The result of the game yesterday against the Dallas Cowboys does not matter, how the players played does. There were a lot of miscues of course since there always are at this time of year but the overall experience was a good one. The thing that was most enjoyable will differ from person to person, but its fair to say that the improved offensive playcalling was among the top nominees.
The difference was amazing between new Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson's offense and last year's system under former OC Greg Knapp. There felt like so much more potential for a big play in Olson's offense, especially considering this was just the first preseason game. The first game is always "vanilla" in the playcalling and is focused more about the basic parts of the available playbook. It will only get more exciting as we progress to the regular season.
What was really exciting to see was how different the offenses built for QB's Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor were from each other. It verifies two things for us: One is that even if Flynn is the starter there will be plays for Pryor, and two is that Olson really does plan his offense around his players.
It proves that Olson really plans around his players because he was willing to make two different playbooks based off Flynn or Pryor playing. Most coaches would've had a fair amount of plays intigrated into the playbook for each quarterback but this was beyond that. The offense was completely different when Pryor came in and was absolutely made for him. The bunched WR sets that Matt was using were gone and the Pistol offense was in with exciting results.
Going that drastic with his changes in playcalling for Pryor also is what confirms that Terrelle will definitely see the field in 2013 even if its not as the starter or an injury replacement. Greg Olson would not have been willing to spend so much time with such a large amount of plays if he didn't plan on using them for sure this season. He built that offense to utilize his weapons so expect to see Pryor in the regular season without a doubt.
The drastic difference between the first quarter and the 2nd quarter offenses falls directly in line with what Greg Olson told us back in February.
"Those days (holding onto the same players for long periods of time) are somewhat over. So you've got to be able to be flexible and be able to adapt your system to the personnel that you have on that team on any given year. So, our job as a coaching staff will be to identify the skill set of the players, who are our best players, what do they do best, and how can we put them in position to be successful and do the things that they do best."
He said he plans around his players abilities and he backed those words up last night. It was a night and day difference between the plays for Flynn and Pryor but both were effective. The skillset of players like Marcel Reece, Darren McFadden, and Pryor were ignored last year but they won't be this year. That can only help this team get better.
Olson also said earlier this year that he planned on having plays this preseason specifically for Terrelle and he did. He is backing up his words here too with his actions which is a pleasent surprise to what was the recent norm in Oakland.
"We don't really quite yet know what Terrelle Pryor can do at this level but we have a pretty good feeling for what he is athletically, so there will be packages for both of them (speaking of Carson Palmer at the time) and we'll allow them to compete and we'll just be ready in either direction..."
Yep, he definitely backed that quote up too. We have all heard enough talk and now want to see the actions instead. Olson's grand opening was action packed, hopefully we will be able to say that about his tenure in Oakland in general.