Wednesday offensive coordinator Greg Olson took the time to address the media in the middle of the Oakland Raiders bye week. Olsen talked about the progress of Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders offense and how the team matches up against their next opponents in the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Here is the transcript from the Raiders official website:
Q: How much were you guys able to get from the seven-on-seven stuff this week?
Coach Olson: I think it’s great for the players that were available. It’s always good for a quarterback to get out and be able to throw the football and get some work with the wide receivers. It was great for us on the offensive side of the ball.
Q: Pittsburgh has had some turnover on the defensive side of the ball, but they’ve consistently been one of the better defenses. What challenges do they present?
Coach Olson: I think continuity. I think [Steelers defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau is a tremendous defensive coordinator and I think having him on staff there has helped the Steelers over the years. Really, their scheme is good and also they’ve had a number of players that have played together for a while. They’ve had some turnover now, but I think continuity, both among the coaching staff and among the players that are playing on defense has helped them.
Q: They seemed to have been able to restock at some of the positions they’ve lost people at.
Coach Olson: Yeah. Very good organization. You look over the years, that’s kind of been one of their trademarks is being able to reload and restock. They’ve done well with their draft choices and they’ve done well in their personnel movement.
Q: Is the Kansas City game perhaps even more important to Terrelle [Pryor]’s development as a quarterback than the games that preceded it?
Coach Olson: I don’t know if it’s any more or any less important. I think it’s part of the growth process overall. He did a number of good things the previous week, and then came in and had to play a very good defense. We were a little bit shorthanded with what we had up front and the loudest environment in the history of the National Football League. I think it’s all part of the growing process and part of his growth process as we move forward.
Q: How has his immediate reaction been?
Coach Olson: I think it’s great. Like I said last week, I think he’s a resilient player. Again, you can coach him hard and he takes the coaching. He tries to come back and take in what you’re telling him and be better the next week. He’s what you’re looking for there as far as a player that’s trying to get better.
Q: Are you getting enough of your between-the-tackles running game?
Coach Olson: Between the tackles, as we look at ourselves more, self-scouting, a little more outside. We’re looking at our outside run game as well as developing that. Most of what we’ve been doing has been inside the tackles thus far. We have to get better everywhere, but the inside tackles has been where we’ve been most efficient actually.
Q: Did you sense Terrelle getting frustrated in the second half last week?
Coach Olson: I don’t think frustration is the word, I think he’s competitive. He wants to win. He’s very hard on himself. He just wanted to win. It was a learning experience for him, but I wouldn’t use the word frustration. I think he’s just a competitive player.”
Q: It was mentioned afterwards that sometimes a punt is the best thing you can do on a series. Is that a hard thing for a quarterback to understand?
Coach Olson: I do because the fact that there is going to be games like that. There are going to be games that are low-scoring games, where you have two very good defensive plans going against one another. If you’re looking overall as a staff, we have a chance to communicate with the head coach over the headsets. They were struggling to move the ball against us. We thought, ‘We’ll stay in this thing here if we don’t’ make any mistakes here. We’re going to be okay here.’ With the young quarterback, he felt like ‘I have to make a play, I have to make a play.’ At some point during the third quarter, that wasn’t a time to have to make a play. We’re controlling the game. We’ve got a lead. On the first interception, there’s no need to have to make a play at that point. There might be a time in the game in the fourth quarter where we’re down and you might have to try to make a play, but at some point you have to manage the game and understand how the game is progressing. I think it’s a learning situation for him. I think after going back and looking at it, he forced it a little bit in that situation. He’ll learn from that and understand that every game is different in how you approach and when you have to make a play or when you don’t have to make a play. It changes every Sunday.
Q: What’s your message to Terrelle as he leaves and goes back to Tom House to work on some mechanics this break?
Coach Olson: For him, he’s a guy that’s going to be around here as well. It’s important, one, that he does take a little bit of a break. He’s started six games now in his career, with a big 10 game stretch ahead. It’s important that he relaxes a little bit. He’s very hard on himself, which is a good thing, but he’s also got to understand to take a deep breath, ready and renewed, with more energy, ready to attack the last 10 games of the season here. For me, that’s great. Let’s go and try to clean up some things mechanically. But also, just take your mind off of it for a day or two, at least physically anyways, and be ready to come back Monday.
Q: Are you a fan of Tom House’s techniques and teachings?
Coach Olson: I’ve learned from Tom and I actually had given that name to Terrelle last spring, just because of my relationship with Drew Brees. I thought, if you’re going to go with somebody, that’s a guy that I respect that believe in. I’m perfectly fine with that.
Q: Can Terrelle ever be too hard on himself?
Coach Olson: I think the more competitive a player is, the harder he is on himself, which is one of the traits that we like about Matt McGloin, too. He’s very competitive and he’s very hard. I think before you can be hard on anybody else, you better be pretty hard on yourself. When you’re in a position of leadership, as you are at the quarterback position, before you can go and correct the guys on the team, you better make sure you’re doing your job and doing everything you can to be the best you can be. I think both of those guys… I like that. I think you’ve got to be hard on yourself and I think you have to have a short-term memory. After any particular play, you’ve got to let that play go and go on to the next play. When you evaluate yourself, it’s a good trait to be hard on yourself.
Q: You, Dennis Allen and even Reggie McKenzie have talked about wanting to get Marcel Reece the ball. Why is it so hard to get him the ball?
Coach Olson: Again, unless you’re handing him the football, which we have to monitor what we’re doing because we have to make sure that Darren McFadden is getting enough touches, and with Marcel it’s changed a little bit this year because of the quarterback position. We’ve become more of a read-option kind of an offense. A lot of times in the passing game, he may be involved, or may be in the progression, but if he’s not catching it in the passing game, the best chance of getting him the football is to hand the ball off. We’ll continue, again, as we look at it. Every game or every week when we finish a game, we go back through a stat sheet and look at how many times the guys were targeted and how many times they actually touched the ball. We’re aware of that with Marcel. We’re constantly aware of it throughout the game. We’ll call some things up in the passing game. He’s number one in progression and for some reason or another, we don’t get the ball to him. We’ll keep continuing to put him in the position to be at that number one in the progression, but the only way you can really and truly ensure it, is to hand him the ball.
Q: You compete against your defense out here during practice and through training camp. The last couple of weeks, Philip Rivers and Alex Smith have looked confused. What is your observation of the job that defensive coordinator Jason Tarver does and why they’re good.
Coach Olson: Tremendous. We spend a lot of time looking at other teams, besides just the ones that we’re playing. We spend a lot of him in the offseason, and even throughout this season. Here in the bye week, we look at who has a really good blitz package, and I think we have one of the best here. I thought that last spring when I got here. I look at the Cincinnati Bengals with Mike Zimmer, and Dick LeBeau in Pittsburgh has always had a good pressure package. You go through and look at different people. Greg Williams, what he did when he was in New Orleans, was a very good package. DA has brought some of that to add to what Tarver does. You’re always looking at, who are the guys that are innovative and somewhat creative that cause problems. I think this scheme is one of those schemes that causes problems.