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News

Olson Talks Steelers, Run Game, More

Posted Oct 24, 2013

Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson spoke to the media after Thursday's practice as the Raiders prepare for the Steelers.

Did you get a chance to watch some film over the first six games and work some things out?

Coach Olson: I think it’s more about identifying what we do well and what we don’t do well. We identified ourselves first and tried to make sure have people in the right places doing the right things.

Q: Dennis Allen had talked a couple of times about improving your core runs. Do you think that’s been getting better over the course of the season?

Coach Olson: Just because of the flux that we’ve had in the offensive line, one run that might be good one week might not be good the next week based upon who we have playing. A lot of it is based on the lack of continuity that we have going on up front. Again, having the week off, we had a chance to identify the people that we believe will be playing going forward and what runs will fit those people as we do move forward.

Q: What are your impressions of the Steelers defense and how have they improved the last couple of weeks?

Coach Olson: They’re very well-coached. They’ve had continuity there, personnel-wise. They’re a solid group. I said it last week, we thought we were playing the top front-seven group that we had faced this season and there is not much difference really, in our opinion as a staff, watching these guys and how they play up front and at the linebacker position. Coupled with the scheme that [Steelers defensive coordinator] Dick LeBeau runs, they’re a difficult team to prepare for. A solid group of players.

Q: What typifies a Dick LeBeau defense?

Coach Olson: I think it’s difficult to focus in on defensive tendencies. I think he has a specific game plan in every game. As you go through and watch how he plans against different teams, it’s hard to get a beat on exactly what he’s trying to get accomplished. We go back and try to find who the athletic-type quarterbacks are that he’s gone against. You don’t see a lot of those. There aren’t a lot of those in their division. It’s kind of more of the non-scripted looks. There are some signature things that they do, much like our defense does in a blitz package. It’s identifying some of those big guys walking around, identifying the patterns that they come in, and that’s going to be the biggest key for us right now. They’re a really good third-down defense. Last week, the Chiefs were and this week third-and-7 or longer is going to be really difficult. They’re number one in the National Football League in that area. We’ll try to stay manageable on third downs and when we do get in those situations, we’ve got to be great with our communication. He’s very unpredictable.

Q: They’ve, for a long time, had the reputation of exposing your weak spots. Do you try to out-think him?

Coach Olson: A lot of times we say, let’s focus on we do well. That’s what I always say to our players. What do we do well? Let’s get better at what we do well. But, at the same time, in the back of your mind you know that he’s watching the film as well. He knows what we may struggle with. You have to be prepared for how to sure up that part of your offensive scheme. Usually you know by the end of those first couple of series … You have an idea of what plan he’s coming from. Every game unfolds differently and we’ll see how this one unfolds on Sunday.

Q: You guys have talked a lot about staying on schedule the past couple of weeks. When you face a team that’s so good on third-and-long is that even more important? Do you guys feel like you need to improve on first and second down?

Coach Olson: Well that’s what is so critical. We have to be able to run the football, we always talk about that. Staying on schedule is, again, staying out of the third-and-long situations or staying out of third downs completely; first down, second down, first down. We’d love to be able to go down on the drive and not have a third down. That’s what we talk about but it doesn’t always work out that way, it never does. You’ve never had a game that didn’t have a third down involved in it, so we’re just trying to minimize the third and long situations.

Q: You mentioned how you focus on what you guys do well. What have you done well this season? What’s the thing that stands out to you as far as what you’ve done with the ball so far?

Coach Olson: I think right now, adapting to our quarterback run package, I think is difficult to defend. What we’ve done with Terrelle Pryor, I think that’s been good to us. I think our gap scheme at times has been good in what we’re doing. Actually, it’s probably the best of what we’re doing in terms of the run game. We like what we’re doing there, we just have to become more consistent.

Q: With a guy like [LaMarr] Woodley, what kind of specific challenges is he going to pose your tackles?

Coach Olson: Well, he possesses good size and quickness for a man of his size, that’s the biggest thing, we have to be able to handle the quickness of their front guys but Woodley in particular is very quick for the size of player that he is.

Q: Does he move around a lot or will he come mostly on [Matt] McCants’ side?

Coach Olson: He’ll move around. He moves around off the edge and he’s done a good job. He’s had some matchups against running backs and we’ll try to minimize those matchups but he’s a good player.

Q: How much of a boost does potentially having ‘Wiz’ [Stefen Wisniewski] back at center give you?

Coach Olson: It’s huge. It’s hard to describe. To me, he’s such an important part of what’s going on up front and making sure everybody’s in the right place. Again, [Andre] Gurode came into a difficult situation after not being here through the OTA’s and whatnot, but ‘Wiz’ is just an experienced guy and he’s very comfortable in the scheme that we brought in and what [assistant head coach/offensive line coach] Tony [Sparano] is trying to do in terms of the offensive line calls and he’s a calming factor to me, for everybody up front and really for the quarterback as well.

Q: How are your tight ends doing so far this year?

Coach Olson: They’re still progressing. [Jeron] Mastrud is what we thought he would be a good journeyman all around guy that allows us to be able to run the football and our young players are still progressing.

Q: Jacoby Ford is a guy that’s been hurt quite a bit, but this season how is he fitting in? Has he become kind of an accent piece that you can use?

Coach Olson: He hasn’t been healthy. About three weeks ago I just felt like I started to see the explosive Jacoby that maybe some of you had seen, so we’re continuing on trying to keep him involved in certain packages.

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