Jon Gruden made one of his first order of business as Raiders head coach to tab Rams QB coach Greg Olson as his Offensive Coordinator for the 2018 Oakland Raiders. Plenty of fans who remember his first stint in Oakland were disappointed by the announcement, but Olson is a great pick for Gruden primarily because of the work Olson’s done recently with young QB’s.
“Greg Olson coached Derek Carr for a year here,” Gruden said in his introductory press conference. “His intel there will be very important. He coached with me in Tampa and he coached with Sean McVay, one of my ex-assistants, in LA. So, the system of football that we run will be a real natural flow.”
As recently as 2014 Greg Olson was the OC of the Oakland Raiders, tasked with getting rookie QB Derek Carr through the year and despite a real lack of any discernible talent he handled himself well. Carr would finish his rookie year under Olson with a career high 599 attempts. 58.1% completion percentage, 3,270 yards with 21 TD’s to only 12 Int’s.
The Raiders would overhaul their coaching staff after that season and Olson was hired on in Jacksonville to mentor 2nd year QB Blake Bortles. Olson would work miracles with Bortles in 2015 to the tune of a career highs in yards (4,428), TD’s (35) and QB rating (88.2). However the following season would see Bortles struggle as Jags fans have discovered Bortles just isn’t a good QB and it cost Olson his job.
Since the departure of Olson Bortles has not come close to those career highs in any of those categories. To put it in perspective since Olson left Bortles next highest totals in yards (3,687), TD’s (21) and QB rating (84.7) are much lower than with Olson. After being fired in 2016 from Jacksonville Olson would be hired on as the QB coach of the Rams to try and help fix 2nd year QB Jared Goff.
Greg Olson not only fixed Goff he helped turn him into a legitimate franchise QB leading them to the playoffs and a 11-5 record. Goff would finish the season with 3,804 yards, 28 TD’s and only 7 Int’s with a QB rating of 100.5. To put this in perspective his rookie year without Olson, Goff’s QB rating was only 63.6.
Most of Raider Nation remember Olson and the playcalling from Carr’s rookie year and rightfully so are uninspired by the pick. However, it would be wise to remember that Carr’s top receivers that season were James Jones (73 rec for 666 yards) and Andre Holmes (47 Rec for 693 yards). Olson was given less than scraps and asked to make miracles and he did and was still let go.
If that is not enough for fans to feel better about the Olson hire, then it would be wise to remember that HC Jon Gruden is calling the plays. This is the reason the Raiders were not able to lure a top OC like Morton, as the OC position for the Raiders will essentially be a glorified QB coach. In other words Olson will be able to do what he does best, fix QB’s and the Raiders have one that needs fixing after a disastrous 2016 season.
2018 will feature a QB that knows he played bad at times under former rookie OC Todd Downing and HC Jack Del Rio. Unlike 2017 Carr will have a coach in Greg Olson that is capable of helping him smooth out the wrinkles and play at his most optimal. Combine that with a few tricks he picked up along the way under red hot Los Angeles Rams HC/Playcaller Sean McVay and you really have the makings of an explosive offense again in Oakland.
The 2018 season should be an exciting one for the NFL, the Raiders, and most importantly their diehard loyal fans. Gruden and the coaches he bring in will be detail oriented and focused on fundamentals and winning.