Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson is known as a quarterback specialist, since he possesses over a decade of experience coaching that position. He worked with Drew Brees both at Purdue and in the NFL, where he also coached quarterbacks including Jeff Garcia, Jon Kitna, Marc Bulger and Josh Freeman.
Last season, Olson was stuck with perhaps the worst group of quarterbacks in the league in Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin. Clearly the results reflected the talent at quarterback, but Olson managed to get more out of both Pryor and McGloin than most thought was possible before the season started.
Only McGloin survived the offseason, and now he’s part of a group of quarterbacks Olson recently called “probably the most intelligent group I’ve ever had.” Olson spoke highly of the atmosphere in the quarterback room, where everyone feels comfortable to contribute and bounce ideas off of each other. Considering Matt Schaub and Derek Carr are both new to the team and learning the playbook from scratch, it’s a great sign that the quarterback room is so lively.
Much of the training camp focus has been on the quarterback position, as is usually the case when a team is almost guaranteed to begin the season with a new starter. There have been ups and downs, but most of the reports coming out of training camp have been positive.
However, most of those reports have been based on what the beat writers are seeing at practice. Olson’s comment provides one of the first glimpses into what’s happening behind closed doors, as well as an interesting comparison to the signal-callers who departed. If Olson’s assessment of the quarterback room is accurate, the Raiders appear to be in a good place as far as the locker room goes. Now comes the interesting (and highly difficult) part, transferring that brainpower into on-field success.