Ravens

Quick Links

Raiders hire Greg Olson as offensive coordinator

Raiders hire Greg Olson as offensive coordinator

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Raiders chose a coordinator to get their offense back to a power-running scheme suited to star back Darren McFadden.

The Raiders hired former Jacksonville quarterbacks coach Greg Olson as their new offensive coordinator on Saturday to revive a unit that had its worst production on the ground since 2005.

Coach Dennis Allen interviewed a number of candidates, including Norv Turner and Marc Trestman, before settling on Olson to replace the fired Greg Knapp. The shift in philosophies from last season's offense is a clear acknowledgment that McFadden was not suited to a zone running scheme.

Oakland also hired former Philadelphia assistant Bobby April as special teams coordinator. Allen still needs to fill openings for an offensive line coach and linebackers coach.

Olson previously served as offensive coordinator with Detroit, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. In Olson's two years with the Rams, running back Stephen Jackson rushed for at least 1,000 yards in 2006 and `07, including a career high of 1,528 his first season.

Olson also helped LeGarrette Blount get a 1,000-yard season in Tampa Bay and played a key role in the development of Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman. Freeman threw 25 touchdown passes and six interceptions and posted a career-best 95.9 rating in 2010 with Olson calling plays.

Olson has 26 years of coaching experience, including 15 in college and 11 in the NFL. Along with Freeman, he has also worked with quarterbacks such as Marc Bulger (St. Louis), Jeff Garcia (San Francisco) and Drew Brees (Purdue).

But his biggest task in Oakland will be reviving the career of McFadden. A first-round pick in 2008, McFadden struggled early in his career with injuries and the zone scheme.

That all changed when Hue Jackson was hired as offensive coordinator in 2010 and implemented a power system better suited to McFadden's skills. In two seasons with Jackson calling plays, McFadden averaged 5.3 yards per carry and broke one of every 15 runs for at least 20 yards.

Last season, he averaged 3.3 yards per carry - the lowest ever for a Raiders back with at least 150 carries in a season - and the Raiders stumbled to a 4-12 record. He also had only four runs of at least 20 yards in 216 carries.

``I'm not an offensive guru, but I do know when Darren is running certain plays, it's pretty doggone good, and he had some last year,'' general manager Reggie McKenzie said Thursday. ``But when you talk about a scheme, he's not a lateral mover. He's not one of those guys. As soon as he can go north and south, that's when he's at his best.''

April has spent 21 seasons as a special teams assistant in the NFL, including a very successful six-year run in Buffalo. April spent the past three seasons with the Eagles and has also worked with St. Louis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Quick Links

Whirlwind week: Demone Harris makes Ravens practice squad, loses and then finds engagement ring, gets engaged

Whirlwind week: Demone Harris makes Ravens practice squad, loses and then finds engagement ring, gets engaged

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In the span of a few days, Demone Harris bought an engagement ring, was released by the Buccaneers, traveled to Baltimore — where he lost the engagement ring, earned a spot on the Ravens practice squad and subsequently found the ring and got engaged.

Harris announced on Twitter today that he signed with the Ravens practice squad. The outside linebacker is in his second year in the NFL and originally was an undrafted free agent from Buffalo.

But that’s not the entire story of his signing.

Harris was released by the Buccaneers after returning from London on Oct. 15. He also had plans to propose to his girlfriend that week and had already purchased an engagement ring.

After a workout last Thursday morning in Baltimore, he was unable to find the engagement ring he planned to propose to his girlfriend with that weekend. 

Just a short while after the Ravens texted Harris to let him know he’d made the practice squad, he also received word that his engagement ring was found in the hotel he stayed at. 

The Ravens shipped the ring to him overnight and he proposed to his girlfriend on Friday in Buffalo like he’d planned to do all along. 

He ended his story on Twitter that he wanted to find the person who located the ring and “do something nice.”

For not having practiced with the Ravens yet, Harris has already created quite a stir.

MORE RAVENS NEWS:

Quick Links

Ravens cut Justin Bethel, lose Pernell McPhee likely for season

mcphee-bethel-split.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Ravens cut Justin Bethel, lose Pernell McPhee likely for season

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just a day after a hard-fought win in Seattle, the Ravens have two roster spots to fill on defense.

The Ravens released special teams standout Justin Bethel on Monday, and coach John Harbaugh announced that Pernell McPhee is likely out for the season with a torn tricep.

Bethel was released after the Titans released Brent Urban last week.

The reason for Bethel's release was that Urban was due to give the Ravens a compensatory fourth-round pick. He signed a one-year deal in the offseason with the Titans as he left the Ravens. 

But Urban, who signed with Chicago on Monday, failed to impress in Tennessee and was released before the Week 10 compensatory deadline. Meaning, the Ravens would have lost the fourth-round pick they were scheduled to receive for John Brown's departure were it not for Bethel's release.

Bethel had six special teams tackles this season and was arguably the Ravens' best special teams player that doesn't snap or kick.

"Justin Bethel unfortunately had to be released due to a funky rule that the NFL has with these compensatory picks," Harbaugh said. "A judgement has to be made in terms of for the future as well. That's tough for us. I told him I think he's the best special teams player in the NFL, and he's playing that way."

Additionally, McPhee will likely be out for the season with a torn tricep. McPhee had three sacks and 19 total tackles in seven games for the Ravens this season.

"Pernell McPhee, it looks like he has a torn tricep," Harbaugh said. "If he has a torn tricep which I believe he does, that'll proclude the rest of the season." 

The Ravens have Aaron Adeoye, a rookie outside linebacker, on the practice squad should they wish to promote someone from within. Otherwise, they'll have to look through the free agent market or poach from another practice squad.

The NFL trade deadline is next Tuesday. 

MORE RAVENS NEWS: