The most intriguing offense in the NFL is the one Chip Kelly deploys in Philadelphia with the Eagles. It's the one Kelly brought with him from the University of Oregon when he was hired by the Eagles two seasons ago. That's the offense Raiders Bill Musgrave spent last season immersed in as Eagles QB coach. He wants to bring some of what he learned there with him to Oakland as Offensive Coordinator.
"The last 12 months have been terrific for me to see the system here in Philadelphia - be a part of it, be a contributor," said Musgrave. "We're going to do quite a bit if it fits what the players can do there in Oakland. We're looking forward to getting out on the field in the spring and really finding out where their strengths lie. We talked about tailoring our system to fit them, but I've got a hunch that a lot of the things we did here in Philadelphia will match up real nice and be effective."
Over his career as an Offensive Coordinator, Musgrave has been seen as a conservative minded playcaller. He ran a lot in his two seasons in Jacksonville as well as his three seasons in Minnesota. Then again, would you if your running backs were Fred Taylor (Jaguars) and Adrian Peterson (Minnesota), and your quarterbacks were Byron Leftwich, Christian Ponder, and Matt Cassel?
This meshes up pretty well with what Musgrave said on Tuesday about his plans with the Raiders. While he said he is intrigued by the talents of Latavius Murray at running back, he won't be rigid in his run first philosophy if he doesn't think it fits the personnel.
"Well, it probably depends on the players," said Musgrave. "I'm definitely not going to come in with a system and force anybody to do something that's not natural. We're definitely going to try to customize and tailor the Raiders' system to fit the Raider players. Philosophically, I do believe in running the football. I definitely want to be a physical outfit that runs the ball and imposes their will on the defense. At the same time, it's difficult to defend through the passing game and through being diverse."
That is all easy to say, but as we've seen in the past, it doesn't always work out that way. Greg Olson said similar things about tailoring the offensive gameplan to fit the players. And yet far too often the team's best players were not properly utilized.
The Raiders were also supposed to commit to the run last season and then started putting the game more and more on the arm of rookie Derek Carr. The result was rookie records in pass attempts and a 13-loss season.
To find out if Musgrave's words are just words or not, I spoke with Christopher Gates who covers the Vikings for SB Nation site Daily Norseman to get his take on Musgrave as an offensive coordinator.
He echoed the idea that the run-first mentality of Musgrave was more out of necessity due to the talent of Adrian Peterson and the lack of talent at the QB position. But he also added an interesting tidbit.
"Another thing that he seemed to excel at while he was in Minnesota was ‘manufacturing touches' for certain players, such as Percy Harvin and Cordarrelle Patterson, who might not have traditionally defined roles in a team's offense but need to have the ball in their hands. I don't know the Oakland roster well enough to know if they have any players like that, but if they do, Musgrave will find a way to get them the football."
At this instant the Raiders don't have any talent the likes of Cordarrelle Patterson or Percy Harvin. But there is free agency and the draft between now and the next time they take the practice field.
You can expect by the time Musgrave draws up a gameplan for the Raiders, he will have some more pieces to work with. And if his time in Minnesota as well as what he learned from his time in Chip Kelly's offense in Philly are any indication, we could see them deployed in some pretty interesting ways.