things we’re trying to do.

    Q: Have seen lots of blitzes during practice, even safeties . . .

    Olson: It’s very good for us. We want it, and we’ve got to get these quarterbacks with very little experience, they’ve got to get up to speed quickly with that. We accomplished a lot. Was the execution where we wanted it to be? No, it wasn’t. But at this point, we still have time to prepare, but we feel now those guys have a much better understandings of protections, schemes and what they need to do in order to protect themelves. A lot of it was by design.

    Q: I suppose if it’s like 7-on-7, summer high school flag league, it’s not of much benefit . . .

    Olson: We eliminated 7-on-7, which a lot of teams do. We didn’t want that. Let’s put these guys under some pressure here. I always go back to Gruden, we’re not a team that wants to feel pressure, we want to apply pressure. We wanted to put as much pressure on our players as we could, we wanted to stimulate them, we wanted to motivate them, so when they come to work, you’re going to have to work, guys. You’re going to have to study. You can’t just come in and put in the time allotted. You’re going to have to go home and study at night, because not only are we installing a lot, because of the different variables we have at quarterback, but you’re also going to have a lot thrown at you, so not only are you going to have to learn this new system, but you’re also going to have to learn to pick up some of these exotic packages that are going throughout the league.

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    Now i was not too excited about this OC hire, and honestly I cannot say I trust DA's ability to work with the offense. It is nice to know he has experience in multiple offensive schemes, and I'd say I can buy into his adapt for the offensive players attitude.


    I just hope the guy can call a decent game and make adjustments. Watching Knapp's inability to balance a game was gut wrenching at times last year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishedz View Post
    Now i was not too excited about this OC hire, and honestly I cannot say I trust DA's ability to work with the offense. It is nice to know he has experience in multiple offensive schemes, and I'd say I can buy into his adapt for the offensive players attitude.


    I just hope the guy can call a decent game and make adjustments. Watching Knapp's inability to balance a game was gut wrenching at times last year.
    Fish,

    This article complements your post...

    http://www.silverandblackpride.com/2...-oc-greg-olson



    Raiders players glowing about new OC Greg Olson

    By Levi Damien on Jun 11 2013, 4:34p 39
    Stay connected for news and updates

    USA TODAY

    The Raiders players can't say enough good things about their new offensive coordinator and his schemes.



    It seems every year, the players have nothing but great things to say about their coaches and their schemes. But there is something a bit different about the way they are talking about new offensive coordinator, Greg Olson.

    "Oli has this aura about him, you can feel the creativity," said Marcel Reece. "He's always thinking about football, he's always thinking about matchups. I feel great about that, I love that, and he knows that I love that. So we have fun talking football. It's a great feeling around the building right now.

    "He's like a mad scientist. I don't think I've even seen half of what he has in store for this team. And it's not just me, it's all the guys -- Darren, Jacoby, all of them. So we're all looking forward to unleashing this playbook and to see what he has in store."

    The young quarterbacks are liking what he's doing as well including Terrelle Pryor who has had a different offensive coordinator all three of his seasons in the NFL.

    "We have a great guy calling plays, a great coach, to me, calling plays," said Terrelle Pryor. "It gives Darren McFadden a chance to get downhill... He gives us a chance. He just wants guys to make plays. He's just honest. Sometimes, the play isn't going to come out as it's drawn up on that clipboard before we come out and practice, in the playbook. He just wants guys to make plays. That's wonderful just to hear that. That's what we're here to do. It's not going to be the same route that it is in the book. That's definitely what I like about this new situation."

    While Pryor has not enjoyed stability at offensive coordinator, rookie Olson is the first and only OC rookie Tyler Wilson has known at the NFL level. He is enjoying the experience Olson has as a quarterbacks coach as well as the schemes he brings to the offense.

    "I like it," said Tyler Wilson. "There are lot of things that are quarterback friendly. There's a lot that goes on at the line of scrimmage -- the quarterback getting us in the right run play, the right protection, the right pass call. So there's a lot that goes on, communication between the center and quarterback. So I think that's really good. In order for us to be successful, the quarterback has to take charge, and I think we've done a good job. We're getting there."

    There is a great deal of smoke that gets blown from players with regard to new coaches. Some of it's high hopes and some of it's simply saying what they're supposed to say. But when you have players like Marcel Reece using words like "aura", "creativity", and "mad scientist", it means something. And when you hear guys such as Terrelle Pryor saying things like "He gives us a chance", that also means something.

    These statements and the way they deliver them carry the weight of the experiences of last season. They see the difference between an offense that didn't consider the players executing it compared to the kind of offense for which Olson was brought in to institute. That, of course, being pretty much the opposite of what was put in place last season.

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    I like it we have a guy it sounds to me like can run the offense and let DA get this D in order. This year will be a good one to see us have some new young talent succeed and show the way to a bright future.

    And you are what your record says you are.
    Sure liked the two years before DA and RM 1 game away from playoffs.
    And some say we are better off today.

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    Great post Fish i told you we are on our way bro. The Raiders will have a good season this year i got us at 10-6 three games more then you ,but mark my words you will be at 10 wins as soon as training camp is over.
    Eat to live don't live to eat.

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    Sounds a lot like an OC turned head coach we had..... lil huey. I LOVED Hue as a OC...I'm very happy with this hire, think he will heed Al Saunders input and think that within a few years we will have a very good offense. I LOVE the fact that he said our strength is our Oline. That hasn't been said in about a decade. Hopefully it's not simply because every other position sucks! It all starts in the trenches!!
    [SIGPIC]

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    A great OL and running game will make our QB and wr's lives much easier. If they deliver and step up, I could see a great season, but Id be amazed. I'll be happy with good football. I don't expect much with our lack of talent, but in the end it's all about team.

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    Olson has worked with some very good offensive minds. Gruden, Petrino, Mike Price...
    He really hasn't been anywhere that had talent. I like his passion and don't forget that Sparano's teams could run on anybody, everywhere he has been. This team still lacks talent, but I have no doubt they will play downhill, smashmouth football. Yeah its June, but I am excited.

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    Honestly I think the Sparano hiring was the most important of the offseason for that very reason

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    Good read thx for posting... I'm hoping Olsen can actually use all the talent we have and not waste it. He needs to be able to play to the strengths of our playmakers and after reading both these articles I'm feeling better!


    "The greatness of the Raiders is in the future..." ~ Al Davis

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishedz View Post
    Now i was not too excited about this OC hire, and honestly I cannot say I trust DA's ability to work with the offense. It is nice to know he has experience in multiple offensive schemes, and I'd say I can buy into his adapt for the offensive players attitude.


    I just hope the guy can call a decent game and make adjustments. Watching Knapp's inability to balance a game was gut wrenching at times last year.
    Fish, watching Knapp handle the offense last year absolutely nauseated me.

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    Playing to a player's strengths....

    Where have I heard that?...Ah yes! Hue Jackson.

    It's good to see us come full circle on this because watching "pounding a square peg into a round hole" ******** propagated by Gregory Knapp was ********.

    "Just Win Baby!"

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    Yeah, Greg Knapp was a terrible OC, quite possibly the worst since Tom Walsh.

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