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News

Olson Discusses Schaub, O-Line and More

Posted Aug 26, 2014

Offensive coordinator Greg Olson spoke to the media after Tuesday's practice as the Raiders get ready to host the Seattle Seahawks.

Q: Has Matt Schaub’s elbow been something that’s been lingering, something you noticed a while back?

Coach Olson: “It really came to my attention here after the game. He had mentioned to ‘Flip’ [quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo], I guess, previously that it just felt tired is all. So he actually had given him some individual time off in Napa, you know? But apparently it had been lingering a little bit and flared up or what have you in the game. So just decided we take some precautionary measures and let him rest it here.”

Q: So is it probably a product of camp, like a pitcher going through …

Coach Olson: “I don’t know. I’m not a doctor, but I’d like to believe that was probably it, you know? I think that’s been common throughout football really – college football, professional football – is that two-a-day practices and getting through that. So you try and manage that as best you can and you’re hopeful that the player is honest in his evaluation or on where he’s at in terms of when it gets tired or gets sore. I think, you know, he mentioned it, we gave him some time off, he felt like it was getting better, but then it flared up I guess throughout the game.”

Q: Dennis Allen said on Saturday when he was asked about the passing game that it’s not about just one thing, but multiple things you have to put together. Now you’ve lost three days of practice with Schaub out there, so what impact does that have?

Coach Olson: “Yeah, it hurts anytime you’re missing anybody. We missed Denarius Moore the other day with some soreness within his neck. James Jones has missed some time. It never helps, certainly, but I think we’re realists here and we know that we’ve got a lot of work to get done. We’ve got a short time to get ready for the opener. I think you can be pessimistic about it and feel like the sky is falling, but the reality is right now we’ve still got 10 days before the opener. We’re going to get some guys healed up. It is what it is. We’ll continue to practice and it’s going to benefit both Derek Carr and Matt McGloin. They’ll get some reps that they normally wouldn’t get, so we get a chance to develop our young players. Really, we’re still 10 days away and he’s going to get some – with this rest, he should have time to get plenty of reps for the New York Jets.”

Q: What have you seen from Derek Carr working with the first team this week?

Coach Olson: “Again, I think he’s just comfortable. I’ve said it from Day 1, the guy’s comfortable in the huddle. The game’s not too big for him. I still believe that he sees the field very well. I don’t think the game’s too fast for him, which a lot of times, that’s a big concern with a rookie quarterback. But he’s done some really nice things in some of the preseason games in terms of his pocket presence. I still think there’s still a comfort level and I think you see it from Matt McGloin, being in the offense the second season. He’s very comfortable. The tempo, all of that, is good – the decision making. It’s just a comfort level for a guy after he’s had a chance to be in a system. Both of these guys – both Derek and Matt [Schaub] – it’s like learning a new language as any coach will tell you. Any time you’re switching systems, you’re learning a new language. There are sometimes growing pains. Some guys pick it up faster than others, but they’ve done a good job and they’ll get better. But I just think with Derek, just his comfort level right now has been encouraging.”

Q: The drops are easy to see, but is there anything else that troubles you about the passing game from the receiving end in terms of creating separation or route running?

Coach Olson: “I think just finding a rhythm right now, for us. Again, as an offense overall, the execution, again, you always try to string plays together. Right now, it’s been too inconsistent. Again, it’s not just drops. We may have a drop on one play. We may have a missed assignment or a penalty. We’ve just got to become more consistent as an offense.”

Q: Brice Butler was describing his rookie season and said that at some point he just hit a physical and mental wall. Did you see that happen to him last year and what have you seen from him in the offseason until now?

Coach Olson: “Yeah, I think so. And again, it is relatively common. Some hit it, some don’t. Some guys continue – they come in as rookies and they start at a high level, they play at a high level and they’re able to maintain that throughout the season. And a lot of that’s when they’re playing, but at times when you move down the depth chart, it’s hard to maintain that focus for a rookie player that comes in out of college and is used to playing all the time. That was part of it. I think most teams that I’ve been on since I’ve been in the league, you’re always going to experience some leg fatigue later in the season or the rookie players kind of get that first feeling of playing a 20-game schedule. So that’s pretty common. Also, the mental fatigue for a lot of those kids that are coming in and playing in the National Football League for the first time, you’ve got to have a great commitment and great passion to play the game at this level and that’s what kind of weeds guys out at times. We’ve been happy right now with where Brice is at. He’s done some very good things. He did some good things in the offseason in our offseason program. He’s done some good things and he’s competing out here in a pretty deep competition at wide receiver.”

Q: How will the personnel changes on the offensive line affect the running game?

Coach Olson: “Well, we think, again – we beefed up, I should say. We got an Austin Howard and Gabe Jackson. Those are two players that we’ve added. Donald Penn was the third guy at our left tackle. I think we’re bigger up front. You never know if we’re going to be better – time will tell. But they’re veteran players that have played in a lot of games. That’s encouraging to me right now. They’ve been able to play together throughout training camp. That’s been very encouraging, the fact that they’ve stayed healthy. And again, it’s a new system for them, too. They’re all learning new calls and different ways, terminology that [assistant head coach/offensive line] Tony [Sparano]’s calling things in the run game. There’s been a little bit of a learning curve there, too, but I think they’re a solid, good-sized offensive line that works well together right now and that should aid us in the running battle.  As long as we can keep those guys healthy in the backfield, I think we’ve got a chance to be pretty good at running the football.”

Q: Now that you’ve been around Maurice Jones-Drew for a while – we’ve seen these big runs and he seems to be leaner – what are your impressions and expectations for him?

Coach Olson: “He looks, as we’ve said from Day 1, he’s in shape. Hopefully that will carry over to a more productive season for him. To me, I still see the speed that he’s carried. He’s never been a – what do you call it – a bullet, you know? But that guy is a real – we saw last week, his ability to run through arm tackles. He still possesses great power. The main key with both of those guys is to make sure they’re healthy and fresh on Sundays.”

Q: How has Austin Howard been adjusting to the guard position?

Coach Olson: “I think he gets better every week. I think there’s a big transition, but he’s been getting better every week and that’s a plus.”