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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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  • SnBG

    A big piece of Chocolate cake for breakfast.

  • 0ak r8rs

    Well just got off from work. Went back 200 posts. Thanks for the Tyler Wilson link saintkaufman, other than that pretty pointless. And I’m not really biatching, I don’t have anything worthwhile to add myself. I have a bunch of kids. I try to eat well. I hate the off season. At least there’s no hate today. But I’m out. Try again tomorrow.

  • SnBG

    Pizza of any kind. Especially with 3 cheeses and a great sausage. Pizza with olive oil,3 cheeses tomatoes and oregano.

  • Raider E

    Beans = 9 mil.

    Jefferson = 11 mil.

    Combined we may get 10 minutes a game from them if we are lucky. Although, with Ezeli not expected back until mid-season after knee surgery, Beans may prove to be valuable.

    I’m not holding my breath.

  • SnBG

    I’m out also. Not much going on here. See you en la manana. (Morning).

  • PlunkforHOF

    The food talk is at least better than race baiting and politics. I am someone who loves food, but I am still dealing with the effects of treatment for throat cancer last year. Radiation severely ficked up my taste buds and saliva glands. I lost 65 lbs and am now the weight I was when I was 17. (now 58). Just made a pork shoulder in the crockpot, but meat is difficult to eat and somewhat tasteless to me. Salads and fruit go down easy. What I wouldn’t give to enjoy a nice prime rib like I used to.

  • http://www.christianitydisproved.com/ Silverandblack666

    “Thanks for the Tyler Wilson link”

    I know that was fun to watch.

  • SaintKaufman

    :cool:

  • C2E

    Our “beat writers” must have beat it…wtf?

  • http://www.christianitydisproved.com/ Silverandblack666

    They could beat it if they were men more likely scenario is they are rubbing one out with the two fingers on the meat flaps.

  • http://raiders.com Seymour Bush

    SnBG Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 3:01 pm

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

    I loved Flynts. Especially after 1 am. Flynts was either other worldly good or terrible. Nothing in between.

  • xraided

    Raider E Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 3:22 pm
    Beans = 9 mil.

    Jefferson = 11 mil.

    Combined we may get 10 minutes a game from them if we are lucky. Although, with Ezeli not expected back until mid-season after knee surgery, Beans may prove to be valuable.

    I’m not holding my breath.
    ________

    i doubt they go into next season with BEANS as their primary backup/bench reliever to Bogut.. esp with Bogut’s injury history

    yes those contracts are painful. Bean’s has been painful for 7 years now… hindering ones just like the raiders have been dealing with . the common demoninator is bad management… which are both gone now (RIP AL) …

    with that money falling off next year and the dubs making it into the 2nd round of the playoffs and beyond … there will be a great amount of star talents looking to join up… exciting times.

  • xraided

    Flynn and Pryor’s bday today?
    anyone wonder what their bday wish is?

  • jesusraiderjim

    Hope the B-Day boys didn’t take each other to Lake Merrit for paddle boat races and one has an accidental mishap.

  • Twocents

    For me it was Chinatown, Oakland Seafood.

  • redshirt

    Xraided Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 4:20 pm
    Flynn and Pryor’s bday today?
    anyone wonder what their bday wish is?
    *********

    I’d like to think they each wished good things for their families, because the only person responsible for getting them the starting QB job is himself. They’re competitors and don’t need some magical wish granting god to hand it to them.

  • DIRT-LOT FOOTBALL

    POST-4209,1 OR BOTH WILL APPEAR SOON WITH 4 POSTS IN 2 DAYS AND THEN DISAPPEAR AGAIN FOR A WEEK PLUS..

  • Raiders for life

    DIRT-LOT,
    lol, YOU KNOW steve AND jerry DON’t WORK WEEKENDS.
    It’ll be Monday at the earliest.

  • jesusraiderjim

    DIRT LOT

    Raiders For Life

    We (Riff) got an interesting new blog going send me your e-mail address if you are interested.

    Its a no troll no racist zone. Has much potential and some cool videos of ota’s etc.

    jesusraiderjim@aol.com

  • 0ak r8rs

    Seymour Bush Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 4:02 pm
    SnBG Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 3:01 pm

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

    I loved Flynts. Especially after 1 am. Flynts was either other worldly good or terrible. Nothing in between.

    @@@@@@@@

    We have crown fried chicken over her. Open till at least 3 on the weekends. Always awesome. Always good value for your buck. Never a good neighborhood tho. Get in and get the FACK out w your food!

  • Just Fire Baby

    What I wouldn’t give to enjoy a nice prime rib like I used to.

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

    That’s a damn shame man, I feel for you

  • RAIDERMAN99

    After DA is fired he is going to write a book about diet and nutrition.

    Yes, if you eat right, you can stay slim and still have massive male mammaries.

    If his first book is a success, there are plans for a follow up in which Tits will give helpful tips to lactating fathers that want to breast feed their children.

    Should have a new post from Corky by then.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Thanks Vegas, its slowly getting better.

  • http://WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com Sir RaiderDuck, OMS

    Question: Anyone here ever eaten at Jersey Mike’s? And how do they compare to Subway?

  • xraided

    Redshirt Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 5:19 pm
    Xraided Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 4:20 pm
    Flynn and Pryor’s bday today?
    anyone wonder what their bday wish is?
    *********

    I’d like to think they each wished good things for their families, because the only person responsible for getting them the starting QB job is himself. They’re competitors and don’t need some magical wish granting god to hand it to them.
    ___________

    true story …

    although the raiders as a whole need some Warrior magic to be an under the radar, super competitive team this year. lets hope we get some of that

  • Just Fire Baby

    Jersey Mike’s is massively better than Subway.

    But still not that great, IMO.

    Jason’s Deli and Panera are much higher in my book.

  • xraided

    Just Fire Baby Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 6:43 pm
    Jersey Mike’s is massively better than Subway.

    But still not that great, IMO.

    Jason’s Deli and Panera are much higher in my book.
    ___________

    Ike’s Dungeon in SJ and in SF is the best Deli in the world!!

  • http://www.nfl.com Rendition

    Embarrassing. a raider board. with raider fans. you ladies aren’t here because you are raider fans. It’s obvious you are here because you are gossipy bored lazy sit onass doing nothing all day mice.
    any of you actually have a life? yeah, some are at work, wasting emp $ by posting all day, but others are not at work. to those I say you are embarrassing.
    and this brd is by far the most patheticc raider board.
    What’s next? knitting patterns? preferred bath oils? bikini waxing? You guys should synchonize your menses.

  • http://www.nfl.com Rendition

    Xraided Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 4:20 pm
    Flynn and Pryor’s bday today?
    anyone wonder what their bday wish is?
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    what their bday wish is?
    I think women and children should make it clear by their handle, just so the rest of us can say ok, it’s a woman, or it’s a kid, and move on

  • http://WhyWontGodHealAmputees.com Sir RaiderDuck, OMS

    Rendition Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Embarrassing. a raider board. with raider fans. you ladies aren’t here because you are raider fans. It’s obvious you are here because you are gossipy bored lazy sit onass doing nothing all day mice.
    any of you actually have a life? yeah, some are at work, wasting emp $ by posting all day, but others are not at work. to those I say you are embarrassing.
    and this brd is by far the most patheticc raider board.
    What’s next? knitting patterns? preferred bath oils? bikini waxing? You guys should synchonize your menses.

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

    And who asked you for your opinion? Oh, that’s right. NOBODY.

  • http://raiders.com Blog Narc

    Rendition Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Embarrassing. a raider board. with raider fans. you ladies aren’t here because you are raider fans. It’s obvious you are here because you are gossipy bored lazy sit onass doing nothing all day mice.
    any of you actually have a life? yeah, some are at work, wasting emp $ by posting all day, but others are not at work. to those I say you are embarrassing.
    and this brd is by far the most patheticc raider board.
    What’s next? knitting patterns? preferred bath oils? bikini waxing? You guys should synchonize your menses.
    +++++++++++++
    I have a hotline to Becker and Cork. The only thing they are less tolerant of than bad language is smarty pants with no blog history coming here and calling names.

    Consider yourself banned dikface.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Jeez…I recommend Riff’s blog.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Looks like Doc Rivers will not be coaching the Los Angeles Clippers next season.

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/06/21/report-doc-rivers-to-no-longer-pursue-effort-to-become-clippers-coach/

  • RaiderRockstar

    Shane Battier celebrated the Heat’s NBA championship @ Denny’s

    lol

  • http://www.nfl.com Rendition

    Blog Narc Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Rendition Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Embarrassing. a raider board. with raider fans. you ladies aren’t here because you are raider fans. It’s obvious you are here because you are gossipy bored lazy sit onass doing nothing all day mice.
    any of you actually have a life? yeah, some are at work, wasting emp $ by posting all day, but others are not at work. to those I say you are embarrassing.
    and this brd is by far the most patheticc raider board.
    What’s next? knitting patterns? preferred bath oils? bikini waxing? You guys should synchonize your menses.
    +++++++++++++
    I have a hotline to Becker and Cork. The only thing they are less tolerant of than bad language is smarty pants with no blog history coming here and calling names.

    Consider yourself banned dikface.
    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    That’s the best you got?
    Cork just stopped by and informed me he’s tired of you cross posters discussing papsmears and smoothies on his raider board. now take your purse and get home, and get the dishes done.

  • RaiderRockstar

    @Rendition

    Let’s talk Raiders. Who do you see starting at QB Week 1 and why?

  • http://www.Raiders.com KoolKell

    PlunkforHOF Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Jeez…I recommend Riff’s blog.
    —————–
    Lol. Good luck Brien

  • DJ Johnny

    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.

    Olson likes to talk up Gruden a lot doesn’t he?

    Al would not have appreciated that if he were still around.

    Olson knows how popular Gruden is amongst the Raider nation.

    Funny, when Gruden is the guy who beat us in the SB…we still love the guy. Well…most of us.

  • http://www.nfl.com Rendition

    Rockstar-kind of a loaded question. I think I’m like the masses which isn’t happy that at this stage we have no clear starter. Who do I want? Whoever wins the job.
    really dont have a preference. Actually I take that back. would love to have CP here, with a preseason that lets him fight for his start. reason I want CP around is an inexperienced qb behind a shifted line, throwing to a less than accomplished WR group scares me. Not trying to rehash the palmer deal, just saying would feel better if there was some experience behind center

  • Crawfish Joe

    DJ Johnny Says:
    June 21st, 2013 at 10:25 am
    Can we get to 5000 posts?

    Anyone know what the record is?

    llllllllllllll

    Mr Purvis would know.

  • SaintKaufman

    Is there anybody….

  • SaintKaufman

    …out there??

  • SaintKaufman

    Just nod if you can hear me.

  • DJ Johnny

    …is there anyone at home.

  • DJ Johnny

    There is no pain you are receding. A distant ship smoke on the horizon.

  • DJ Johnny

    .you are only coming thru in waves. Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.

  • SaintKaufman

    Your lips move but I can’t hear what your saying.

    Ha. One of my fav lyrics.

  • SaintKaufman

    Really guys, 5000 posts??

  • SaintKaufman

    OK, so this is how I see the season going.

    We’re screwed! :)

  • DJ Johnny

    …when I was a child I had a fever. My hands felt just like two balloons.

    Now I’ve got that feelin once again I cannot put my finger on it now, this is not who I am.