Jack Del Rio Excited to Work With Bill Musgrave Again


Jan 16, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Jack Del Rio poses with helmet at press conference to announce his hiring as Oakland Raiders head coach at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

New Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio has brought back several of his former assistants to fill out high profile roles in his coaching staff, including his offensive coordinator in Bill Musgrave, who was fired by Del Rio after two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2004 season.

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Jacksonville was Musgrave’s second stint as offensive coordinator and while Fred Taylor enjoyed some of the best years of his career with the power running philosophy the former NFL quarterback brought in, the Jaguars did not have enough success for Del Rio to keep him longterm. A 5-11 season followed by a 9-7 season in 2004 ending Musgrave’s run as offensive coordinator in Jacksonville.

After that run, Musgrave landed on his feet with the Minnesota Vikings following a half decade with the Atlanta Falcons as quarterbacks coach, earning another stint as offensive coordinator with Adrian Peterson as his workhorse running back. The Vikings enjoyed one 10-6 season with Musgrave sandwiched between two losing seasons that led to the firing of the coaching staff, brining the coordinator back to the quarterback ranks for the 2014 season where he worked with the Philadelphia Eagles.

After learning the principles of the Chip Kelly offense for one season, Musgrave managed to land on his feet sooner than after his last coordinator firing, getting back into the playcalling ranks after just one season when he was hired by the Raiders in January. Talking to the media last week, Del Rio was confident in his decision to bring back the coordinator he once fired after two seasons.

Del Rio made sure that it was known that he and Musgrave ended their coaching relationship on good terms, which is what made it easy to bring back a coordinator he feels has grown since 2004 after working with Adrian Peterson in power running before the season of becoming familiar with the Chip Kelly offense in Philly.

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“Bill and I left on good terms,” Del Rio said during his lunch meeting with Bay Area media members. “He’s a good man. Since that time, he’s been a coordinator and a quarterbacks coach and has been exposed to different systems. He’s done power running with Adrian Peterson. He’s been exposed to Chip Kelly and the Oregon approach. If you look at his experience, he’s gone through quite a bit and has been battle hardened. He’s worked with me before and understands the demands I’ll place. I think it’s a good fit for us”

Del Rio is also excited to add Musgrave to the staff because of those reasons, hoping that the now well travelled coordinator can take the Raiders to a level the team did not reach with the past coaching staff that had the offense led by the embattled Greg Olson.

“I’m very excited to bring him aboard. I think he’s poised to maximize our ability. He’s a bright guy. I thought he was bright back then, but both of us were kind of green. We were both making our way and, as we get back together now, I think we’re both a lot wiser and a lot better prepared.”

The jury will be out on Musgrave, who has just two winning seasons as a coordinator even with the superstar running talents of Adrian Peterson during his three years with the Vikings, but his relationship with Del Rio along with his experiences all over the NFL map make him an interesting hire. Should Musgrave take the best of what he has learned from Chip Kelly in 2014 and incorporate them with the power running game he is known for the Raiders could have a balanced offense in 2015 that could breed success which is something that Del Rio appears to be confident in by bringing back his former coordinator.