In the first segment of this article I discussed the X's and O's of how Greg Olson might revitalize the Oakland offense. In this portion, I will discuss the statistics and outcomes that have led to Greg Olson becoming the Raiders OC.
Changing teams and positions is a fact of life as an NFL coach. That being said, Olson has not bounced around like Dennis Allen who has moved from New Orleans to Denver to Oakland all because he has performed well in his previous post. Olson, on the other hand, has held his current position 3 times prior, and been fired every time. While it would be ignorant to blame Olson alone for his past failings, it is important to investigate them and understand how they may help or hurt him in his current position.
2004-2005 Offensive Coordinator/ QB Coach Detroit Lions:
It is not entirely fair to judge Olson's performance in this position. He was the QB coach for all of 2004 and was thrust into the position of OC when Steve Marriuci and Ted Tollner were fired 11 games into 2005. Olson's first excuse could be that his QB was Joey Harrington. Harrington, however, was the reason Olson was hired in 2004. Greg's job was to work with Harrington to mold him into the franchise QB the Lions envisioned when they drafted him a few years prior. One could argue that Joey Harrington was an un-moldable prospect, or that the Lions lacked any form of offensive weapons with which to work with. The situation Olson inherits in Oakland is not that much prettier, coming off a 4-12 season with no proven QB, he needs to do better than he did in Detroit.
All that being said, during Olson's first year as QB coach Harrington posted his best season as a pro throwing for over 3,000 yards 19 TD's and 12 Ints. During his 5 game stretch as OC, the team went 1-4 averaging 16 points a game. All in all it could be said his first position as an OC was a learning experience.
2006-2007 Offensive Coordinator St. Louis Rams:
Olson's time with the Rams is shrouded with mystery, reports surfaced that he may not have been calling plays for most of the time. The position was again a learning experience for Olson as he put together game plans and schemes for coach Linehan. 2006 was a big success for the Ram offense with nearly 4000 yards passing and 1800 yards rushing which are good stats for any team to put up. The numbers tailed off the next year and turnovers became an issue leading to the dismissal of the staff.
2008-2011 QB Coach/Offensive Coordinator Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
This position is by far the most intriguing, Olson worked under Jon Gruden his first year under which he learned some new wrinkles to the west coast offense. After Gruden's firing, Olson became the OC under young head coach Raheem Moore. The dynamic between Moore and Olson is very interesting because it compares favorably to the relationship that Dennis Allen and Olson might have. Moore and Allen are both young defensive coaches who were or are in there first head coaching position. Olson and Mooore were able to work well together to have a successful 2010 season with a 10-6 record. Also, Olson was able to successfully tutor QB Josh Freeman into a respectable NFL QB.
2013: Offensive Coordinator Oakland Raiders:
All of Olson's experience has led to this... the 2013 season is another shot for Greg to prove his wits as an offensive guru. He again inherits a team with few weapons and a lack of confidence fueled by a poor past season. If Olson can replicate the success he reached in 2006 and 2010, the Raiders could be playoff bound, but if his results resemble some of his other campaigns he may be looking for real estate in another city yet again next year.
As a benchmark, I have compiled the statistics for all of Greg Olson's seasons as an OC. I have included the statistics for Hugh Jackson's fan favorite offense and the not so fan favorite Knapp offense for comparison purposes. Again, Olson's 2006 and 2010 seasons compare favorably with Hugh Jackson's only seasons with the Raiders, and far surpass what Knapp was able to do here. Olson's main obstacles will be developing a group of unproven QB's and revitalizing the run game.