Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs has wasted little time in mapping out plans for the 2006 season. Last Monday, he announced plans to turn play-calling responsibilities over to NFL veteran Al Saunders. Then, last Thursday, Gibbs promoted offensive assistant Bill Lazor to quarterbacks coach.
Lazor has some big shoes to fill. Last season, Bill Musgrave did an outstanding job in working with the Redskins' quarterbacks. Under Musgrave's watch, veteran Mark Brunell was able to resurrect his NFL career as he helped carry the Redskins to the second round of the playoffs.
Musgrave, who has a solid background in West Coast offense concepts, joined Jim Mora's staff with the Atlanta Falcons, where he will work with the talented Michael Vick.
In Washington, Lazor's primary task will be to continue the development of 2005 draft pick Jason Campbell. Certainly, Mark Brunell is a 13-year NFL veteran and does not need much one-on-one coaching to succeed. Meantime, Patrick Ramsey's future with the team is uncertain.
The Redskins are expected to turn the quarterback position over to Campbell, the 6-4, 230-pounder out of Auburn, at some point in the future.
Lazor will be the coach to help guide him through the inevitable ups and downs on the field.
As Lazor is well aware, if you want to be a coach on the Redskins, you had better be prepared to put in long hours. That's just the way it is on the coaching staff of Gibbs, who is known for his meticulous attention to detail.
"Certainly, I'm honored to work on a staff assembled by coach Gibbs, and to work for this organization," said Lazor. "I believe Redskins fans can sense the direction we're headed. They understand the excitement that goes along with it."
The Redskins' coaching staff is impressive in terms of its NFL experience and accomplishments. At age 33, Lazor is one of the younger members of the staff.
Lazor, who was with the Atlanta Falcons as their offensive quality control coach in 2003, has an Ivy League background. As Cornell's quarterback between 1991 and 1993, he set over two dozen passing and total offense records.
Ivy Leaguers root hard for one another to make it at the NFL level. Last year, Lazor was hoping for big things for linebacker Zak Keasey, the Princeton product who impressed Redskins coaches in training camp and in the preseason before eventually being released.
Before jumping to the NFL ranks, Lazor was offensive coordinator-quarterbacks coach for the University of Buffalo from 2001-2002. Previously, he served in numerous coaching capacities at Cornell.
Lazor worked closely with Musgrave last season. If you attended games at FedExField, you no doubt saw the former college quarterback tossing passes to the likes of Santana Moss, David Patten, James Thrash and Taylor Jacobs in the hours prior to each game.
Brunell was better than expected in the way he played for the Redskins of 2005 but at the same time there's little doubt that Campbell represents the future at the QB spot for the team. Whenever that transition comes, new position coach Bill Lazor will be working to make it a smooth one.