In St. Louis, Greg Olson directed a prolific offense, particularly in 2006
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense is on the rise. Greg Olson could help that trend continue.
Most recently the offensive coordinator for the high-powered St. Louis Rams, Olson has been named the Buccaneers' new quarterbacks coach. He replaces Paul Hackett, who served as the Bucs' quarterbacks coach for three seasons (2005-07). Though Olson's move to Tampa has been rumored since before the Super Bowl, he was not officially brought on board until this week.
Olson spent two seasons in charge of the Rams' attack, including a 2006 campaign that saw it rank among the league's best. Overall, St. Louis ranked sixth in the NFL in total offense in '06, averaging 360.4 yards per game. The Rams featured the league's third-best passing offense and 10th-best ground game. Injuries to Marc Bulger, Steven Jackson and Orlando Pace, among others, doomed the St. Louis offense in 2007, as the team slid to 24th in the league rankings.
The 2006 Rams made the most of their star players on offense. In fact, that system was just the fourth in NFL history to produce a passer with more than 4,000 yards (Bulger), a rusher with more than 1,500 yards (Jackson) and two receivers with more than 1,000 yards (Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce). The other three teams to accomplish that feat were the 1995 Detroit Lions, the 1998 San Francisco 49ers and the 2004 Indianapolis Colts.
With Olson at the helm of the offense, Bulger had a career year in 2006 and earned his second Pro Bowl berth. Bulger's prolific numbers included 4,301 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and a 92.9 passer rating.
Olson is a veteran of six seasons of coaching in the NFL and another 15 in the college ranks, most of it in direct contact with the quarterbacks. He first entered the league as a quarterbacks coach with San Francisco in 2001, which coincided with the third season as a 49er for current Buccaneers starter Jeff Garcia. Under Olson's tutelage, Garcia tossed a career-high 32 touchdown passes in 2001, while also compiling 3,538 passing yards, a 62.7% completion rate and a 94.8 passer rating.
Olson went back to the college ranks the following year, spending one season as the tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator at Purdue. In 2003, he moved back to the NFL as the quarterbacks coach for the Chicago Bears before serving in the same post with the Detroit Lions in 2004-05.
A former quarterback at Central Washington, Olson got his first full-time coaching job at his alma mater in 1990 after several seasons as a graduate assistant at Washington State. He helped in the early development of current Lions quarterback Jon Kitna at Central Washington before moving on to the University of Idaho as the quarterbacks coach in 1994.
After three seasons at Idaho, Olson signed on at Purdue in 1997 and, as the quarterbacks coach again, walked in at the same time as current New Orleans Saints star Drew Brees. In his four seasons at that post, Olson helped develop Brees into an eventual Heisman Trophy candidate, a second-round pick of the San Diego Chargers in 2001 and a near-NFL MVP with the Saints in 2006.
Brees is now a direct competitor for Olson, but the Bucs' new QB specialist inherits another familiar face as well as a proven NFL producer in Garcia. He also arrives at a time when the Bucs' offense appears to be moving in the right direction. Tampa Bay ranked 18th in the league in both yards and points per game in 2007, its highest mark since 2003.
In addition, the Bucs had a much more balanced attack than they had displayed in years; by finishing 11th in rushing and 16th in passing, the team ranked at least 16th in both categories for the first time since 1992, and only the second time ever.
Olson is the second new addition to the offensive staff that the team has announced since the end of the 2007 season. On January 25, the team named former Buccaneer player George Yarno its new assistant offensive line coach.