I’ve been calling Greg Olson a step forward for the Jaguars and, quite frankly, almost anything would be a step forward from the work that Jedd Fisch put in at that coaching spot over the past two seasons. Fisch had a rough go of it, having to deal with Blaine Gabbert, an underperforming Chad Henne, and a rookie in Blake Bortles, but he didn’t produce and had more than a few off play calls over his two years at the helm.
But is he a step in the right direction?
Dating back to 2005, Olson has had eight seasons under his belt as offensive coordinator for four franchises. Nobody held onto him for more than three years. He hasn’t been a game-changing offensive mastermind and he hasn’t been overly innovative with the teams he has worked with. His offenses rarely rank in the top 20 in yardage production (twice, 2006 and 2010) and rarely rank above 20th in points scored (once, 2006). He fields fledgling offenses that aren’t incredibly successful.
In Olson’s defense, he has entered some pretty poor situations. The 2005 Lions were coming off a 6-10 year in 2004, the 2006 Rams were coming off a 6-10 year in 2005, and the 2013 Oakland Raiders had just finished 4-12 the year prior. The only team that got worse in Olson’s first year as offensive coordinator were the 9-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who regressed to 3-13 under a new head coach and rookie quarterback.
Slight progress on terrible teams isn’t exactly a resounding endorsement for his future with the Jaguars. He isn’t going to magically take the league’s 31st offense and turn it into a top 10 squad. I’m not even certain that Olson is able to turn any offense into a top 10 squad.
So, what can we expect?
Right now I think it is pretty clear that Olson is an upgrade over Fisch. He brings much needed NFL experience and he has a general record of improving depressingly poor offenses. Yet he doesn’t seem like the long term answer. He may be able to help the Jaguars make some strides, but Olson doesn’t have a body of work that suggests the Jaguars will become a juggernaut under him.
I wish that I am wrong, but right now I’m just not seeing it.