During Greg Knapp’s one year as the Raiders’ offensive coordinator, it wasn’t hard to find people critical of the team’s attempt to run an offensive system that wasn’t particularly suited to the players on the roster.
Running back Darren McFadden struggled all season to find running room in Knapp’s zone blocking-centric offense, which the team tried to implement despite not having offensive linemen skilled in that system. The experiment failed miserably, leading to Knapp’s dismissal and the hiring of Greg Olson to run things in 2013. Olson said this week that he’s not going to try to fit any square pegs into round holes.
“So I’ve been exposed to a number of different systems and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, you’d better adapt to the players you have on your team,” Olson said, via Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “You’d better not pigeon-hole yourself as in, ‘This is my system and this is what we’re going to do’ because that personnel may not match that system.”
Based on the reports out of minicamp, the Raiders have a lot of adapting to do on offense. The team’s quarterbacks got few plaudits from the beat writers who watched practice, although McDonald reports that the Raiders’ plan was to do a lot of blitzing during drills to get the offensive line and quarterbacks accustomed to playing under that kind of pressure.
It’s foolish to make any judgments based on practices in June under any circumstances, so it’s best to save that until there’s actual football being played and we can see how the Raiders offense performs. Starting with the mindset that you’ll try to tailor the offense around the talent on hand is likely a step in the right direction.