One of the biggest storylines this week heading into the Jaguars matchup with the Oakland Raiders is the disappointing offense. Much of the talk already has been that this is a week the Jaguars could get back on track with that side of the football, as the Raiders have one of, if not the worst, defenses in the league. Another caveat that could help decide this outcome will be Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
Prior to coming to Jacksonville last season, Olson spent two years in Oakland, with his last season coming with Derek Carr under center. Olson was let go after that season, and found his way to Jacksonville, replacing the departed Jedd Fisch. As most people know, Olson coached a Jaguars offensive squad last season that was highly explosive, but wildly inconsistent. Still, the offense managed to put up big numbers, and even broke a few team records along the way. This season has started off differently though, with the offense having long stretches of not being able to do anything at all.
The question this week, besides if the offense can get back on track, is what affect will Greg Olson specifically have on this game? Since he spent a year with Derek Carr as his quarterback, he should know the young signal-caller pretty well. Will he be able to give defensive coordinator Todd Wash and the rest of the defense a few pointers on Carr? Probably, but I’m not sure that it will be anything significant, or at least not enough to greatly alter the game.
The biggest factor Olson will have on this game is coming up with a game plan to take advantage of this struggling Raiders defense. Much of the talk this week has been about the Jaguars using more up-tempo, no-huddle kind of stuff, and it sounds like we might see that on Sunday. Whatever they decide to go with, it better work and work well, or Olson could be on the hot seat in two weeks. If the offense can’t get going this week, or next week against a solid Titans defense on national television, Olson could find himself once again out of a job. Since the Jags play on Thursday night that week, they have a ‘mini-bye’ afterwards, a time that is popular for coaches being fired.
This isn’t to say that all of the blame falls on Olson, because it doesn’t. The players have to execute better if they want to take that next step. That means cutting down on penalties, not dropping passes, being more accurate, holding on to blocks longer in the run game, etc.. Ultimately though, the coach is usually the one who takes the fall, so if Olson doesn’t want to be in hot water, he needs to have his unit ready to go against a poor defense.
And if Olson can’t find a way to get his offense to make a positive impact on this game, he could very well soon be in the same spot he was when he left Oakland: jobless.