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RonDiazlol

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: August 08, 2010, 12:50:24 PM

By ROY CUMMINGS | The Tampa Tribune

Published: August 8, 2010


TAMPA - If you've ever wondered what it might be like to have three offensive virtuosos like Jon Gruden, Steve Mariucci and Mike Martz design an offense for you, watch the Buccaneers this season.

You just may get an idea.

Bucs offensive coordinator Greg Olson has worked directly under Gruden and Mariucci and studied Martz the way Patton once studied Napoleon. As a result, Olson lists all three as major influences on the offensive scheme he's planned for the Bucs this season.

"My background is primarily West Coast, but I'd like to think I've taken a little bit of something from every one of those guys in putting this together," Olson said. "You'll see a lot of West Coast principles, obviously, but I think I've also learned the value of stretching the field vertically."

Olson realized the importance of throwing deep midway through his climb up the NFL coaching ladder, while he was running the St. Louis Rams offense during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Martz, the architect of the high-powered Rams offense known as the "Greatest Show on Turf," was out of St. Louis by then, but his replacement, Scott Linehan, kept Martz's offense intact and simply asked Olson to run it.

Before that, while serving as the Lions' quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in 2004 and 2005, he learned the value of a ball-control passing attack from Mariucci. Later, during his first season in Tampa, Olson learned the value of pre-snap motion and formation change from Gruden.

Put all those lessons and elements together and you've got the offensive attack Olson plans to use now that he's finally been given a chance to design and run a scheme all his own.

Players see different elements in Olson's offense, a testament, perhaps, to its versatility.

Receiver Reggie Brown calls it "balanced."

Running back Derrick Ward calls it "explosive, yet powerful."

So, which it is? There is no wrong answer.

"It'll have West Coast terminology and we're going to use multiple personnel groupings with a lot of formations and motion, but we're also hoping to be real aggressive," said Olson, who wasn't able to implement his vision last season because he was thrust into the coordinator's role 10 days before the opening game. "We've got a guy here who can stretch the field in (quarterback) Josh (Freeman) and so I want to open it up, too."

That's the Martz in him talking. There's just one problem. Olson doesn't have the kind personnel Martz had, particularly at wide receiver. Martz had speedy veterans. Olson has mostly young receivers, none of whom are considered top-end burners.

Not that any of that will keep Olson from trying to go deep. In an effort to make that vertical element a regular part of Tampa Bay's offense this year, Olson is considering using speedy running back Kareem Huggins as a wideout on some plays.

"That's something we may look to do, because we do want to stretch the field," Olson said. "A vertical element is something I really believe in, and I think that's where the game's headed, so we're hoping to continue to grow ourselves in that direction."

Until they've grown up offensively, though, the Bucs will look to run the ball first and throw mostly short passes second. The reason, Olson said, is simple: That's where their strength lies.

"With the personnel we have now I think we have to run to set up the pass," Olson said. "The O-line, especially with (guard) Keydrick Vincent there, is really a strength of ours now, because he helps us with our depth.

"And if we can run the ball, then we can set up the pass better. I learned that while I was in St. Louis. One of the reasons we were able to go deep and throw the way we did was because people had to respect our run game."

It's hard to know if anyone truly respects the Bucs' running game. It ranked 23rd out of 32 teams last season and, other than Vincent and Huggins, little about that attack will be different.

To protect Freeman, though, the Bucs believe it's vital to run the ball. The running game will serve as the foundation of their attack, but Olson may look to move the ball just as often via short throws.

That's how Mariucci and Gruden taught him to do it, but there's more behind Olson's desire to move the ball with short slant routes and quick digs than those two major influences.

Freeman proved a year ago he can dice up a defense with the short ball. Of the 173 throws he made of 10 yards or less last year, Freeman completed 112 (or 64.7 percent) with just one interception.

His efficiency with the deep ball was nowhere near as impressive. On throws of 11 yards or more, Freeman completed 45 of 115 passes (39.1 percent) and was intercepted 17 times.

"Especially with a younger quarterback, because they're not always sure they can fit some of those deeper throws in because it's such a faster game, it can be hard to be real efficient in the deep game," Olson said.

"That will come as he gets more experience, but he's definitely shown he can hit those short passes well for us, so we'll continue to lean on that and make that a strength of ours as well."

When it comes to an offense, the greatest strength is its versatility. Though it's still in the developmental stages, Olson's offense has plenty. That's why Freeman and others say it's difficult to define.

"I guess it's a derivative of the West Coast offense," Freeman said. "But at the same time I feel like we can do so much with our personnel because we have so many multiple sets that we can do anything. We'll look to run the ball and throw the short stuff a lot but we can definitely stretch the field if we want to, so it's pretty much whatever we want to do. That's why I'm really excited about it."

Reporter Roy Cummings can be reached at (813) 259-7979.
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/aug/08/sp-mix-match-t-attack-and/sports-bucs/

Boid Fink

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#1 : August 08, 2010, 01:35:18 PM

Olson is going to stink it up...too wishy washy...


dalbuc

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#2 : August 08, 2010, 02:08:18 PM

Basically Olson kept all the pages of everyone he worked with and put them into one binder. I just don't think he knows what he wants to do - seriously Huggins at WR, please. He was so bad last year I just don't know if he's cut out for this role.

Then again, Morris is running the everything and the kitchen sink defense so we might get an entire season of jack of all trades and masters of none.

All posts are opinions in case you are too stupid to figure that out on your own without me saying it over and over.

anterrabae33

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#3 : August 08, 2010, 02:27:47 PM

Not a fan of Olson at this point

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#4 : August 08, 2010, 03:05:40 PM

Yea something about that article makes me feel not so confident in Olsen. Also bragging about Freeman's percentage being good when throwing passes under 10 yards? really? I feel like I can step in and complete a good amount of passes that are under 10 yards.



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#5 : August 08, 2010, 03:11:45 PM

"Olson realized the importance of throwing deep midway through his climb up the NFL coaching ladder, while he was running the St. Louis Rams offense during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Martz, the architect of the high-powered Rams offense known as the "Greatest Show on Turf," was out of St. Louis by then, but his replacement, Scott Linehan, kept Martz's offense intact and simply asked Olson to run it."

...what happened after that?


Caveat Emperor

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#6 : August 08, 2010, 03:12:44 PM

Not a fan of Olson at this point

Hate a man that doesn't put his own stamp on something. But, at the same time, the best hope for Freeman developing into an elite-QB is if Olson is the real deal and can provide stability to Freeman in the early years.

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#7 : August 08, 2010, 03:18:08 PM

Not a fan of Olson at this point

Hate a man that doesn't put his own stamp on something. But, at the same time, the best hope for Freeman developing into an elite-QB is if Olson is the real deal and can provide stability to Freeman in the early years.

I was really never for giving him the OC job. I understand with the situation we were in that he got the job but I would have hoped we went out and looked at out of house replacements this offseason. I like Olson as a QB coach but not much more.

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#8 : August 08, 2010, 03:42:30 PM

Ive been skeptical of Olson, but im giving him the benefit of the doubt. Last year would have been tough for any coordinator, even Gruden. Theres a luandry list of excuses for him and a good sized list of boggling play calls. This year is the end all be all IMO. I dont care where he gets his plays, as long as he can call them effectively. In all honesty, pretty much any play you can think of has been done by someone. He needs to improve his situational playcalling. Hes getting to install his own playbook and do everything his way from the get go.

Im not ready to give up on him yet as to the situation he was in last year, but he has to show vast experience from last year.



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#9 : August 08, 2010, 03:43:16 PM

this explains all the check downs in TC. Wac if you ask me unless this is a smoke screen. I say let the young gun sling it down field much as possible, thats how you grow. work with no fear!  

anterrabae33

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#10 : August 08, 2010, 03:46:36 PM

this explains all the check downs in TC. Wac if you ask me unless this is a smoke screen. I say let the young gun sling it down field much as possible, thats how you grow. work with no fear!

We are trying to cut DOWN the INT's haha. The check downs are there because from what we saw last year, Freeman is more comfortable throwing short to medium but I'd love to see him sling it down field every now and then.

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#11 : August 08, 2010, 04:31:37 PM

this explains all the check downs in TC. Wac if you ask me unless this is a smoke screen. I say let the young gun sling it down field much as possible, thats how you grow. work with no fear! 

That would be asking for INTs. If they started doing that then people would be wanting to know why they are not  calling plays to suit his stregths.. If the long throws arent a strength of his yet.... then you limit that. No?

obuc

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#12 : August 08, 2010, 05:44:54 PM

I love mix and match. Kind of like Geranimals. 

One good thing about pure west coast, you get the ball out fo the QB's hands fast and dont give DB's too much time to study Freeman's locked on eyes.

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#13 : August 08, 2010, 09:24:00 PM

Olson is going to stink it up...too wishy washy...

Olson is the best, smartest coach we've got so if you're down on him I'm guessing you're taking the under on Buccaneer wins this season.  Not saying I disagree.

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#14 : August 08, 2010, 09:27:06 PM

"Olson realized the importance of throwing deep midway through his climb up the NFL coaching ladder, while he was running the St. Louis Rams offense during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. Martz, the architect of the high-powered Rams offense known as the "Greatest Show on Turf," was out of St. Louis by then, but his replacement, Scott Linehan, kept Martz's offense intact and simply asked Olson to run it."

...what happened after that?


Bulger signed a big contract extension right before the 2007 season and ended up being plagued with injuries all season. He never really was the same after that.
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