New QB Coach

Posted: January 21st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 39 Comments »

I’ll write about the Senior Bowl later. For now, the big news is that the Eagles hired a new QB coach, Bill Musgrave.

Musgrave was the OC for the Vikings for the previous 3 seasons. He’s been in college and pro football since 1997. Musgrave is a graduate of Oregon and played for the Niners in the early 90′s. He knows the WCO inside-out. Interestingly, Musgrave and Bill Lazor had coaching jobs with the University of Virginia, the Skins and the Falcons before coming to the Eagles.

Musgrave coached QBs for the Eagles in 1998. About midseason, with the offense struggling at a historically bad pace, Ray Rhodes let Musgrave start calling the plays. The offense immediately picked up. Musgrave wasn’t retained when Andy Reid took over in 1999.

Let’s look at some of Musgrave’s best work.

1999 – QB Coach of the Panthers – Steve Beuerlein threw for 4,436 yards and 36 TDs

2001-02 – QB Coach/OC for Virginia – developed Matt Schaub into a top college player and good pro prospect

2003-04 – OC/QB Coach of the Jaguars – helped develop rookie QB Byron Leftwich

2008-09 – QB Coach of the Falcons – helped develop rookie QB Matt Ryan

The Eagles needed to hire a QB coach who had experience. They couldn’t afford to go with a young player since Nick Foles is in such a critical stage in his career. He’s an ascending player, but still needs work. He needs a coach who has successfully developed QBs already. Musgrave fits this description. He’s also worked well with bigger QBs that are mostly pocket passers. Kinda sounds like Nick Foles.

The Eagles passing game is a mixture of the spread and the WCO. Musgrave knows how to teach QBs the footwork needed to run the WCO. That is a timing based offense and it is critical for the QB to be precise with his steps so that he can get the ball out on time. Receivers will be at specific landmarks and need the ball at the right time.

I like the fact that Musgrave has worked with so many young QBs. That tells you he knows how to teach and that’s important since Foles still has a lot of learning left to do.

I think Chip Kelly has done a good job with replacing his first departed coach.

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  • D3Center

    I just hope that when eventually more coaches start leaving for coordinator and coaching jobs, Chip is able to replace them better than Reid did because I think that more than anything was the downfall of the Reid era

    • Weapon Y

      For sure. Andy had a hard time replacing all three coordinators. Jim Johnson is the obvious one. You can’t help but wonder, though, if Sean McDermott would’ve panned out if he got more time considering how well he’s doing with Carolina. It’s easy to overlook Brad Childress, but the offense just wasn’t the same when he left.
      He kept Andy in check most of the time, and kept the offense reasonably balanced for the most part. Hiring Mornhinweg to be Andy’s top offensive assistant was like hiring a heroin addict to cure an alcoholic. Two pass-happy guys working together made things spiral out of control. And of course losing John Harbaugh was big. The special teams were never flashy with Harbaugh, but they didn’t give up stupid fumbles or blow coverages. They were a disciplined unit. Andy just became out of touch with who the best assistants and it’s one of the biggest reasons the team spiraled downward.

    • CTAZPA

      I think you’re right that Reid’s downfall included not properly replacing good coaches. Part of it was bad luck. McDermott seems like a pretty good coach now; he was just raw and in JJ’s shadow then. Guys like April, Mudd and Washburn were introduced as best of the NFL coaches, it just seems like they were maybe past their prime. The Juan Castillo thing? Why didn’t Reid transition him to LB coach for a couple of years first? I badly wanted him to succeed.

      On the other hand, while Kelly’s coordinators were regular guys, the rest of the staff seemed like an all-star mix of guys who wanted to prove themselves at the NFL level. What happened to Alabama’s dominating OL? We got Jeff Stoutland. How about BC’s vaunted LB corp? Bill McGovern left as DC. Chip Kelly is active in coach’s workshops. My guess is that he had been meeting people, learning about them and filing away plans for a staff for a while.

      • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

        Mudd was pretty damn good. He turned Kelce into a good starting C, Herremans into a good RT and Peters and Mathis into the best left side in the NFL.

        It wasn’t his fault that Backdraft was terrible, or that they lost 3 starters (and Watkins, for a stretch) in 2012.

        • mark2741

          lol – “Backdraft” – that’s the first I’ve heard that one. Hilarious!

          • Crus57

            It works doubly because we all kinda wish we could go back and draft someone else.

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            I can’t take any credit. It was someone on BGN.

            (Probably pheenom or KByars)

        • shah8

          Mudd was an item with that other dude we don’t like so much.

        • Weapon Y

          Agreed. Mudd takes too much crap from fans in general. He was one of the few coaches who actually made the team better in the late Reid era. He got the OL prepared for Chip’s zone-blocking.

          • Call Me Carlos the Dwarf

            Exactly. Imagine Chip coming in and having to deal with a Juan Castillo O-Line. They were good for what Andy liked to do, but they would be terrible in Chip’s offense.

        • mheil

          It was at least partially his fault that Backdraft was terrible. the choice would never have been made unless he thought Watkins was destined to be a star..

          • Weapon Y

            You might be right. Even so, he got Peters to play better, and turned Mathis and Kelce from obscure backups into elite o-linemen. Even if Watkins was his fault, he still did way more good than bad.

      • suthrneagle

        Juan was doing a decent job; that team`s problem was not the D at that time. His side of the game was good enough for the team to have been winning. Turnovers killed them. Reid wouldn`t accept responsiblity that his O`s strategy wasn`t working, so he found a scapegoat and fired Juan.
        Sadly, he left with his tail between his legs, thanked Reid for the chance and never had a negative thing to say..He got screwed, and the rest is history.
        Thankfully it all led us to where we are…excited iggles fans about the upcoming everthing.

  • Sconces

    I’m not seeing how we’re running a mixture of the spread and Westcoast offense. Eagles only pass 53% of the time which is 6th least in the NFL, and are 2nd in yards per attempt, first with Foles at QB. The passing routes seem to go for big plays instead of 5-7 yards. I don’t understand how we resemble a WCO at all….but despite all that still a good hire.

    • laeagle

      Shurmur was an exclusively WCO guy before his stint with Chip, so I don’t see it as a concern.

      • Sconces

        I don’t think it’s a concern at all, just making an observation

        • theycallmerob

          I think, as Tommy alluded to, Musgrave will have little to do with play-calling and more to do with the individual development of Nick and Matt. His background merely helps with the fundamentals that these young guys need.
          And the WCO concepts have appeared in the Eagles games, specifically some of the crossing routes and “horizontal spread” Kelly desires. The hurry up and spread formations are deceiving, but look closely at the routes (designed for quick progressions) and you can see the influence Shurmur and the WCO had last year

          • Sconces

            I went back and watched some games, but I’m still seeing more of a vertical passing game out of the spread. I also looked at PFF and saw it took Foles 2.88 seconds on average to throw, which is the most in the NFL. I think, like every offense, there are west coast concepts but I don’t think it’s primarily what we do in the passing game.

    • suthrneagle

      Many of those short passes ended up as long gains….maybe the offense played to what the defenses showed to the coaches,or even the qb at times(audibles), and those long routes were due those reads?reactions?…Remember Chip told Riey his plan was to `Score f…ing points!!…Musgrave is definately a good choice.

      Anyone else see the irony that our qb coach left to be an OC,and the Eagles got an OC to leave and become our qb coach?

    • jblizz

      He said the passing game resembles a WCO so how much we run the ball is irrelevant.

    • Anders

      Wco is the route combinations we run, like the hi-lo flood in the end zone (last play of the cardinals game) etc.

  • laeagle

    As a UVa grad, I feel really weird about two QB coaches in a row coming to the Birds from that program. Not a lot of confidence after some of the train wrecks I’ve seen come out of Charlottesville in recent years. Not to say that translates, just that my natural Philadelphia negativity, combined with UVa negativity/football hopelessness, makes for a potent mix.

    • theycallmerob

      heck, Chip’s college stops were U. New Hampshire, Johns Hopkins, and finally Oregon. Not exactly powerhouses. Musgrave has done a LOT since UVA

  • dislikedisqus

    I compared Foles in the past to Ryan and Schaub so interesting they found a QB coach who’s worked with both.

  • Vick or Nick

    Really good hire. His extensive experience will help Nick take the next step.

  • Mitchell

    Are you kidding me? I am liking this hire. Let’s hope it works!

  • ACViking

    T-Law wrote:

    “I’ll write about the Senior Bowl later.”
    ___________________

    Ah, to have such power over the masses . . . .

  • the midatlantic

    Aaron Caplan reporting Aaron Colvin, stud CB from Oklahoma who the Iggles talked to yesterday, had a clean ACL tear today. Bummer.

  • shah8

    I’m sorry, y’all, for bringing Musgrave down upon all of you.

    Strong suspicion that he’s here to help design cute short passing plays.

    • shah8

      Footwork is an interesting concept when we use shotgun most of the time, and most under-center plays are geared to the run, with threat of P/A.

  • Greg

    Realistically, what is Nick Foles’ ceiling?

    • shah8

      Ceiling implies a style of play that won’t be evident until we see Foles in a more rigorous pass offense.

    • TommyLawlor

      I have no idea right now. That’s a huge question with Nick.

  • TommyLawlor
  • Ramsay

    It would be so cool if we drafted Christian Jones. When he came to my high school as a freshman he was already as big as is. Going from playing with him on the football field to watching him play on the eagles would be awesome!