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AP: Musgrave brings fresh offense to Redskins

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Old 08-06-2005, 11:00 AM   #1
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AP: Musgrave brings fresh offense to Redskins

Musgrave Brings Fresh Offense to Redskins
By JOSEPH WHITE
AP Sports Writer

August 5, 2005, 6:20 PM CDT

ASHBURN, Va. -- Bill Musgrave looks more like a fresh-faced intern than a coach when he's standing on the Washington Redskins' practice field, especially when he's near the chiseled complexions of Joe Gibbs, Joe Bugel and Don Breaux.

Gibbs, Bugel and Breaux are in their 60s, have known each other for decades and have developed a style of coaching that isn't about to change, at least not radically.

But something was obviously wrong with their offense last season. The unit ranked 30th in the league and could not come up with the big, downfield play. The average gain per completed pass was just 9.98 yards. Only the Baltimore Ravens were worse.

Former quarterback Musgrave is part of the solution. He is just 37, but he has played for Mike Holmgren and Mike Shanahan and has played with or coached Joe Montana, Steve Young, John Elway, Jeff George, Peyton Manning, Steve Beuerlein and Byron Leftwich. He has been exposed to offenses quite different from Gibbs' and has been brought in to offer his unique insights as the team's quarterbacks coach.

"He's been with some really good football people," Bugel said. "We've tapped his mind. He's a sharp kid."

Musgrave has added the shotgun -- a formation Gibbs refused to touch for many years -- but otherwise insists he has not been hired to modernize the offense. He's an extra set of eyes and offers feedback during meetings, fully aware that Gibbs and Co. are never going to switch to, say, a West Coast offense or one that favors the pass over the run.

"You stick to your guns," Musgrave said. "And you add a few wrinkles each and every year, hone down your system, refine it a little bit. But you dance with the date that brought you here."

The biggest change for the offense is the overhaul of the receiving corps. Santana Moss and David Patten have replaced Laveranues Coles and Rod Gardner. Moss and Patten are small but fast, able to break the big-gainers the team lacked last year.

Musgrave said the actual plays the Redskins call will have only minor tweaks from last season. But he expects the results to be different.

"We're looking to get chunks with our speedy guys, Santana and David Patten. Those guys have got some juice," Musgrave said. "I think it will look similar to when the Redskins were throwing to guys like (Ricky) Sanders and (Gary) Clark and Art Monk, with those guys going down and making plays -- and the quarterback putting it where he needs to."

Musgrave likes what he sees in starting quarterback Patrick Ramsey, although he'd like to see Ramsey's footwork improve, which would in turn make the timing of the throws more precise.

Musgrave's biggest challenge might be blending in with the coaching staff's infamous late-night storytelling sessions. Gibbs, Bugel and the others have long ago acknowledged that their meetings wouldn't last anywhere close to 3 a.m. if they didn't love to talk so much.

"Invariably stories come out from when these guys were at Florida, Florida State or Arkansas, in the '80s (with the Redskins). It's a terrific opportunity for a young guy like me to just soak it all up," Musgrave said. "There's a lot of worse ways to spend your time."

Though he was hired to add a new perspective, it's during those times that Musgrave just sits and listens.

"He's kind of quiet," Gibbs said. "We probably dominate the conversation. We've got more stories." Copyright 2005, The Associated Press


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