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Raiders’ Greg Olson goes from making suggestions to decisions

Aside from Rich Bisaccia, who has been thrust into the role of interim head coach, the only other Raiders coach whose role discernibly changes after the abrupt resignation of Jon Gruden is Greg Olson.

Yes, Olson has been the offensive coordinator under Gruden the last four seasons, and his influence has always been evident as Gruden was respectful of Olson’s vision and input.

But it was no secret that the offense was Gruden’s baby, right down to having ultimate say on the game plan, the scripted plays to start games and every single play call since the start of the 2018 season.

Make no mistake, Olson was an asset, a sounding board, and a constant voice in Gruden’s ear offering insight and suggestions.

“With Jon it was suggestions throughout the game on the headset,” Olson said. “Here’s how I see it, coach. Here’s suggestions. He’s big into that.”

That has all changed, though, as Olson now goes from someone making suggestions to making decisions.

Olson cherishes the opportunity, albeit with a bit of a heavy heart. His opportunity to put his stamp on the Raiders’ offense and assume play-calling duties came at a heavy price. He and Gruden go way back, and the personal and professional relationship they have forged over the years was real.

As much as Olson wants to celebrate his new role, it’s a weird balance between personal satisfaction and empathy for the man whose role he is assuming.

“I always say opportunity comes in many different ways and certainly this wasn’t the opportunity I was looking for,” Olson said.

More: Gruden’s emails, resignation

Nevertheless, he is well aware of the opportunity he’s been bestowed.

“I think you get into the coaching profession, or you get into the coordinator role to take on that responsibility,” Olson said. “So, there is a tremendous amount of responsibility that goes with it, but is excitement a word? I don’t know. Again, there is a lot of feelings going through a lot of the players and coaches this week.”

While his game-day role obviously changes as far as play-calling responsibilities, Olson and the Raiders will do everything they can to minimize the effect on the day-to-day process.

There will be some changes, of course. Olson is his own man with his own mind and his own way of looking at things and approaching situations. So, whereas Gruden may have been reliant on a certain look or philosophy or way of doing things, Olson will lean on his own thought process.

That could result in a major change in philosophy on game day, or some subtle differences.

And it will be fascinating to watch that process unfold.

One thing that won’t change is all the various personnel groupings the Raiders use, which has not always been about creating ideal matchups. Often times it is to camouflage the Raiders’ true intentions.

“That’s our philosophy as an offensive staff, things that look the same that are different,” Olson said. “How do we make it look the same to the defense? What we did last week, how is that going to look the same to them yet have a different spin-off of it?

“A lot of times it’s not rocket science, but there is an art to that. and we’re fortunate that we feel like we have again very strong skill positions. The tight ends, the running backs and the wide receivers that we can mix and match and use different personnel groupings.”

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter

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