The Jacksonville Jaguars have undergone massive changes over the last 4 seasons – an ownership change, a new general manager and head coach, and an almost entirely new roster. The franchise is finally starting to maintain some stability in their third season with David Caldwell and Gus Bradley, but they did decide to shake things up in one big way last offseason when they fired offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and hired Greg Olson to take over the offense.
Originally, there were fears about quarterback Blake Bortles having to learn a second offensive scheme in as many years, especially given the troubles he had as rookie.
Olson’s impact on this team is evident and we’ve noticed, but now some national analysts are starting to point out the amazing work Olson has done. Mike Sando over at ESPN recently did a piece on the best offseason moves (ESPN Insider required), and he has Olson penned as the best offensive coaching move:
"Best offensive system change: Jacksonville JaguarsThe Jaguars were fortunate in getting a second chance to name Greg Olson their offensive coordinator after oddly passing over him two years ago. Blake Bortlesfloundered as a rookie in 2014 as issues relating to personnel and philosophy led the team to ask very little from him. Olson has more talent to work with than his predecessor enjoyed, but the shift to a downfield passing game has also unleashed Bortles, providing evidence the Jaguars’ biggest bet was a wise one.Bortles’ Total QBR has jumped from 25.2 in 2014 (last out of 33 qualifiers) to 59.4 this season (18th overall). And he has gone from 32nd to third in average pass distance, an indication the Jaguars are bullish on him, not protecting him. That’s why the Jaguars get the edge over the Falcons, the Jets and other teams benefiting from offensive scheme changes."
While Olson has done a good job at playing to the strengths of his personnel, some of the credit for the improvement on offense has to go to the development of the young players. The Jaguars appear to have a legitimate trio of talented and productive players in Bortles, Allen Robinson, and Allen Hurns.
Rookie running back T.J. Yeldon has also provided a steady and consistent presence in the backfield, something the Jaguars have failed to address successfully since the departure of Maurice Jones-Drew.
There are a lot of questions about the coaching this year, but Olson is one of the few guys who shouldn’t be under fire.