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Redskins Likely to Hire A Quarterbacks Coach

Redskins Assistant a Likely Candidate for Coaching Job

By Nunyo Demasio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 7, 2005; Page D01

The Washington Redskins yesterday interviewed former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and are likely to hire him as quarterbacks coach as soon as today, according to two NFL sources familiar with the situation.

Musgrave was fired Monday by the Jaguars after the offense finished among the league's worst. But Musgrave, 37, was offered a job by the Redskins after meeting with Joe Gibbs yesterday at Redskins Park, said one source, and appears to have accepted.

Redskins assistant coach Greg Blache is likely to be considered for the 49ers head coaching job. (John McDonnell - The Washington Post)

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Musgrave would replace Jack Burns, whom Gibbs hired as quarterbacks coach after announcing his return to the NFL last January. Gibbs was unavailable to comment last night, and vice president Vinny Cerrato didn't return a late call.

Gibbs had said that his staff would stay virtually intact. And although Burns's status is unclear, he will likely remain with the club in some capacity. Burns, who previously was quarterbacks coach for the Atlanta Falcons, has two years remaining on his contract.

Gibbs's decision underscores the importance he places on quarterback play: Washington's offense ranked 30th in the league. Gibbs's handpicked signal-caller, Mark Brunell, eventually lost his job to Patrick Ramsey, who has been named the starter for the 2005 season. The passing unit produced only four completions of 40 yards or more. And after the first three days of a weeklong assessment, offensive coordinator Don Breaux yesterday said his unit would have more of an attacking approach next season.

In Jacksonville, Musgrave oversaw a West Coast style offense, which espoused a pass-happy approach, particularly on first down. But Musgrave -- who prefers mobile quarterbacks -- was prone to calling short passing plays.

Brunell was statistically the NFL's worst starting quarterback before being replaced by Ramsey during a Nov. 11 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. After struggling as a reserve, Ramsey showed promise in seven starts. Overall, he finished with 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and a career-high 62.1 completion percentage.

The Redskins produced only 34 plays of 20 yards or longer this season, and Gibbs was criticized for conservative play-calling. Yesterday, Breaux said that the offensive staff was pleased at the improvement in several areas toward the end of the season, yet added that the unit would be more aggressive.

"Not that we didn't during the season, but we're going to put a special emphasis on that," Breaux said. "I think we know more how to use our personnel more.

"We've got to get to the point where we know, to get where we want to go, we've got to let it fly. We've got to have confidence that we can attack offensively. We'll work very hard on that in that mind-set with our players this offseason."

Before being hired by Jaguars Coach Jack Del Rio in 2003, Musgrave had been offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia, where he was praised for being an innovator and helping develop quarterback Matt Schaub, who owns many school records.

But when the Jaguars finished 9-7 this season, one game from the last AFC wild-card spot, the offense received most of the blame after setting a franchise-low average of 16.5 points. The offense finished 29th in the NFL in scoring, two spots ahead of Washington.

Musgrave has links with Joe Bugel, Washington's assistant head coach-offense, and Breaux. Musgrave was a quarterbacks assistant for the Oakland Raiders in 1997, when Bugel was head coach of the Raiders. Breaux and Musgrave were offensive assistants with the Carolina Panthers. But Musgrave quit the team after four games in 2000 because of a dispute with then-Panthers coach George Seifert. Musgrave's contract prevented him from coaching in the NFL for the following two seasons.

Musgrave was a star quarterback at the University of Oregon before being chosen in the fourth round of the 1991 draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He finished his college career as the Ducks' all-time leading passer while setting 15 school records.

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