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Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson is expecting big things from running back Maurice Jones-Drew

Had a sit-down with Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson Saturday afternoon along with two other reporters. Olson touched on a wide range of subjects, but one of the things that stood out was his excitement over the performance of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who could be a feature component of the Raiders offense in 2014.

Olson spent the 2012 season as the quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jones-Drew played in only six games before injuring his foot against the Raiders in Oakland and was done for the season. Jones-Drew averaged only 3.4 yards per carry in 2013, looking nothing like the back who had a career-best 1,606 yards in 2011.

When asked about the shelf life of a running back and the amount of carries Jones-Drew has had at age 29, Olson said he didn’t know if the wear and tear was a factor.

“But I know this. When I was with the kid two years ago, and I’ve told him so I’m not saying anything I haven’t said to him, he held out through training camp. I didn’t even meet the kid. I didn’t meet him until the week before the first game,” Olson said. “His body (now is completely different. He was running the ball well that year, he got hurt after six games, but he was heavy and a little lethargic looking. He looks like a different player.”

When it was suggested the Raiders didn’t have a true big back other than second-year player Latavius Murray, Olson referenced Jones-Drew.

“Maurice Jones-Drew plays like a big back. I’m going to promise you, you’re going to see,” Olson said. “He’s got such a low center of gravity. He’s extremely difficult to tackle because of his height and his power. He’s got ridiculous power in those legs. And he’s hard to see with a big line. He’s hard to see coming out of the line of scrimmage, and when he does come out, they get a glimpse of him and try and stick an arm out, he’ll rip it off. He’s got that kind of power.”

Highlights of other topics addressed by Olson:

Staying in good health

“The thing that’s biggest for us and probably any team is you’ve gotten this far and you’ve avoided significant injuries. Guys are playing together. You’ve got a one huddle, a two huddle and a three huddle. Guys are starting to play with each other.”

Keeping Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden healthy

“Obviously there’s a lot of critics out there that say they can’t stay healthy and who knows? In the future we’ll know, but right now if those two guys can stay healthy they’re pretty darn good.”

The quarterback room

“There’s no regulator with that group. We’ve added the entire play book, thrown everything at ‘em and they haven’t blinked. not only have they absorbed the information but they’ve done a pretty good job executing it . . . there’s just a lot of good ideas bounced around and a lot of good conversations . . . I hate to compare because I’ve had some good groups, but overall, it’s probably the most intelligent group i’e ever had.”

The improvement of tight end Mychal Rivera

“He looks more athletic. He’s stronger. He’s more confident. I said to him the other day there’s a little bit of a swagger to him this season.”

The challenge of distributing the ball to different playmakers

“Trying to soothe and manage egos, I think that’s the biggest thing in the NFL. Does everybody understand the team concept of the game? We’ve got a great group of guys, a great group of skill players that I think understand it. you’ve got Marcel Reece, who does a lot of good things, you’ve got Darren (McFadden) and Maurice Jones-Drew that are going to need their touches. You’re bringing in guys at wide receiver, Rod Streater and Greg Little and Andre Holmes. We’ve added to our playmakers, we’ve beefed up our front and we’ve got stability at the quarterback position and so it should lead to better results.”

The possibility of Greg Little being a downfield threat

“He had the hamstring and has been out lately, but as far as explosiveness, getting off the line of scrimmage and straight-out speed, it’s among the tops on our team.”

The development of running back Latavius Murray

“He had foot issues (last season) and we were like, this looks like a totally different guy than the one we watched on tape in college. It looked as if he was running on bunions or something. He had real noticeable foot issues. And we haven’t had any remnants of that right now. he looks healthy, he looks strong. He’s having a real good camp.”

Use of a slot receiver

“We’re playing Rod (Streater) in the slot right now and we just moved James Jones to the slot about four practices ago, put him the slot. We like some of the things he does. Rod and James are kind of handling it inside.”

Play of the offensive line and if the Raiders will be a running team

“We think the offensive line is a strength right now. If our running backs can stay healthy, we like our running backs. I think sometimes our game plan will dictate (how much we run). How the game unfolds, sometimes dictates that, but we feel good about our running game right now.”

On Khalif Barnes holding his spot at left guard over rookie Gabe Jackson

“`Khalif’s done a good job. He’s got a fountain of youth going. Khalif Barnes, as many years as he’s played, you don’t see, usually their legs are the first to go, yet he looks fresh out there and he’s doing a nice job, and he’s also doing a nice job mentoring the young kid. Glad we got him.”

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • J Hill

    Haren won’t be pitching in the post season so I wouldn’t worry.

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    He was just having one of his days yesterday, bad body language the whole game.

  • Sir Raider Duck, OMS

    I hope not. Dude was awful last night.

  • seymour bush

    Hammel’s era in the NL was about 2 runs below his career AL average. Then he comes back to the AL and looks like a beer league softball pitcher.

  • Sir Raider Duck, OMS

    Denver is, IMHO, one Peyton Manning injury away from being a 7-9 team at best.

  • seymour bush

    Losing Cespedes is no great loss. .250 hitter, liability in the field, does raise his game up in the playoffs tho. Would rather have Gomes.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Priest thinks Pryor is in Seattle, too. Love is blind.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Good afternoon Raider fans and others! Weird vibe here today. I get puzzled when semis that I like start sniping each other. Maybe Llamaman and I should have a purse fight. Oh well winning is going to cure a lot of our ills. Back on stage in 2 hours. Be nice to each other.

  • Sir Raider Duck, OMS

    Afternoon, good sir!

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    I agree, but I don’t think they took a step back. If anything, I think they got better. If Peyton lasts the year, I’d be thrilled with a split.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Lawrence Taylor on NFLN right now. For some reason I thought he was dead.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Listen, you l’il btch. Don’t be bringing me into your schyt when I’m minding my own business. I know where you gonna be tonight and it’s only 90 minutes away. Get outta my lane…Period

  • PlunkforHOF

    Fck you, you dirty little hooker.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    That’s trout hooker to you!

  • PlunkforHOF

    We’re not good at this.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    How ’bout a hug?

  • PlunkforHOF

    Now you’ve crossed the line.

  • PlunkforHOF

    The shock and awe of our battle has killed the blog.

  • Raider O

    Lmao
    You guys need practice. Hooker?

  • PlunkforHOF

    The mods won’t allow a better synonym.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Ray Guy is third on the list of most games played in a Raiders uniform. 14 years.

    Behind whom? Without googling, I’ll guess Otto. Seabass must be close. Dalby? We had some long lived centers.

  • Sir Raider Duck, OMS

    I thought he was in prison for something-or-other…

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    I know you’ve got a soft spot for Priest, but he can get me going.

  • Raider O

    Still lol at “hooker”.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Coke and women abuse come to mind, but I may be thinking of somebody else.

  • SlashNHack

    Jets are having their inter squad scrimmage now on the radio. Why don’t we have anything like this ? Cool for fans

  • Raider O

    I noticed that. It’s ok, you are not a troll or a stalker, and I like you. BHP is one of my favorite posters. He is one of the reasons why I started posting here.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Its why I took the Gumby Pledge. I was spending too much time slapping him down only to have him arise like a demented Phoenix uglier than before. And it seems he doesn’t troll me now.

  • Raider O

    Molesting a young girl?

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Gdog would say Barnes, but it just seems that long to him.

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    Seems like this is the big practice day around the league.
    We should get some good insight and tweets from today’s action

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    Underage hookers

  • PlunkforHOF

    I remember something like that. And coke.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    That’s just ‘cuz he gave you some love when you lost your mini pincher. Which was cool.

  • raiders24

    Yea see what they do in a scrimmage setting

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Or was that Pootbutt?

  • Raider O

    Gumby is one of a few posters that don’t read or respond to.

  • Raider O

    It was Pootbutt.

  • PlunkforHOF

    I’d trade Gumby and a 1st rd pick to have Kooky back right now.

  • Raider O

    I miss him too. Pootbutts!!

  • PlunkforHOF

    Jim Kelly looks like he’s doing OK so far. Be strong Jim!

  • Raider O

    I didn’t hear about it till yesterday. He looked bad. God bless him. I hate cancer. Lost my dad to cancer.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Its a scourge to all living things. Lost my mom, lost friends, lost pets, almost lost myself.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    One of my renters has one. Coda, I think. He loves me.

  • Raider O

    Glad you are feeling better bro. God bless you too.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Thanks O. I’m glad to be here. Ironic that I had throat cancer 2 years ago and in 20 minutes I’m going to go sing to people for 4 hours and get paid for it.

  • JV.

    Looks like tons of people came back from injury today.. Nice.

  • JV.

    @LeviDamien: David Ausberry drops short pass from Schaub. #Raiders

  • PlunkforHOF

    And let’s remember what Back-in-Black is going through with his dad.

  • Raider O

    Don’t get me started on mini pins. Best pet I ever had. Loyal, smart, loving, and was great with my daughter. Usually toy breeds are not good with kids, but he tolerated so much abuse from my daughter. She wanted to ride him, dress him, etc…
    RIP Pharaoh!