Olson credits Gruden as biggest NFL coaching influence

Olson credits Gruden as biggest NFL coaching influence
February 14, 2013, 1:45 pm
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When I got the opportunity to work with Jon Gruden, it was an eye-opening experience for me.
—Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson

ALAMEDA -- New Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson has developed more than a few opinions on the personnel at his disposal in his three-plus weeks on the job.

He's also developing some good will, so to speak, with a fan base who blamed his predecessor for everything from Oakland's offensive woes last season to Darren McFadden's regression to the disappearance of the Lindbergh baby.

Well, maybe not Lindbergh, but you get the drift.

Wednesday, Olson, along with fellow recent assistant hires Tony Sparano (offensive line/assistant head coach), Bobby April (special teams) and Bob Sanders (linebackers), spoke to seven reporters at the Raiders compound. And while the key to Olson's inroads with a frustrated fan base remains his designs on tailoring his offense to the players, rather than the other way around, as coach Dennis Allen had Greg Knapp do last season, Olson offered some other nuggets that should gain him traction.

Like, who he sees as his biggest professional coaching influence. Guy whose nickname rhymes with "Plucky," or somesuch.

"Not a rebirth, but when I got the opportunity to work with Jon Gruden, it was an eye-opening experience for me," said Olson, who was Gruden's quarterbacks coach in Tampa Bay in 2008.

"I really took to that and took to him and still remain very close. I think he probably influenced me more than anyone in my years in the NFL."

While Olson has also worked with the likes of Dennis Erickson, Mike Price, Joe Tiller and Steve Mariucci, Gruden remains an idol-like figure to many on the streets of Silver and Blackdom.

Knapp? Not so much. And yet...

"I'm not naive enough to believe it's all Greg Knapp's fault," Olson said. "I think the fans out there probably know that as well."