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Q&A with Raiders OC Greg Olson

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, June 14th, 2013 at 11:36 am in Oakland Raiders.

Had a chance to talk with offensive coordinator Greg Olson Thursday afternoon, his first interview since an introductory meet-and-greet with the media following his hiring. Wrote a story on the developing offense for print in Friday’s papers, and the following is the Olson interview in its entirety:

Q: We haven’t talked since after you were hired and just getting to know your personnel. What do you see right now after a full off-season?

Olson: Well, we’re trying to identify, throughout this whole process, we’re trying to identify who are playmakers are, and I think we’ve done a good job with that. Certainly Darren McFadden’s going to be a very important piece of what you’re doing. We’ve got good competition at the tight end position and that will sort itself out as we go to training camp. Wide receivers, we found out that we’ve got a number of talented players there. It’s been a pleasant surprise. I think we’ve got great competition at that position. I think the offensive line is the strength of our unit, they show that throughout the three phases, the OTAs, the minicamp, the Phase I part of the program, and we’ve got good competition at quarterback right now. The biggest thing for us as a staff is let’s try to identify who the playmakers are, who to get the ball to, and let’s put in a base system, build it from the ground up, and get the players familiar with a lot, kind of throw everything at them so they’ve got a real good feel of what we’re going to try and get accomplished.

Q: Last year, a system was brought in and the philosophy was, `these are the plays we’re going to run.’ Players say you’ll stop them in the hallway to talk offense, sharing ideas . . . do you see offense as sort of an evolutionary concept as opposed to a system and a series of plays?

Olson: Yeah, I believe that, based upon collective bargaining and the way free agency is now. You can no longer put together a team of players and have them six or seven years together as a group. There’s a tremendous amount of turnover now because of free agency, so I think you’ve got to try and adapt your system based upon the players you have available and the players that have been drafted by the particular team that you’re on, then try and play to those players strengths. I’ve been exposed to a number of different systems and I think that’s helped me throughout my career. I’ve been in the West Coast system early on with Bill Walsh, through Steve Mariucci. I was in the Mike Martz-Scott Linehan system in St. Louis, which is also kind of Al Saunders’ background. I’ve been exposed to a number of different systems. I’ve been with Jon Gruden, and exposed to his version of the West Coast. And then with Mike Mularkey a guy that came from a very successful franchise in Atlanta. So I’ve been exposed to a number of different systems and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, you’d better adapt to the players you have on your team. You’d better not pigeon-hole yourself as in, `This is my system and this is what we’re going to do’ because that personnel may not match that system.

Q: Seeking player input, selling players on the system, was always a big thing with Gruden . . .

Olson: I would consider Jon probably my biggest influence in football because of his passion, his passion as a coach, his preparation, and his presentation, his presentation to the players is what you’re talking about, how to present it to him. He talked about that, let’s find out what these guys can do and when you get in that position, Greg, make sure you’ve identified, who are the guys you’ve got to get the ball too and what ways creatively can you do that. That’s what I’m trying to find out here. I’m relying a lot on the staff, some of the guys that were here a year ago, someone like Al Saunders that’s been here for a number of years, as an assistant, and look at some of the things they did before and getting input from the players as well.

Q: As much as NFL considered a passing league, how much will you hang your hat on a tough, hard-nosed run game?

Olson: Yeah, I’ve been in deep conversation with Tony Sparano, who excels in the run game, and has everywhere he’s been. With the thought in mind, when we came together, we watched a lot of tape of what they’ve done here, not just last season but the previous system, and we feel good about the system we’ve put together based upon the players we have right now. A lot of what you’re doing with your passing and your throwing will be dictated by the players that you have, and right now, where we’re at, not just at the running back position, but at quarterback and wide receiver, we’re a team that feels we’re going to need to run the football and take some pressure off that quarterback position and play to win the game that way.

Q: You’re not only putting a system together for team, but for three entirely different styles of play at quarterback. Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson are nothing alike. Is that a challenge?

Olson: Sure. Certainly it is, but those are the players that are on this team, so we’ll try to play to their strengths and you’ll have packages, do you really want it that way? No, but you do with what you have. We’re not sitting here claiming we have Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. We never made that statement or that claim. But we’ve got guys we feel are very capable of running an NFL team and an NFL offense and they both possess different types of skills, so we’ll try to play upon those skills until someone separates themselves.

Q: Conventional wisdom is when you’re in offseason, with no contact, no one’s getting hit, and receivers know they’re not getting hit, then the ball shouldn’t touch the ground . . . you’ve been up and down _ Dennis Allen says he’s worried about the progress and not what it looks like . . .do you see that progress?

Olson: Yeah, and I think what we’ve tried to do, we’ve asked Jason Tarver, we want a lot of pressure. We want pressure. It’s a blitz practice, guys. We want to understand how to pick blitzes up, because if we just stand back and play straight Cover 2 and they bring a four-man rush, I’d like to believe our guys would be able to protect it and know how to make the calls. But when you get into those pressures, we want to put them in as many pressure situations as possible and find out who would rise to the top and who may take over a game in that situation. Those are things we’re trying to do.

Q: Have seen lots of blitzes during practice, even safeties . . .

Olson: It’s very good for us. We want it, and we’ve got to get these quarterbacks with very little experience, they’ve got to get up to speed quickly with that. We accomplished a lot. Was the execution where we wanted it to be? No, it wasn’t. But at this point, we still have time to prepare, but we feel now those guys have a much better understandings of protections, schemes and what they need to do in order to protect themelves. A lot of it was by design.

Q: I suppose if it’s like 7-on-7, summer high school flag league, it’s not of much benefit . . .

Olson: We eliminated 7-on-7, which a lot of teams do. We didn’t want that. Let’s put these guys under some pressure here. I always go back to Gruden, we’re not a team that wants to feel pressure, we want to apply pressure. We wanted to put as much pressure on our players as we could, we wanted to stimulate them, we wanted to motivate them, so when they come to work, you’re going to have to work, guys. You’re going to have to study. You can’t just come in and put in the time allotted. You’re going to have to go home and study at night, because not only are we installing a lot, because of the different variables we have at quarterback, but you’re also going to have a lot thrown at you, so not only are you going to have to learn this new system, but you’re also going to have to learn to pick up some of these exotic packages that are going throughout the league.

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  • RaiderRockstar

    thanks Dakota!!

    do you like my trade proposal of Chris Bosh to LA for Pau Gasol?

  • hwnrdr

    4147.RaiderRockstar Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 12:54 pm
    you guys are convincing me that eating healthy not only tastes bad and is expensive, but gets way too complicated

    you employed by Burger King, perhaps?

    You are asolutely correct. A sald costs more than a cheesburger…and they wonder why America has an obesity problem????
    LOL, just playing. Now its all about choices you make!

  • http://profootballtalk.com Raideraholic (AKAHairyBush)

    I went fishing for fathers day and caught a boatload of panfish, I cooked them up and they were delicious. I want to do that more often but people make me paranoid that the local freshwater fish is loaded with mercury. I suppose it all breaks down to moderation once again.

  • guest123

    you guys are convincing me that eating healthy not only tastes bad and is expensive, but gets way too complicated

    you employed by Burger King, perhaps?

    ^^^^^

    yep, I also moonlight for a funeral home. we got specials on tombstones if your interested.

  • SnBG

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 12:48 pm
    Do you guys all have wives that enjoy cooking for healthnuts?

    or perhaps they’re the ones who inspired/persuaded you?

    I married a country gal. If I told her no thanks on the bacon sausage eggs biscuits & coffee on Saturday mornings she’d probably hit me with a frying pan.

    of course she’s super thin and can eat whatever she wants without gaining a pound – that type, the ones you hate (lol)
    ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
    Well, you can look at it this way. Do I want to be around long enough to enjoy being with my wife and kids,if you have them, or do I want to be in poor health as I get older. Unless you have the genetic markers for good HDL production you may have problems down the road.

  • theghostronin79

    guest123 Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 12:52 pm
    I recently resigned from the FD after a House fire that I thought “For Sure” my ticket was up…… I’ve never been afraid of dying but, this time……..

    I said FU*K THAT…..I wanna walk my baby down the aisle one day.

    ^^^^^^^

    that’s a brave decision. anyone tells you otherwise is just a swinging d!ck who doesn’t have a kid. Kids change you. I wanna walk my baby girl down the aisle too. I have 3 girls I wanna walk so I better keep up!

    ==============

    I hope you do Guest….. Seriously. I had no clue how much I would LOVE being her father. I wanna have more too.

    My woman and my baby are the 2 things I hold higher than myself. I wanna squeeze every second I can get with them.

  • http://profootballtalk.com Raideraholic (AKAHairyBush)

    I just created my joke of the day:

    Q:Why are so many Raider fans turning to a more healthy lifestyle??

    A:Because they know to see another championship they better live a LONG time!

    I’m here all day folks.

  • guest123

    Well the health kick chat is better than the usual race baiting crap.

  • Just Fire Baby

    of course she’s super thin and can eat whatever she wants without gaining a pound – that type, the ones you hate

    ***************************

    Got that right!!!!

  • RaiderRockstar

    I just created my joke of the day:

    Q:Why are so many Raider fans turning to a more healthy lifestyle??

    A:Because they know to see another championship they better live a LONG time!

    I’m here all day folks.

    ***

    @HB

    Feb 2014 = “a long time” ??

  • guest123

    My woman and my baby are the 2 things I hold higher than myself. I wanna squeeze every second I can get with them.

    ^^^

    family is #1 man

  • SnBG

    Why is cutting down on fats,salt,sugar, whites etc have to taste bad? You don’t have to give those things up entirely. Just be moderate and have checkups for you’re heart, HDL Just watch out for those things and do some excercise. I don’t get it. People are dying because of their diets and the chem around them yet they ignore their bodies, get old faster than they have to and die earlier than they have to. Seems like a no brainier to me to take good care of yourself.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Saw a pic of Danny Green partying with Lebron last night at a club.

    Manu was set to go as well, but he couldn’t get past the front door becaue he threw his pass away.

  • Just Fire Baby

    My whole family dies early.

    The longest grandparent was my grandma on moms side who made it to like 77 or so.

    Got up at 4am and downed a pot of coffee and a pack of Salems. On to the Carlo Rossi by brunch, and the pinnochle club at lunch.

    Seemed like the way to go to me.

  • guest123

    Manu was set to go as well, but he couldn’t get past the front door becaue he threw his pass away.

    ^^

    ba dum bump!

  • Just Fire Baby

    I don’t have any kids, but you guys seem to have some nice home lives.

    Wifey 50% of the time is the furthest thing from an inspiration to eat a smoothie and live another 30 years.

  • hwnrdr

    4163.Just Fire Baby Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 1:06 pm
    Saw a pic of Danny Green partying with Lebron last night at a club.

    Manu was set to go as well, but he couldn’t get past the front door becaue he threw his pass away.

    Hahaha

  • SnBG

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 1:09 pm
    My whole family dies early.

    The longest grandparent was my grandma on moms side who made it to like 77 or so.

    Got up at 4am and downed a pot of coffee and a pack of Salems. On to the Carlo Rossi by brunch, and the pinnochle club at lunch.

    Seemed like the way to go to me.
    ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
    DADUMDADUM DADUMDADA

  • romania

    Eat more possum!

  • hwnrdr

    One of the best things about having kids is when you get home from a long day at work, they’re running to you with open arms…screaming, “Daddy!”
    Well, of course until they get til about 10 :)

  • http://profootballtalk.com Raideraholic (AKAHairyBush)

    I think that new Rogaine product Mr. Ginobli is using seeped into his head and that is why there was so many errant passes.

  • R8ER MIKE

    when i die i want to go out nice and peaceful like my Grandfather….
    ….. and not like the 30 screaming passengers on his bus !!!

  • guest123

    One of the best things about having kids is when you get home from a long day at work, they’re running to you with open arms…screaming, “Daddy!”
    Well, of course until they get til about 10

    ^^^^^^

    this is true. unless they want to warm up to me to get them to give them time on the computer. then they give me the “daddy, daddy, your home” treatment. Alwasys leery of the angle.

  • Just Fire Baby

    My morkie does that for me.

    She even does a little dance, lol.

  • R8ER MIKE

    hwnrdr Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 1:14 pm
    One of the best things about having kids is when you get home from a long day at work, they’re running to you with open arms…screaming, “Daddy!”
    Well, of course until they get til about 10

    *******************************
    my kids 20 .. he still comes running.. but its for money !!

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    My wife, although healthy and fit, likes her Swiss food. Which I find heavy. Brown gravy meat , fennel, chard. Damn!

    I’ve started cooking myself.

  • guest123

    I just hope I don’t go of some debiliatating disease like parkinsons or alzheimers. I don’t want to be a burden to my wife or kids. that would suck.

  • guest123

    I hope that before I die, I see Mark Davis hoist a Lombardi trophy. Hope Willy gets to see that too.

  • Just Fire Baby

    I just hope I don’t go of some debiliatating disease like parkinsons or alzheimers. I don’t want to be a burden to my wife or kids

    *****************************

    Buy term life insurance, and amazing how these problems “fix” themselves.

  • R8ER MIKE

    its 420 GreenParty !!
    PUFF PUFF PASS !!!

  • Dakota

    Okay, this page takes too long to load on this particular computer when we have over 3k posts…..talk to you guys later, when Jerry and Steve get back from their furlough….or just finally get around to doing their jobs.

  • hwnrdr

    4175.R8ER MIKE Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 1:17 pm
    hwnrdr Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 1:14 pm
    One of the best things about having kids is when you get home from a long day at work, they’re running to you with open arms…screaming, “Daddy!”
    Well, of course until they get til about 10

    *******************************
    my kids 20 .. he still comes running.. but its for money !!

    LOL, I know right?

  • theghostronin79

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 1:11 pm
    I don’t have any kids, but you guys seem to have some nice home lives.

    Wifey 50% of the time is the furthest thing from an inspiration to eat a smoothie and live another 30 years.

    ===========

    All LUCK buddy……Straight A$$ luck.

    Being in the right place at the right time, and knocking up a woman that was told by many doctors that she’d never have a child…..

    I wish I could say it was cause I made good choices, or that I’m super suave or something but…… It was ALL luck.

  • RaiderDebo

    hwnrdr Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 1:11 pm
    4163.Just Fire Baby Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 1:06 pm
    Saw a pic of Danny Green partying with Lebron last night at a club.

    Manu was set to go as well, but he couldn’t get past the front door becaue he threw his pass away.

    Hahaha

    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    Played like he was on the take.

  • theghostronin79

    guest123 Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 1:20 pm
    I hope that before I die, I see Mark Davis hoist a Lombardi trophy. Hope Willy gets to see that too.

    ==========

    Preach it man.

  • bigsnow81

    theghostronin79 Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    guest123 Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 1:20 pm
    I hope that before I die, I see Mark Davis hoist a Lombardi trophy. Hope Willy gets to see that too.

    ==========

    Preach it man.
    *******************************************************

    Dream big!

  • bigsnow81

    I would like to complete my MBA before I pass.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Carl Landry leaning toward opting out with Warriors, agent says

    ***

    thoughts, W fans?

  • RaiderRockstar

    Rob Gronkowski has had how many surgeries? Five, including the four on the left forearm that was fractured and refractured (different spot), the recovery set back by an infection.

    On Tuesday, he underwent a microscopic lumbar discectomy to repair a herniated disc, the same type of operation he had while in college. His surgeon, Robert Watkins, issued a statement that the procedure was a success and a full recovery is projected.

    Yet that doesn’t mean Gronkowski will be ready when the Patriots open the season at the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 8. And when he does come back, he will need to get back to form while proving these physical issues don’t mean he’s necessarily injury-prone.

    ***

    Pats starting TE = Jake Ballard

  • Raider E

    It has been expected that we will lose Landry or Jack. I think the Dubs are going to lose them both and have to sign a couple vet min. guys to replace them.

    Hopefully Rush comes back and plays like 2011-2012.

    We are seriously hurting at backup PF and PG as it is, and Jefferson and Beans are killing the cap.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Carl Landry leaning toward opting out with Warriors, agent says

    ***

    thoughts, W fans?
    ——————————
    I saw that. Plus the W’s are in the same situation the Raiders were in. No draft picks and no money to spend.

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    Andries Biedrens is guaranteed 11 million next year?

  • http://microwave_economics 909RaiderLifer

    I’m trying to eat better. More fish, fruits, salads and such..

    But, when you live less than a mile from a great little walk up mexican food joint that makes great burritos..

    Just up the street is a In-n-Out Burger.

    A little further up, is a Norm’s Restaurant. Home of the “Bigger, better breakfast.” Best damn pancakes EVER!…

    Hit ‘em all at least once a month…

    Still love me an ice COLD beer or eight…

  • The Big Banana

    Do you guys all have wives that enjoy cooking for healthnuts?

    or perhaps they’re the ones who inspired/persuaded you?

    ———

    RRS – the latter

  • SnBG

    It’s 5 were I’m at and time for a beer.

  • http://microwave_economics 909RaiderLifer

    Ten years ago I had back surgery. L4,5,6.

    Took six months before I could go back to my construction job…

  • SnBG

    909RaiderLifer Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 2:41 pm
    I’m trying to eat better. More fish, fruits, salads and such..

    But, when you live less than a mile from a great little walk up mexican food joint that makes great burritos..

    Just up the street is a In-n-Out Burger.

    A little further up, is a Norm’s Restaurant. Home of the “Bigger, better breakfast.” Best damn pancakes EVER!…

    Hit ‘em all at least once a month…

    Still love me an ice COLD beer or eight…
    ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
    That is tough. Scrambled eggs in the middle of 2 pancakes covered in maple syrup was my dream breakfast.

  • SnBG

    Lasagne with red and white sauce.Unbelievable.

  • SnBG

    M

  • SnBG

    Merritt Bakery Fried Chicken,Flynts B.B.Q at 2 in the morning. Mexicali Rose at 2 in the morning. Those where the days.