Saturday's Keystone: Bill Musgrave

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Jul 26, 2013; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (right) talks with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave (left) during training camp at Minnesota State University. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps you were surprised when the Philadelphia Eagles announced Bill Musgrave as their new quarterback coach.  It was simply supply versus demand.  Bill Musgrave was available.   The Philadelphia Eagles had an opening.  End of story… right?   But in the words of the great Paul Harvey… “now… the REST of the story.”

In 2013, the Minnesota Vikings fired  head coach Leslie Frazier.   As new coach Mike Zimmer was hired to take over, he sought the services of new offensive coordinator, Norv Turner.  Bill Musgrave was the odd man out.   And so, Bill became one more unemployed NFL coach.    Not long after, the Miami Dolphins continued the merry go round of coaching changes by selecting the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback coach Bill Lazor.    In the first month of 2014, Musgrave was looking for work, while the Eagles were looking for a coach.    Eagles Chip Kelly, fashioning  the “if you can’t beat them, hire them” mantra into a job application prerequisite, converted the only loss of the second half of the season (during a seven win one loss run into the playoffs) as an interview – and hired the guy who beat his team handily.  The formal announcement was made:   Bill Musgrave has been hired as the new Eagles quarterback coach.

So what?   A quarterback coach is just one of many positional coaches.  He simply has the responsibility of coaching  quarterbacks.  To many teams, it’s merely a collaborative position – where experienced quarterbacks, offensive coordinators, and head coaches intersect.   In those teams, the quarterback coach  interprets between coaches and players.   The coach translates x’s and o’s into what the quarterback must focus on, must improve, must let go of, in order to succeed in the NFL.  And to many teams, this is a low priority position.   But the Philadelphia Eagles are NOT just any team.   They are a team on the rise.  More than that, with the likely exodus of quarterback Michael Vick to free agency on a quest to find a role as a starting quarterback, the Philadelphia Eagles are piloted by wunderkind quarterback Nick Foles, a third round pick in 2012 from the University of Arizona.  Second year Matt Barkley, a 2013 fourth round pick out of the University of Southern California, will likely end up in the reserve role.  Both quarterbacks have limited experience and entered the NFL from the middle of the draft.   The future of their growth and success falls to their quarterback coach.

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