Dilfer: Greg Olson underrated play caller

Very interesting Insider piece by Trent Dilfer. He puts Tampa Bay’s Greg Olson at the top of his list of underrated play callers in the NFL.

I’m glad Dilfer points this out because I don’t think Olson has gotten the recognition he deserves. Last year, he got plenty of production out of an offense that featured quarterback Josh Freeman, receiver Mike Williams and running back LeGarrette Blount, who each were in their first season as a starter.

I wasn’t crazy about Olson’s play calling in the season opener against Detroit, but head coach Raheem Morris is at least partly responsible for the decision to go to the two-minute offense early and abandon the running game. Against Minnesota last week, Olson stuck with Blount and the running game in the second half and it paid off.

Olson is a very good play caller and will only get better as the Bucs develop some of their young receivers to complement Williams. Is Olson the best play caller in the NFC South?

Probably not. That honor belongs to New Orleans head coach Sean Payton, who calls his own plays. But you can’t call Payton underrated because he’s been known as an offensive guru for a long time.

I’m not sure you can call Atlanta’s Mike Mularkey or Carolina’s Rob Chudzinski underrated for different reasons. Mularkey’s had good results with the Atlanta offense the past three seasons, but the deep passing game has yet to click this year, so there still are some questions to be answered. Although Chudzinski is in his first season as Carolina’s coordinator and off to a good start, it’s not like he’s flying under the radar. He came into this job with a lot of respect from around the league and was fairly well known by fans.

That’s not quite the same rise Olson has had. He started off as Tampa Bay’s quarterbacks coach in 2009, but suddenly was thrust into the coordinator’s job when Jeff Jagodzinski was fired in training camp.