Reports have surfaced that head coach Dennis Allen and the Raiders seem to have found their new offensive coordinator, hiring Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks coach Greg Olson.
Though the hire has not been announced by the team, it has been reported around the league and is expected to be announced by the team in the next couple of days. The Raiders coaching staff heads to Alabama to coach the Senior Bowl on Saturday.
Olson has served as an offensive coordinator on three separate occasions in the NFL: Detroit Lions (2005), St. Louis Rams (2006-2007), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009-2011). Olson helped develop Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman during his tenure in Tampa Bay.
One aspect of Olson’s philosophy that Raider Nation will welcome is his belief in the power-blocking scheme. Raiders running back Darren McFadden struggled under former offensive coordinator Greg Knapp’s zone-blocking scheme, averaging a career-low 3.3 yards per carry. This comes after the star running back averaged a career-high 5.4 yards per carry under Hue Jackson’s power-blocking scheme. It should come as no surprise that the Raiders intend on changing the scheme after the offensive line’s difficulties this past season as well McKenzie implying McFadden’s necessity to run downhill.
Though he recently served as the quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Olson has had success at the NFL level as an offensive coordinator. Olson helped lead Freeman to one of his best seasons as an NFL quarterback as well as helping Rams running back Steven Jackson succeed.
The next step for Oakland is to find hire coaches to their other vacancies: offensive line, special teams and linebackers coach. Olson will likely want to bring in his own guy to coach his offensive line.
Olson was one name that was reported to be interviewed along with Mike Martz and Marc Trestman.
Having an offensive coordinator named will be beneficial to the Raiders as they head to Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl, allowing the new coordinator to properly evaluate any potential draft picks.
Olson inherits an offense with weapons that include McFadden, starting quarterback Carson Palmer, and a young wide receiving corps. The 48-year-old coordinator has plenty of ammunition to play with, but will need to find a way to incorporate all of the pieces to improve the offense from a dismal 2012 season.