Al Saunders has had success as an offensive assistant for several NFL teams, including the Redskins in 2006. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
At this time of year, it’s a coaching carousel in the NFL.
With openings here, there and everywhere, candidates are stopping off for interviews across the country, and many of them have several options.
Marc Trestman and Greg Olson are two of those coaches, and both of their names have surfaced in recent days as possible candidates for the Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator job.
Trestman and Olson join Mike Martz, a longtime NFL offensive coordinator who reportedly has been interview by Oakland, and in-house candidate Al Saunders, an offensive assistant on the Raiders staff in 2012 who served as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2011 under head coach Hue Jackson.
Olson, assistant head coach and quarterback coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars this past season, was reported to have interviewed with the Raiders by Pete Roussel, who runs the website Coachingsearch.com. Roussel also reported that Trestman, currently the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League – and a former offensive coordinator for the Raiders – interviewed with the Raiders this past weekend.
Olson was on the staff of Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey, who was fired after this season. Olson, 48, has coached 10 years in the NFL and 15 years in college and previously was credited with helping the development of quarterback Josh Freeman when he coached with the Tampa Bay Bucs. Olson has been an NFL offensive coordinator six seasons, with Detroit (2005), St. Louis (2006-07) and Tampa Bay (2009-11).
This past season was a rough one for the Jaguars offense and young quarterback Blaine Gabbert, however, who didn’t seem to progress sufficiently under Olson’s tutelage to satisfy the team’s leadership.
Trestman, 56, meanwhile, has been reported to be one of three finalists for the head coaching position with the Chicago Bears, as well as a candidate for the Oakland job.
Trestman had some good years with the Raiders as quarterback coach and then offensive coordinator for the Oakland team that went to the Super Bowl in 2002. Later, he coached with the Dolphins and at North Carolina State before going to the CFL, where he took Montreal to two Grey Cup championships and has a 59-31 record.
Montreal general manager Jim Popp told the Chicago Tribune that Trestman is an outstanding offensive coach.
“I think the skill set that Marc has, being an offensive mind, and then his great relationships that he’s had with quarterbacks historically in the NFL and the work he’s done with them, makes him a good fit for the job,” Popp told the Tribune, about Trestman’s reported candidacy for the Bears head coaching position.
Trestman is one of three reported finalists for that job, along with Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seahawks defensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, the Tribune reported.
If the Raiders choose to stay in-house, they have an excellent candidate in Saunders, who has coached in the NFL 29 seasons. He has been both an offensive coordinator and head coach. In 2011, as Oakland’s offensive coordinator, Saunders’ unit was seventh in the NFL in rushing, ninth in total offense and 11th in passing and ranked second in the league with 84 plays of 20 or more yards.