Greg Olson seemed like an odd candidate for the offensive coordinator position in the outset. There were a great many good candidates on the market who seemed like better options and the Raiders explored some of them.
Olson interviewed with the Raiders along with Marc Trestman and Mike Martz. Reggie McKenzie also said they asked Norv Turner about his interest in the job and he turned it down, opting to take the same position with the Browns. The Bears eventually hired Trestman as their head coach. That left just Martz and Olson and since neither had been offered the job as of last week, the thinking was they would continue seeking interviews.
The primary reason Olson seemed like an odd interview is the fact that he was the quarterbacks coach for the Jaguars who fielded one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL - Blaine Gabbert. The second year quarterback only played in nine full games this season and in those games threw for over 60% just three times. His season QB rating was just 77.4 and had just nine touchdown passes on the season with six interceptions.
The Raiders' interest in Olson had to come from his previous stops. He has a total of six years of experience as an offensive coordinator. Prior to his position as QB coach for the Buccaneers, he was the offensive coordinator for the Buccaneers for three seasons. Unfortunately, his tenure there was not too good either. The Bucs had an offense ranked near the bottom all three of his seasons there.
If you move past the numbers, you can see where the interest may have sparked. While Olson was with the Buccaneers, Josh Freeman had his best seasons. Prior to his time in Tampa Bay, Olson was the offensive coordinator in St Louis where Steven Jackson had his best seasons. Allen is hoping Olson can bring out the best in Darren McFadden just as he did with Jackson.
One side note to all this is Olson worked under John Gruden in Tampa Bay for his last season. Gruden has spoken with the Raiders a lot lately which leads one to believe there may have been a glowing recommendation for Olson in those conversations at some point which led to the initial interest and eventual hiring.
Dennis Allen had final say on who is on his staff and he looked past the numbers in choosing Olson. There may have been some gut feeling involved but there is plenty more to base this decision on than gut. This time it was more about the right guy for this team as opposed to trying to take a team and make it fit the coach.