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Olson: "Simplifying things may have helped"


Q: The question from fans is what took so long for the offense to open up? **

Olson:"I don't think I've waited. I just think that was the way the game played out. I think there's more of a comfort level right now with the guys in the huddle and the guys that have been in the huddle. I think the bye week gave us a chance to go back and evaluate where we were at and what we did well and don't do well. I think simplifying things may have helped. I think our young quarterback, more than anything, as I've said from the get-go, he seems to have gotten more and more comfortable every week in what he's doing and what his responsibilities are. All of those things play into it. We've got to become consistent. Did some good things last week, but it's a new week this week so we've got to see if we can get better every week and raise our standards every week."

Q: Andre Holmes has put back-to-back productive games together. How can he stay consistent as a receiver?

Olson:"Other than experience, I think every year they get older, they catch more balls, they have more time throughout their career that they become more comfortable at catching the football. He's more comfortable at the position that he's playing. He's played X for us now for two straight years and it's his second year in the system. He has made a lot of explosive plays since he's been here for us and hopefully he'll continue to do that. He works very hard and playing the position and there's no lack of effort in terms of the amount of balls he catches on the jugs machine or that he catches from the quarterback. It's just hard work on his part and hopefully that will eliminate some of those drops."

Q: The explosive play that Brice Butler had for a touchdown, was that drawn up? Where he outruns the whole defense?

Olson:(laughing) "Yeah, we've got a bunch of those. I've just been holding them in my pocket. No, it was good to see. I was happy for Brice. He's another guy that we had a chance to get him on the field for more opportunities. He did show great quickness getting out of the break and then the speed to run away from people on that particular play. That was good to see."

Q: How much juice does it give the offense when Darren McFadden is breaking free like he did?

Olson:"Everybody looked fresher to me. Darren looked fast, the wide receivers looked fast. Having a healthy Darren McFadden will be key to us being able to move forward and hopefully be able to continue to move the football on a consistent basis. When Darren is healthy, he can run and he is fast. We have to do what we can to keep him healthy and keep him going. We need to find more explosive players to create more of those explosive plays."

Q: He's been pretty healthy this year and he's been running hard, but without the payoff. Do you notice any difference in him when he is getting the payoff and when he's not?

Olson:"I haven't' really so far this season. This is kind of the first time that I've had a chance to really see him healthy and playing. I think they'll come, I really do. I believe that the more opportunities you get, hopefully one of them is going to result in explosive runs for him. He's another guy that's been here a long time. After last year and the previous years, he's had health issues. Last year he had Rashad Jennings in front of him and now we've brought in Maurice Jones-Drew, who has had some injuries, so Darren got pushed back into that starter's role. You would like to see him stay there."

Q: Menelik Watson started the game last week and played well. What has been your impression of him?

Olson:"I think he's one of our good, young players. One of our core players. I think right now there is a good core group of players, Menelik Watson being one of them, Mychal Rivera, Derek Carr. There are some guys there that we can build with. We always look at the end of the week or after the game, where are our young players? How do we feel about our young core players? He's a guy right now that we've felt pretty good about."

Q: Rivera has had a few drops, he's had a fumble in the one game, did you think you'd have more out of him by now? He seems like a guy that's pretty hard on himself when he doesn't do well.

Olson:"I completely agree with that and I think Mike would agree with that, too. He expects more, we expect more of him. He's got to do a better job of doing the things that are expected of him. Same thing for us, to have any type of success, he's got to be that player that we thought he was developing into and that we believe he will develop into. He's got to be more consistent in both of those areas, in securing the football and catching the football."

Q: You guys had efficient plays, the four-yard games, chipping away on 2nd-and-10. Can you talk about how much of an impact that has if you are able to sustain it?

Olson:"It's critical. It was our best game in terms of our third-down conversions, but it was also our best game in terms of our first-down efficiency, so they go hand in hand. To be honest with you, again, those are the things that we studied and in that offseason, we're just trying to kind of build it around – you've always got to be aware of your quarterback and what does Derek Carr do best and what can we do to make sure that he's developing, and in terms of his development, how it's going to help the rest of the offense develop. So we looked at a lot of different things that Derek's comfortable with, whether it be gun runs or gun passes or quick game, deep-vertical game – what are the concepts that he's very comfortable with. I think that tied into it as well, a little bit. We were efficient with our nickel runs. We were efficient with our heavy runs. It was a good mix there for us."

Q: Is there one throw from Derek that, for you, in that game that really stood out on film?

Olson:"I think that first third down, really, on the takeoff there to Holmes, Andre – the very first one there, it was a double move. It's not an easy throw to make, but he's pacing, he stepped up in the pocket and he put it right in stride for him. For me, that was probably the most impressive one of the day."

Q: On some short passes, some easy catches that were dropped early, does he maybe need to take a little bit off of his fastball? It seems like whether it's from me to you or 60 yards, he throws it hard.

Olson:"He shows pretty good touch, to be honest with you. He's done that on a couple of those quick screens. We encourage him, 'You've got to get the ball out quickly.' It certainly doesn't do us any good if the ball gets out quickly and it's not accurate. He's been pretty accurate with those throws, so I think they're aware of that on some of those what we call our slipper screens – the ones at the line of scrimmage – they've always got to be aware of one, how close the receiver is and two, who is the receiver that we're throwing it to. Is it a running back? Is it a tight end? Is it a wide receiver? You've got to kind of judge your velocity based upon not only how close they are, but who that person is that you're throwing to."

Q: With pass protection, has it been better than you anticipated coming into this season? Olson:"It's been where we're at. I think that they've done a good job – everyone, I think. We spent a lot of time at it. We spend a lot of time in studying opponents' pressure and blitz packages. I think there's a lot of pride in that room as an offense. We spend every Friday as a group at the end of the week reviewing everything that we've seen and everything that we've learned during the week about pressure packages. So there's a lot of pride involved in that, but really, it's everybody together: running backs, offensive line, the quarterback getting the ball out, wide receivers knowing when to break off the route and sight adjust or look hot. I think everyone's involved in that and it's encouraging. I think that's one of the encouraging things that we've seen and it's really encouraging when you have a young quarterback that it's been like that. So I would say that we expected it as a coaching staff. I think Tony as the O-line coach, he expected that going into the season. He also made it readily apparent to those guys, when you've got a rookie quarterback now, a lot of it falls on us up front. I think they as well kind of took that as a challenge and they've done a good job with that."

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