Here’s a story from beat writer Jerry McDonald about Raiders first-year offensive coordinator Greg Olson talking about how he intends to use running back Darren McFadden next season:
In an uphill climb toward respectability, the Raiders direction will be decidedly downhill.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson made it clear Wednesday during a meet-and-greet with local media that his plans for running back Darren McFadden will include the kind of gap and power blocking schemes that made him one of the NFL’s most explosive running backs in 2010 and 2011.
McFadden fell to a career-low 3.3 yards per carry in 2012 under the zone scheme runs favored by offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who was fired after the season.
“I’m not naive enough to believe it’s all Greg Knapp’s fault,” Olson said. “Certainly there are some things I hope I can bring to the table that will allow us to have
Oakland Raiders’ Darren McFadden (20) runs against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first quarter at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. on Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. (Nhat V. Meyer/Staff) success.”
Olson becomes the Raiders’ third offensive coordinator in three seasons. Head coach Hue Jackson served as the play-caller in 2011, but Knapp was hired after general manager Reggie McKenzie fired Jackson.
The Olson offense will look a lot more like the one Jackson installed as offensive coordinator in 2010.
“Coming in a year ago, they made a switch to a zone system,” Olson said. “I don’t know if you ever want to pigeonhole yourself that way and say, ‘That’s what we do.’ You may not be able to do that based on the players you have.”
Regarding McFadden, Olson said, “Maybe a year ago, they weren’t sure about that zone scheme. Now, after a year of having to look at it, maybe he is a downhill runner. So we’ll get back to some of the gap schemes and things he does well.”
Olson is also intrigued by fullback Marcel Reece. He sees Reece as versatile enough to be a third-down back and operate in a single-back offense and as a player to utilize for favorable matchups.
“I was pleasantly surprised watching the tape to see that in a lot of the downhill lead plays where you need a fullback in there, he wasn’t a big thumper type but he did go willingly and block some of those linebackers,” Olson said.