A little over one week ago, shortly after the Oakland Raiders named Jon Gruden their new head coach, Los Angeles Rams’ fans realized the rumors were true — Greg Olson, the team’s quarterback(s) coach would also be heading to Oakland to take on the offensive coordinator position.
Rams’ head coach Sean McVay had this to say in regards to Olson’s contributions in his lone season with the organization:
You certainly don’t want to take away from how important Olson is. But, we have a lot of confidence and that’s where you can feel fortunate to have Matt LaFleur to be able to kind of be there and he’s acting as offensive coordinator and a lot of instances he’s kind of coaching those guys up as well.
By now you’ve probably heard that LaFleur - who was also integral in turning the Rams’ offense from worst to first - will have at least one interview for a head coaching vacancy. First stop, Tennessee Titans.
It may turn out to be nothing. There’s no harm in him interviewing, and one would think - given his resumé - that he could very well be a head coach in the near future. One would also have to think he’d need a little more experience under his belt as an offensive coordinator, specifically in calling plays, but it certainly doesn’t rule him out of candidacy.
Losing both Olson and LaFleur, it goes without saying, would be very bad for the Rams. As McVay noted, with Olson now shipped off to Oakland, LaFleur, at least for the time being, will need to pick up the slack.
The loss of Olson got me wondering. Who primarily helped Jared Goff make the second year leap from dud to stud?
Surely it’s a combination of things, but wins-losses and play-calling aside, Goff looked like a completely different player in 2017. And, shortly after Olson was gone, Goff weighed in on how helpful he’d been while serving as QB’s coach:
I think we talked about it Saturday night with the quarterbacks — everything he’s done has been awesome. It far exceeded my expectations, as far as what he’s done for myself and our whole quarterback room. And we’re very thankful for him.
I’m sure there are plenty of QB’s that have worked with Olson over the years that’ll sing similar praises. Olson was Derek Carr’s first NFL offensive coordinator when he was drafted by Oakland in 2014. This quote from Carr has stuck with me from the moment the Rams named Olson their QB’s coach, and given the circumstances of an abysmal start to his NFL career, was something I knew was going to help a winless rookie heading into his second season:
Coach Olson taught me so much about protections. We were one of the top two or three most-pressured teams in the NFL while still being one or two in least amount of sacks. His big deal is eliminating hits on the quarterback. That’s something that Gus probably liked when interviewing him. I’m sure he wanted to eliminate hits on their franchise guy.
Makes sense, right?
There’s probably no definitive way of knowing, and it’s presumably, again, a combination of many things. Again my question is simple: who should be getting the most credit for Goff’s year two leap to legitimacy?
A twitter poll shows that it’s a relatively close split, with Matt LaFleur getting the edge over Olson.
McVay aside, who do you accredit for Jared Goff's bounceback sophomore year?— Brandon Bate (@NoPlanB_) January 16, 2018
What I found curious was McVay’s choice of words regarding LaFleur’s contribution(s): “...a lot of instances he’s kind of coaching those guys up as well.”
Semantics, I know. And let’s face it, LaFleur had much more responsibility, even if he wasn’t calling plays, than simply that of the quarterbacks. He was in charge of every facet of the offense...along with McVay, I’m sure.
There’s no wrong or right answer here. I just happen to think Olson deserves a lot of credit for Goff’s success in 2017, and I think it’s a shame he’s gone so quickly.
How do you see it? Who do YOU think deserves more credit for Goff’s bounceback sophomore season? (Poll will be stripped out on Google AMP and Apple News)
In terms of Jared Goff’s improvement in 2017, who you give more credit?
This poll is closed