Greg Olson

Raiders Notes: Gruden, Bennett, Cable

On Friday, the Raiders announced the hiring of Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson as the team’s offensive coordinator. The 31-year NFL veteran coach, and Raiders offensive coordinator from 2013-14, won’t have to worry about calling plays. That duty instead will go to new head coach Jon GrudenBen Volin of the Boston Globe notes.

Gruden, who hasn’t coached in the NFL in nine seasons, has been preparing for the moment he would return to the sidelines for some time. He reportedly spends countless hours studying NFL and college plays and is expected to work closely with Derek Carr and the other Raiders quarterbacks.

Though he spurned advances for a role with Gruden, former quarterback Rich Gannon has full confidence that the former Super Bowl-winning coach won’t skip a beat.

“Jon has a system where he’s really going to count on the quarterback to be a big decision maker. He’s going to have a lot more flexibility and freedom at the line of scrimmage to change protections, to change plays. It’s going to be a fun offense to watch. He’s got a quarterback that can do it. That’s a big reason why he decided to come back.”

From the sounds of it, Carr will have more responsibility than ever before as he hopes to rebound from a disappointing 2017.

Here is more news from Oakland:

  • Gruden interviewed one person for the vacant offensive line coach position and had another meeting set up for Monday but dropped everything once the Seahawks fired Tom Cable, The Athletic’s Vic Tafur reports (Twitter link). After being fired as head coach in Oakland in 2010, Cable moved to Seattle and served as offensive line coach for seven seasons. Under his direction, Seattle established itself as one of the best running teams in NFL. His return could reunite him with Marshawn Lynch, should the Raiders retain the veteran back.
  • The Raiders continued to clean house on former head coach Jack Del Rio‘s staff, reports ESPN’s Adam Caplan (Twitter link). Among the expected departures are cornerbacks coach Rod Woodson, running backs coach Bernie Parmalee, assistant special teams coach Tracy Smith, wide receivers coach Rob Moore and safeties coach Brett Vieselmeyer.
  • Former Packers offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett didn’t have to wait long to find a new gig. He will be joining the Raiders as the team’s new receivers coach, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports (Twitter link). A former Packers running back, Bennett has spent 23 of his 25 seasons in the league as a player and coach in Green Bay.

Coaching Rumors: Chiefs, Packers, Bengals

The Chiefs could promote running backs coach Eric Bieniemy to offensive coordinator, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com hears (on Twitter). Rapoport adds that he has “the inside track.” The vacancy opened up this weekend when Matt Nagy agreed to become the next head coach of the Bears.

Here’s the latest coaching news from around the NFL:

  • Packers secondary coach Darren Perry interviewed for the team’s defensive coordinator position on Monday, according to Alex Marvez of The Sporting News (on Twitter). The interview was originally scheduled for Saturday, but was delayed due to the team’s front office reorganization.
  • Contrary to a previous report, former Bengals offensive coordinator Ken Zampese was not interviewed by the Browns on Monday, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com tweets. When he does interview with the team, it will be for an offensive assistant job and not necessarily for the OC position.
  • The Raiders will officially ink contracts with offensive coordinator Greg Olson and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther before the big Jon Gruden press conference, sources tell Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).
  • The Bengals announced the signing of Bob Bicknell as the team’s new wide receivers coach. Bicknell, who has 25 years of professional and collegiate coaching experience, was Baylor University’s WRs coach in 2017. Meanwhile, defensive line coach Jacob Burney has been retained with a new two-year contract extension (Twitter link via Alex Marvez of The Sporting News).

Raiders To Name Jon Gruden As Their Head Coach On Tuesday

The worst kept secret in football is about to go public. The Raiders will name Jon Gruden as their head coach in a press conference on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The news was first reported by author Steve Corkran (Twitter link). Jon Gruden (vertical)

Recently, Gruden admitted there is a “good chance” that he’ll become the next coach of the Raiders. However, he denied reports indicating that he will wind up with a piece of team ownership as part of the deal. Even without minority ownership, this is a colossal deal for Gruden. It’s a ten-year contract likely to be worth about $100MM, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

The sum of Gruden’s contract is jaw-dropping, but he provides a great deal of value to the Raiders outside of football. His presence will keep the fanbase in Oakland engaged for the next two years before the move to Las Vegas. Once they arrive in Nevada, Gruden’s popularity could boost ticket sales and the value of local media rights packages.

From a football perspective, Gruden offers familiarity with team ownership and a winning pedigree. It’s also an opportunity for the Raiders to rewrite history. Under Gruden, the Raiders reached the playoffs twice, ascending to the AFC Championship game in the 2000 season before their heartbreaking loss to the Patriots in the following year. In 2002, the Raiders traded Gruden to the Buccaneers for a whopping package that included two first-round picks, two second-round picks, and $8MM in cash. That season, of course, gave us the Gruden Bowl. Gruden’s Bucs blew the doors off of the Raiders and won by a score of 48-21.

One can’t help but wonder how the late Al Davis would feel about all of this. The Raiders owner always had a pension for defying popular thought, but his reluctance to dole out exorbitant salaries to coaches is what led to Gruden’s departure in the first place. Fifteen years later, Gruden is back in Oakland with a record-breaking contract.

Unlike the Cardinals, Bears, Lions, Colts, and Giants, the Raiders did not cast a wide net in their coaching search. This week, the team interviewed incumbent tight ends coach Bobby Johnson and met with one other unknown candidate to fulfill the Rooney Rule. With that obligation out of the way, the Raiders are set to announce the signing of the only coach they were ever interested in hiring.

Already, Gruden’s staff is taking shape. The Raiders will hire Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson as their offensive coordinator and former Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther as their new DC, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). And, as previously reported, special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia will be moving from Dallas to Oakland.

The deals for each coordinator will be four years in length, giving them two years in Oakland and two years in Las Vegas, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The deals will also be backloaded in order to capitalize on the absence of state income taxes in Nevada, Michael Gehlken of the Journal-Review tweets.

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Coach Rumors: Raiders, Olson, Cards, Fins

If the Raiders (as expected) hire ESPN commentator Jon Gruden as their next head coach, they are expected to lure Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson to be their new offensive coordinator, tweets Alex Marvez of the Sporting News. Marvez reported yesterday that Olson might be a candidate to join Gruden in Oakland, but now it sounds as though an Olson addition will be a foregone conclusion. Olson, 54, has served as the Raiders’ offensive play-caller before (2013-14), and has also been an OC at several other stops, including Detroit, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Jacksonville, but Gruden is expected to run his own offense once he arrives in Oakland.

Here’s more on the 2018 hiring cycle:

  • The Raiders‘ apparent decision to bring in Gruden could have wide-ranging implications for the club’s coaching staff and front office, but general manager Reggie McKenzie is likely to stay in place for at least more season even if Gruden is hired, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. McKenzie, who is signed through the 2021 draft, may be in danger of losing final authority on personnel decisions, but Gruden is unlikely to take on a GM-type role in Oakland, per Florio. However, if the Raiders do hand over free agent and draft control to Gruden, McKenzie might be able to leave on his own, citing a breach of contract.
  • Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak will indeed interview for the vacant Cardinals head coaching position, and the meeting will take place this weekend, reports Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link). Arizona asked for permission to interview Munchak earlier this week, and that request has apparently been granted. Munchak has been a head coach before, as he posted a 22-26 record in three seasons with the Titans. He’s the eighth candidate to be linked to the Cardinals’ search.
  • Former Broncos assistant head coach/running backs Eric Studesville will have to wait for his interview with the Giants, as weather-related concerns have forced the summit to next week, per Dan Duggan of NJ.com (Twitter link). Studesville, who had been employed in Denver since 2010, was fired earlier this week. While he’s never been a head coach, the 50-year-old Studesville did serve as an interim HC during the 2010 campaign.
  • The Dolphins have hired a familiar face as their new offensive line coach, as they’ve agreed to terms with Jeremiah Washburn to take over the job, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Washburn served as an assistant OL coach in Miami in 2016 before accepting a promotion in Chicago. He’ll now replace staffer Dave DeGuglielmo, who was hired to replace Chris Foerster after the latter was caught using drugs on video.
  • Gruden and the Raiders are expected to target Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown for the same role in Oakland, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Brown, 48, is now a coaching free agent, as his contract in Dallas has expired. The Cowboys made several coaching changes earlier this week, but there’s no word as to whether they’ll pursue Brown again.

Coaching Rumors: Cardinals, Bears, Giants

Pat Shurmur will be a busy man this week. The Vikings offensive coordinator has four interviews lined up in the coming days, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com: in addition to his previously reported Thursday meeting with the Lions, Shurmur will interview with the Cardinals (Thursday), Bears (Friday), and Giants (Saturday). Shurmur is currently linked to four vacancies in the NFL, tied with Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks for tops among candidates. Given that Minnesota has secured a first-round playoff bye, Shurmur is free to interview as he chooses this week.

Here’s more from the 2018 hiring cycle:

  • Although Redskins quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell was reportedly UCLA head coach Chip Kelly‘s “top target” to become the Bruins’ offensive coordinator, he won’t be going anywhere just yet. O’Connell has agreed to become Washington’s passing game coordinator, an elevated title that represents a promotion, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. O’Connell, who enjoyed a five-year playing career, has also coached for the Browns and 49ers.
  • The Texans have fired special teams coordinator Larry Izzo, assistant special teams coordinator Doug Colman, and secondary coach John Butler, while running backs coach Charles London is leaving the club of his own volition, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle writes. Izzo’s departure shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially since Houston’s special teams have ranked in the bottom-seven of DVOA in each of Izzo’s two seasons in charge.
  • ESPN analyst Jon Gruden appears set to become the next Raiders head coach, and he’s reportedly been contacting potential staff members for weeks. Two of those coaches may be Rams quarterbacks coach Greg Olson and Bears offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn, per Alex Marvez of the Sporting News (Twitter links). Gruden is also reportedly interested in Jets OC John Morton and Bengals DC Paul Guenther.

Rams To Hire Greg Olson As QBs Coach

Greg Olson seemed like a lock to become the Bills’ next offensive coordinator, but they’re going to have to look elsewhere. Olson is on his way to the Rams to serve as their quarterbacks coach, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).

Greg Olson (Vertical)

In Los Angeles, Olson will reunite with newly minted head coach Sean McVay. The two previously worked together in Tampa Bay and will now exert heavy influence over the development of young signal-caller Jared Goff, the No. 1 pick in last year’s draft. Olson has plenty of experience tutoring quarterbacks as both a position coach and coordinator. He has been part of several staffs, including the Rams’ (2006-07), since his NFL coaching career began in 2001.

Olson was most recently a coordinator in Jacksonville, where QB Blake Bortles hasn’t quite panned out since going third overall in 2014. Thanks in part to that, Olson lost his job with the Jaguars last October.

In rejecting the Bills for the Rams, Olson turned down “much more” money, per Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. Staying in close proximity to his family was a motivating factor, Carucci adds (Twitter links).

When Brad Childress exited the race for the Bills’ O-coordinator role Tuesday, it appeared Olson would land the job. The Bills even hired one of Olson’s previous offensive assistants, running backs coach Kelly Skipper, on Wednesday. But it turns out he’ll serve under someone else in Buffalo. That could be Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, tweets CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. Van Pelt was a longtime backup QB with the Bills and had a stint as their OC in 2009.

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Bills Unlikely To Hire Brad Childress As OC

The Bills’ search for an offensive coordinator is seemingly down to one known candidate. While Greg Olson and Chiefs co-offensive coordinator Brad Childress were the reported front-runners for the job as of Sunday, it now appears the latter is no longer in contention, according to the Buffalo News’ Vic Carucci (Twitter link).

Brad Childress

It’s unclear whether the Bills are honing in on Olson, thereby leading to a lack of interest in Childress, or if Childress declined any overtures from the club. Either way, Olson will interview with Buffalo on Thursday as it seeks a replacement for ex-offensive coordinator and now-Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn.

The Bills’ new sideline leader, Sean McDermott, has already tabbed Leslie Frazier as his defensive coordinator. Now, with Childress and newly minted Broncos assistant Mike McCoy out of the running, Olson looks to be in the lead to serve as McDermott’s offensive chief. Olson last worked as the O-coordinator in Jacksonville, which fired him in October.

Kansas City, meanwhile, now appears poised to keep the tandem of Childress and Matt Nagy intact. Nagy would have been in line to become the Chiefs’ sole offensive coordinator had Childress gone to the Bills. Along with head coach Andy Reid, Childress and Nagy guided KC’s offense to a 13th-place DVOA ranking in 2016.

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Bills To Interview Greg Olson For OC Job

Greg Olson has a chance to land on his feet quickly despite being dismissed from his previous position midway through the season. The Bills are interviewing the former Jaguars OC, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

Buffalo is interviewing Olson for its OC position. A report emerging Sunday pegged Olson and Chiefs co-offensive coordinator Brad Childress as the frontrunners for this job. The 53-year-old assistant is gunning for his sixth OC job after having worked with the Lions, Rams, Buccaneers, Raiders and Jaguars since 2004. After hiring Leslie Frazier to run his defense, Sean McDermott looks to be making a concerted effort to surround himself with experience at the coordinator spots.

The Jags fired Olson this season, which comprised the second year of his second stint with the team, after the offense sputtered compared to its 2015 performance. At the time of Olson’s dismissal, the team ranked 28th in passing DVOA. Jacksonville finished 3-13 in one of the more disappointing seasons in franchise history, but the coaches in charge have either been hired or retained as coordinators or are deep in the running for such a position.

Gus Bradley is the priority candidate to latch on with the Chargers as DC, and the Jaguars retained both DC Todd Wash and OC Nathaniel Hackett, whom they promoted to fill Olson’s position. Mike McCoy previously resided as the Bills’ frontrunner here, but the Broncos hired him back as OC, inducing a more expansive search.

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Brad Childress, Greg Olson Are Bills’ Top OC Candidates

As new Bills head coach Sean McDermott continues to flesh out his staff, several names have emerged as top candidates for Buffalo’s offensive coordinator position. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, Chiefs co-offensive coordinator Brad Childress is on McDermott’s short list, as is former Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson.

Brad Childress

Childress, who began his coaching career back in 1978 at the University of Illinois, served as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator from 2003 to 2005 before becoming head coach of the Vikings. He returned to an offensive coordinator role for the Browns in 2012, and he has been a part of Kansas City’s staff since 2013. He was promoted to the co-offensive coordinator position earlier this year, along with Matt Nagy, although he was apparently prepared to retire prior to the promotion (he was also a candidate to reprise his role as Philadelphia’s OC after Doug Pederson was named the Eagles’ new head coach last year).

If Childress does depart, Rapoport tweets that Nagy would become the Chiefs’ full-time OC.

Olson served as the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator from 2015 through the first part of 2016 before he was fired in late October. At the time of Olson’s dismissal, Jacksonville’s passing game ranked 28th in DVOA and third-year quarterback Blake Bortles was showing signs of regression. Olson, though, has acted as play-caller for a number of NFL teams, including the Lions, Rams, Buccaneers, and Raiders.

We had previously heard that McDermott was targeting Mike McCoy or Norv Turner as the Bills’ next OC, but McCoy was just hired by the Broncos. It appears the young, first-time head coach is determined to surround himself with assistants that have considerable coaching experience, as evidenced by his offensive coordinator candidates and by the fact that he has already hired Leslie Frazier as his defensive coordinator.

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Jaguars Fire OC Greg Olson

The Jaguars have made a coaching change after all. The club has fired offensive coordinator Greg Olson, according to Adam Schefter and and Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Quarterbacks coach Nathaniel Hackett will take over as Jacksonville’s play-caller, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.Greg Olson (Vertical)

[RELATED: Jacksonville Jaguars Depth Chart]

After Jacksonville lost in an emphatic fashion to the division rival Titans on Thursday night, owner Shad Kahn expressed his displeasure with the club’s performance but did not make a move to relieve head coach Gus Bradley, whom recent reports have indicated is safe through the 2016 campaign. Bradley, too, publicly supported his coaching staff, but did not specifically endorse any individual coach following the loss.

Indeed, Bradley has experienced a “disconnect” with Olson for some time, per Rapoport (Twitter link), who adds that Bradley felt the offensive coordinator had abandoned an emphasis on the rushing attack. The Jaguars currently rank 31st in the NFL with only 72.6 rushing yards per game, and place 29th in Football Outsiders’ rushing DVOA.

Jacksonville’s passing game hasn’t been especially effective either, ranking 28th in DVOA as quarterback Blake Bortles has seemingly regressed in his third NFL season. Through seven games, Bortles has only completed 60% of his passes while posting 12 interceptions and nine touchdowns. And Bortles’ statistics don’t paint the entire picture, as Thursday night’s game was evidence that he can pad his numbers late in losing efforts.

Of course, the man taking over for Olson was previously Bortles’ position coach, so it’s fair to wonder if the young signal-caller will be able to improve over the second half of the season. Hackett, 36, has previously served as the offensive coordinator for both the Bills and Syracuse, but has been with the Jaguars since 2015. According to Caplan (Twitter link), Hackett will likely aim to help Bortles to release the ball in a quicker fashion in an effort to stave off opposing pass rushers.

Olson, 53, had been in his second stint with Jacksonville, having served as the team’s assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach during the 2012 campaign. He’s acted as play-caller for a number of NFL teams, including the Lions, Rams, Buccaneers, and Raiders.

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