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Continued: Webb impresses new coordinator

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: March 3, 2011 - 11:12 PM

The Vikings made quarterback news Thursday when they announced that they will not tender a contract to Tarvaris Jackson who, as a result, likely will not be with the team in 2011 after wearing the purple for five seasons.

One of the reasons Jackson was not retained is Vikings coach Leslie Frazier and his new offensive staff think second-year quarterback Joe Webb has a good future.

New offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has been impressed with Webb after spending a lot of time studying film of the rookie quarterback's limited performances last season.

"I've been impressed with Joe," he said. "He's a great athlete and looks like he's got some composure and poise to him as well. He made some good decisions and some good judgments. I like the way he climbs up in the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield."

Musgrave also liked Webb's scrambling ability.

"Defensive coordinators have a tough time accounting for quarterbacks that can make plays with their legs," Musgrave said. "He seems to have that demeanor that you look for. I think the team gravitates towards him. I've enjoyed visiting with him so far on the phone in the short time that we've been here."

Musgrave added, "What is very tough for a young quarterback is reading the defenses in the NFL because they are distinctly different than college defenses, so it's quite a jump and quite an adjustment."

Coached many QBs

Musgrave has coached no less than nine quarterbacks in the NFL.

"I've been lucky to be in the right place at the right time in a bunch of instances," he said. "I've been able to coach guys at the end of the career, like Steve Beuerlein, and also guys at the beginning of their career, like Matt Ryan. I've really enjoyed it. The quarterback position is fun because those guys are sharp and they're very, very competitive.

"I started with Jeff George years ago with the Oakland Raiders. I already mentioned Steve Beuerlein. Rodney Peete, of course; Koy Detmer there in Philadelphia for a time. Byron Leftwich, Mark Brunell, David Garrard, had a good time with Patrick Ramsey there with the Washington Redskins along with Mark Brunell. It's been fun to be around a bunch of good people, that's for sure."

Musgrave talked more about Ramsey, who joined the Vikings at the end of the year when Brett Favre was injured and is still on the roster.

"Patrick has had a super career after coming out of Tulane. He's a sharp kid," Musgrave said. "He really started football a little bit late, he was a javelin thrower in high school, competed in the Pan-Am Games and he evolved to playing quarterback, so he did a good job in all sports."

The Vikings will be Musgrave's seventh organization as a professional coach, so he has worked for a lot of NFL head coaches.

"I would guess a half- dozen, possibly more," he said. "I had a great chance to work with George Seifert, of course Joe Gibbs, Jack Del Rio down in Jacksonville and Mike Smith [in Atlanta] most recently. In between there it was Jim Mora and Bob Petrino there in Atlanta initially.

"Moving around happened early in my coaching career. It's one of the downsides of coaching. That's a great chance to really start with a clean slate and get the Vikings back where they belong in the postseason so we can make some noise."

U coaches find work

Most of Tim Brewster's Gophers football coaching staff have found other college positions, but a few remain on the market. John Butler is with South Carolina as a special teams coach. Kevin Cosgrove is the defensive coordinator for Akron. Tim Davis was hired as an offensive line coach at Utah. Thomas Hammock left the Gophers to be the running backs coach at Wisconsin. Former interim head coach Jeff Horton was hired as an assistant head coach at San Diego State. Derek Lewis was hired as tight ends coach at Florida. And Mark Hill was named strength and conditioning coach for Indiana.

Former defensive line coach Tim Cross has not been hired, but he recently interviewed with Auburn. Steve Watson, the Gophers' wide receivers coach, and Ronnie Lee, the co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach, have not yet found positions.

A number of Gophers are coming off surgeries. Linebacker Spencer Reeves, who had shoulder surgery, is not yet working out with the team but should be ready in the fall. Linebacker Mike Rallis, who also had postseason surgery for a sports hernia, is working out daily with the team in the morning.

On the other hand Kim Royston, the safety who missed all last season because of a broken leg in spring practice and was given a sixth year of eligibility, still is having problems and hasn't worked with the team to date. Coaches are hopeful Royston will be ready for fall practice.

Jottings

• With all the talk about serious concussions, such as the one that has sidelined Twins first baseman Justin Morneau since last July, Fred Zamberletti -- Vikings trainer for some 50 years and still associated with the team -- said several players over the years, including quarterback Tommy Kramer, suffered concussions. But in each case, the players came back to play after a period of time and none of their head injuries ended their football careers.

• There is no truth to the rumor posted on the Internet by one of the Gophers basketball players that Al Nolen, who has been sidelined because of a broken bone in his right foot, will play Sunday against Penn State. As of this week Nolen, a senior point guard, was still wearing a boot on his foot.

• Former Gopher Kyle Okposo had a great game for the Islanders on Wednesday against the Wild, with a goal and an assist in New York's 4-1 victory. Okposo has four goals and eight assists in 21 games this season.

• John Perpich, a former Gophers player and now a scout with the Atlanta Thrashers, said the addition of Blake Wheeler in a trade with the Bruins will give his team some offense it lacks. Wheeler has one goal and two assists in five games since being traded to the Thrashers.

• Recently acquired Wild prospect Finnish player Mikko Lehtonen leads the Swedish Elite league with 29 goals and is second in scoring with 57 points in 53 games.

• Former Gophers defense- man Erik Johnson has two goals and two assists since joining the Colorado Avalanche in the big trade with St. Louis.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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