Greg Olson rejoins the Raiders for the 2018 campaign, marking his 17th
season in the NFL and third season with the Raiders, having spent the
2013 and 2014 seasons as the team’s offensive coordinator. Olson will
also be commencing his second stint on Head Coach Jon Gruden’s staff, as he
served as Gruden’s quarterbacks coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008.
Bringing 31 years of coaching experience to the post, Olson will begin his
second stint in Oakland with 10 seasons of experience as an offensive coordinator
with the Detroit Lions (2005), St. Louis Rams (2006-07), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(2009-11), Raiders (2013-14) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2015-16).
Last season, Olson served as the quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles
Rams, helping the Rams win the NFC West and overseeing the development
of second-year QB Jared Goff. Under Olson, Goff enjoyed a breakout season in
2017, earning a selection to the Pro Bowl and throwing for 3,804 yards on 296-
of-477 passing (62.1 percent), 28 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.
Additionally, Olson helped the Rams post 29.9 points per game, best in the
NFL, and the franchise’s best mark in 16 years.
Prior to joining the Rams, Olson spent two seasons (2015-16) as the
offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the first season of his
second stint with Jacksonville in 2015, Olson revamped the Jaguars offense
into the NFL’s 14th-ranked scoring unit (23.5 points per game) after placing
32nd in 2014. The Jaguars also scored 127 more points in 2015 (376) than
they did in 2014 (249), and their 376 points scored were the most for the
franchise since 2007.
Olson’s first tenure with the Raiders came from 2013-14 as the team’s
offensive coordinator, where he was charged with tutoring rookie QB Derek Carr
in 2014. Olson played a key role in the development of Carr, who threw for
3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns, a franchise rookie record and tops in the NFL
among rookie quarterbacks that year. Additionally, Olson oversaw and offense
that allowed only 28 sacks on the year, the sixth fewest in the NFL.
In 2013, the Raiders’ offense averaged 20.1 points and 333.8 yards per game.
Despite starting a league-high eight different offensive line combinations, Olson’s
group showed improvements in many significant areas from 2012, including
yards per rush (3.8 in 2012 to 4.6 in 2013), 20-plus-yard runs (eight to 18), red
zone touchdown percentage (42.9 to 59.5) and points on the opening possession
(three to 41). He also tutored two young quarterbacks to lead the Raiders offense
– QBs Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin. Pryor threw for 1,798 yards and seven
touchdowns, while setting a franchise record for a quarterback with 576 rushing
yards. McGloin took over as the starter midway through the campaign and finished
up his rookie season with 1,547 passing yards and nine touchdowns.
Olson served as assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville
Jaguars in 2012, overseeing the quarterback duo of Blaine Gabbert, the 10th
overall pick in the 2011 draft, and Chad Henne, a second-round selection in
2008. With an injury-depleted rushing attack, Gabbert and Henne combined
to rank 11th in the NFL with both 586 pass attempts and an average of 36.6
attempts per game.
Prior to joining the Jaguars, Olson served four seasons with the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers, including the last three as offensive coordinator. Olson was
responsible for the development of QB Josh Freeman, the 17th overall pick
in the 2009 draft. Under Olson’s guidance, Freeman threw for 8,898 yards
and 51 touchdowns in his first three seasons as a starter. In 2011, Olson
helped guide the Buccaneers to one of their best offensive seasons in team
history, setting franchise records for yards per play (5.61), average per rush
(4.64 yards), average per pass play (7.21), passer rating (96.2) and fewest
interceptions thrown (six).
The Buccaneers were the youngest team in the NFL in 2010 and WR Mike
Williams, a fourth-round draft pick, finished the year leading all rookie receivers
in the league in every major receiving category while setting a single-season
team record with 11 touchdown receptions. RB LeGarrette Blount’s 1,007
rushing yards led all rookie running backs and he became just the second
undrafted rookie running back in NFL history to finish with over 1,000 yards.
Despite his late elevation to the coordinator position in 2009, Olson’s
offense showed consistent growth around Freeman. Working closely with Olson,
24 2018 Raiders Gameday
Freeman led all rookie quarterbacks in completion percentage (54.5) while
setting Buccaneer rookie records for touchdown passes (10) and passing yards
(1,855) despite starting in just nine games. TE Kellen Winslow had the best
season by a tight end in team history in 2009 as he led the team in receptions
(77) and receiving yards (884), both good for single-season franchise records
among tight ends.
In his first season in Tampa Bay in 2008, Olson was part of Head Coach Jon
Gruden’s staff. The Buccaneers’ offense finished the season amassing 5,456
total yards, the highest total in team history, while scoring 361 points, the
second-highest total in team annals. Under Olson’s tutelage, QB Jeff Garcia
tied for second in the NFL for fewest interceptions (six), was ninth in the league
and third in the NFC in completion percentage (64.9) and ninth in the NFL and
fifth in the NFC in quarterback rating (90.2).
Prior to joining Tampa Bay, Olson spent two seasons (2006-07) as offensive
coordinator for the St. Louis Rams. In his first year with the Rams in 2006,
he helped guide a high-powered offense that ranked sixth in the NFL in total
offense (360.4 yards per game) and a passing offense that ranked third
(247.6) in the NFC. Under Olson’s direction, the 2006 Rams became just the
fourth team in NFL history to produce a 4,000-yard passer (QB Marc Bulger),
a 1,500-yard rusher (RB Steven Jackson) and two 1,000-yard receivers (WRs
Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce). Bulger, Jackson and Holt were all selected to the
Prior to his time with the Rams, Olson spent one season as quarterbacks
coach (2004) and one season as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach
(2005) for the Detroit Lions. In 2004, Olson took over play-calling duties for
the Lions with three games remaining in the season and the Lions offense went
on to average 403.6 total yards per game. In 2005, Olson was named offensive
coordinator of the Lions in Week 11.
Olson entered the NFL as quarterbacks coach for the San Francisco 49ers
in 2001 under head coach Steve Mariucci. In 2001, Garcia threw for a careerhigh
32 touchdown passes while posting a career-best 94.8 passer rating and
62.7 completion percentage.
Following one season as tight ends/recruiting coordinator at Purdue, Olson
spent one season as quarterbacks coach for the Chicago Bears in 2003.
From 1997-2000, as quarterbacks coach at Purdue, Olson played a key
role in the development of future Pro Bowl and Super Bowl-winning QB Drew
Brees. Under Olson, Brees was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 1999 and 2000
while winning the Maxwell Award as the nation’s most outstanding player in
2000. He was also a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s top
quarterback in 1999 and 2000. Brees finished his collegiate career as the
Big Ten and Purdue’s all-time leader in passing yardage (11,792), touchdown
passes (90), total yards (12,693), completion percentage (61.1), completions
(1,026) and attempts (1,678). He also ranked fourth in NCAA Division I-A
history for total offense, completions and attempts upon his departure from
Purdue. Brees earned Big Ten Player of Year honors in 1998 and 2000 and
All-Conference accolades for three straight years (1998-2000).
Olson began his coaching career in 1987 as a graduate assistant under
the guidance of head coaches Dennis Erickson (1987-88) and Mike
Price (1989) at Washington State, where he earned his master’s degree in
athletic administration, and published his master’s thesis titled “Developing
Quarterback Skills in a Passing Offense.” He spent four seasons (1990-93) as
an assistant at Central Washington University and two seasons at Idaho (1994-
96). At Central Washington, Olson developed QB Jon Kitna, who went on to
become an NFL starter at Seattle, Cincinnati and Detroit. Olson also served as
wrestling coach for four seasons at Central Washington including the last two
as head coach.
PERSONAL: Native of Richland, Wash. …Played quarterback at Spokane
Falls Junior College (1981-82) and Central Washington (1983-84)…Earned
bachelor’s degree in education from Central Washington...He and his wife,
Lissa, have twins, Kenneth and Grayce (13)…Lissa was the first female to be
named head coach of a Division I track and field men’s track team when she
took over at Purdue in March of 2001.
17th season in NFL
3rd season with Raiders