Olson has Bucs' offense going on the attack
Ira Kaufman, The Tampa Tribune, published 15 November 2010

There used to be parts of Greg Olson's playbook that were off limits to the Buccaneers. Not anymore. Tampa Bay's second-year offensive coordinator is displaying enhanced creativity in recent weeks and the league's youngest team has responded.

"He's doing a great job with his play-calling,'' tight end John Gilmore said about Olson following Sunday's 31-16 triumph against the Panthers. "There's still some things we need to tighten up, but we've got defenses off balance right now.''

After averaging 5.0 yards per offensive snap in their first six games, the Bucs have improved their productivity markedly in the past three weeks, averaging 6.8 yards as Olson opened up the attack.

Olson unveiled a flea-flicker on the final drive last week at Atlanta that generated a pass interference penalty and he kept adding new wrinkles in Sunday's game even though the Bucs started four rookies on offense.

"The past three or four games, you feel like he's got control of what he wants to do,'' cornerback Ronde Barber said of Olson. "When you can trust every aspect of your playbook, that makes you dangerous.''On the game's first touchdown, Josh Freeman faked a handoff, rolled left and found rookie Arrelious Benn, who dove over the left pylon for an 8-yard score.

Carolina was fooled on the play because Benn hadn't run that pattern out of Sunday's formation. "We've been bringing Benn in to block the end, but this time we let Arrelious continue to the sideline and he was open,'' Olson said.

Instead of sitting on a 21-16 lead, the Bucs remained aggressive in the fourth quarter, going 3-for-4 on third down and rolling up 120 yards against a defense that entered the game ranked 11th in the NFL.

With 4:40 remaining, Tampa Bay faced a third-and-15 at its own 29 when Freeman exploited an all-out blitz with a screen pass to Cadillac Williams that gained 16 yards. Four plays later, Williams took an inside handoff on third-and-11 and dashed 45 yards for the clinching TD.

"On the screen, it was a great job by Josh against their blitz and it worked out,'' Olson said. "On Caddy's touchdown, we said let's run the ball on that gap scheme play. Caddy told the guys in the huddle, 'Let's make a hole and I'm going all the way.' I'm giving these guys more and more because they proved they can handle it. If a play doesn't get executed in practice, I'm throwing it out.''

For offensive line coach Pete Mangurian, Olson's bolder approach is a reflection of trust. "As they execute, Greg's going to give them more and more to do,'' Mangurian said. "It's great to have ideas, but if players can't execute, that's all they are ideas. These guys are practicing hard, studying hard and playing hard. They're trying their best to do what we ask them to do.''Even Tampa Bay's defensive players appreciate Olson's confident style.

"Give our newer guys credit for understanding the ins and outs of his play-calling,'' said middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, who led the Bucs with 10 tackles and registered his first sack since 2008. "Greg Olson's doing a great job of mixing things up. That's what the good coordinators in this league do.''