Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders Should Replace OC Greg Olson: 3 Reasons Why


Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Olson was hired by the Oakland Raiders in January to clean up the unit that former offensive coordinator Greg Knapp left in shambles.

Knapp’s tenure in Oakland was hampered by his own stubbornness: time after time throughout the 2012 season his offensive system frustrated fans and media alike; yet he refused to make changes, no matter how inferior the product he put on the field may be.

Olson was praised, more or less, as the Anti-Knapp. He utilized a power-blocking scheme that was supposed to fit running back Darren McFadden like a glove, and boasted a flexibility to tailor his offense around his playmakers and allow them to do what they do best.

It feels like a political level of contrast between what was promised, and what was delivered after election day.

Darren McFadden has not performed, and the majority of any Raiders offensive success has been created by the improvisation of Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor, who did a great job early in the season covering up the unit’s deficiencies.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders’ playoff hopes are all but gone for 2013, but 2014 will be a new year; and I’ve got a few reasons why Greg Olson should have nothing to do with it unless he turns some things around.

Failure to Utilize Personnel:

I’ll just cut to the chase, here: Raiders fullback Marcel Reece is one of the most intriguing weapons in the entire National Football League. He is a mismatch waiting to happen.

Yep, still waiting.

Greg Olson is content to say that defenses are now aware of Reece, and they prepare accordingly, so opportunities to get him the ball are fewer and farther between.

While this is a legitimate claim– Even Terrelle Pryor has said that defenses are devoting cornerbacks to cover Reece– all it takes is a run-heavy formation to get the defense in a base personnel grouping, motion Reece into the slot, and all of a sudden a linebacker or safety will be forced to try and cover him.

Defenses don’t just give up mismatches, you have to force them into those situations. And Olson has failed to do so.

Failure to Adapt:

Well, that sums it up.

When beat-writers and bloggers can predict your playcalling, you can imagine what actual NFL defensive coordinators and players can do.

Giants CB Terrell Thomas on his interception:

It was a big play for us. We needed it. It was a route that they run a lot and I was waiting on it all game.

Yeah, that sounds about right.

The idea is to keep a small playbook and limit the amount of decisions Terrelle Pryor has to make in order to put him in position to succeed– but by taking that notion too far, the result has been quite the opposite. No quarterback can have consistent success throwing the ball when defense knows that his receivers only run a small handful of different routes.

It would be wise to incorporate some plays that can exploit this type of aggressiveness in defenses.

For example, If defensive backs are smothering your slant routes to Denarius Moore (hypothetically…), wait for them to bite on the slant then turn upfield and burn them over the top. Dart back to the sideline for a quick 3rd and short conversion. Have a back (Marcel Reece, perhaps?) go sit in the area vacated by the overly-aggressive DB. The options are, quite literally, endless.

At some point we need to find out if Terrelle Pryor can operate an offense with NFL-level complexity; and with the Oakland Raiders’ postseason hopes dimmed, there is no better time than now to find out.

2014 Salary Cap Relief

This one is not Olson’s fault, clearly, but it could absolutely play a factor in whether or not he remains with the Raiders.

With somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 million in impending cap space, the Oakland Raiders will be able to essentially take their pick when free agency rolls around, and will therefore become a highly attractive landing spot for many larger-name coordinator candidates.

2014 will be the first time Reggie McKenzie gets to put a 53-man roster together with a full deck of cards, and Greg Olson has some work to do over the next 7 weeks to prove that he is the right man for the job.

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Tags: AFC West Greg Olson Oakland Raiders

  • Bob

    The Raiders are scoring about nineteen points a game. You won’t win many games in the NFL that way. Yes, Olson needs to go.

  • Eric Kench

    How many OCs are we gonna through? I admit that the Giants game was definitetly on Olson because of his playcalling. He had a powerback waiting to break out and beat up the other teams defenses in Rashad Jennings and yet he kept trying to throw the ball even though the Giants never had that big of a lead.

  • Jacob Steele

    I agree that it’s frustrating to have the turnover year after year. But with the salary money coming in, the impending departure of Manning in Denver, etc. the division will be up for grabs and Oakland is in the fast lane. They have to take all measures to make sure they have a top-notch staff on board.

  • R8drs76

    Olsen needs to go just like the writer us fans at home can predict the next play Oakland is going to run or the slant pass to Moore. 9 Weeks into the season and this fool figures out what a screen pass is, thatsthat’s RunDMC bread and butter but no letslet’s run up the middle. RM better do somesomething good this off season for 1. Reason only us fans have been watching this S**t for to long 12 yrs rebuilding is just an excuse and us fans are sick of hearing it

  • Hangtownie

    I swear on first down yesterday he ran the same play every time, Jennings between the tackles. The Giants caught on after the 2nd time but we kept running it. It’s the no surprise offence and guess what? Pryor was the other part of the problem. How many times did he run out of bounds for a couple yard loss when he could of thrown the ball out. That is something he should of learned in College. He holds the ball too long!

  • Angel

    Yeah. I get mad at play calling. On several 3rd downs that should’ve been converted. Coach Olsen needs more time with better players, better offensive line and look at 49ers… Losing to the Panthers with all those weapons they have. Yes I know, Panthers defense is good…. Just comparing a scenario with a mobile QB with an o-line and weapons. Unless we are lucky and get the always respected, legendary, best lookin, playboy, youthful, havin any woman he wants, most interesting dude in the world Chucky, (dude that’ll kill chuck Norris) Mr. Gruden back…. We should keep Olsen for another year

  • vl8962 .

    MisGuided Article and Commentary….Did you ever think maybe Olson is keeping his playcalling simple, because his QB Terrelle Pryor is incapable of Grasping his Offense?????
    U cant run a sophisticated Offense with an Young, Still learning the postion QB….Olson is not Sean Payton, but he also doesnt have Drew Brees….#BlamePryor

  • raiders91340

    whos fault is it, when its an important drive, to go for a rollout pass to the right on 3rd and 2, when the running game has been successful? An oc should know when a defense has adjusted to one side of the field (all game). Simple wouldve been to run it on 3rd and 2. Instead, Jennings only had 4 more rushing yards the rest of the game. Not because he got stopped all the time, Lots of pass plays. Why? We werent in a ”Must Pass” 4th qtr.

  • Mike Mittleberger

    Come on 2014… the last 10 yrs have been tough. I see some good things but its obvious the Team needs help.
    Raiders till I Die.

  • DanfromVegas

    Olsen has put the offense in a position to make good things happen. You can’t run a regular NFL offense without an NFL caliber QB. The offense has moved the ball well considering our roster. As conservative as his play calling has been of late, 1 touchdown and 8 interceptions for Pryor in the last 5 games. Olsen is not the problem.

  • DanfromVegas

    It makes sense to try a passing play in those situations because the defense isn’t usually expecting it.

  • Jacob Steele

    The entire remainder of the “Failure to Adapt” section underneath the quote from Terrell Thomas addresses that perspective directly.

  • Jacob Steele

    I agree and disagree. Look, I’m not saying Pryor is a good NFL passing quarterback at this time, or that Olson is responsible for every one of those picks and bad decisions. But when they limit the plays so extensively, it is child’s play for defense to get a read on what they are doing. And when the defense can key that hard on a specific set of routes/plays, it doesn’t matter who’s at QB: you can not be successful.

  • Phil Mokate

    Olsen is working lemons into lemon juice. It’s bitter and nothing sweet about it. He has a rookie QB with 9 Starts and on his 3Rd year and playbook. He has a desemated O line playing out of position and Pryor has1.1 sec. to read and throw or run for his life! Olsen is a great coach, but has very little if anything to work with. Basically a rookies receiving core and Dcrak as our featured back. Marcel is and Jennings is all he has???? Hello? Do you watch the games or just take a shot in the dark?!!!

  • RdrFusion

    2014 Draft!

  • Pridenpoise

    I would hardly lay the woes of the offence all on Olson, and if you think canning him is going to somehow make their offence better you’re wrong, I’m so sick and tired of coaches being replaced before they have time to implement a system, the Raiders will NEVER have success if they continue this ridiculous pace of firing guys after one or two years imo they need to give this staff an opportunity because they have been competitive in every game except the Eagles and Broncos, I know the offence has not shown the same growth as the defence, but they are playing a QB who is still a rookie and an offensive line that has been decimated by injuries, hardly Olsen’s fault.

  • Jacob Steele

    It’s definitely not all on Olson. There is an undeniable lack of talent, but there is not zero talent. I agree that continuity is important but I think he needs to show something over the final seven weeks to show that he is the right guy to give that to. It’d be a shame to get more talent on board and still have no success because of the guy writing up the plays.