Aug 8, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson looks at images from the game with the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium. Vikings win 10-6. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
3) Bringing in Greg Olson as Offensive Coordinator
The Jacksonville Jaguars made some big moves along the coaching front for the offense after the 2014 season. Jedd Fisch was sent packing after failing to translate his collegiate work to a successful NFL format and in return the Jaguars brought in three offensive minds. Former Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone left the New York and is the offensive line coach and assistant head coach, quarterback guru and former offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is heading up the QB group for the Jags, and Greg Olson was poached away from the Oakland Raiders to be the offensive coordinator.
That’s an awful lot of experience for a young offense in Jacksonville. Olson, however, has the final say on what goes down and while he’s known more for quarterback development, his arrival to Jacksonville is a good thing for T.J. Yeldon.
Balance is critical for offenses in the NFL. Sometimes a team like the Green Bay Packers or New Orleans Saints can get away with not having anybody running the ball, but guys like Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are the exception, not the rule. Last season the Jaguars were forced to pass more and more because they fell behind often and couldn’t rely on the running game to eat up yards and time.
Greg Olson had a similar problem in Oakland last season. The Raiders were forced to pass the ball far too often due to a poor running back group and falling behind often. They attempted the least number of rushes in 2014.
Don’t let that be indicative of how Olson approaches the game, however. While he has focused on the passing attack, he hasn’t been shy about getting top runners the ball. In his past four seasons as an offensive coordinator you can see fluctuations in how often the running backs get the ball. In 2010 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his offense ran the ball 13th most in the NFL. In 2013 with the Raiders it was 16th. The 2010 Bucs featured 1000 yard rusher LaGarrette Blount and Olson got a surprising 733 yards out of Rashad Jennings with the 2013 Raiders. Both of those runners averaged over 4.5 yards per carry. Last year Darren McFadden averaged just above three yards per carry for Olson and the Raiders.
The message is clear: if you can prove successful running the ball, he’ll keep handing it off. If not, he’ll turn to the passing game.
For T.J. Yeldon, that is a call to action. He’ll be given the opportunity to be the primary ball carrier, he just needs to make sure that he is successful at it. Greg Olson is willing to run the ball if his running back is hot. Yeldon just needs to make sure he can show he’s a hot runner early in the season and consistently throughout the season. Having a competent passing attack should help take some heat off of Yeldon as well.
Next: It isn't All Yeldon, There Will be a Growing Team Around Him