- The Washington Times - Monday, February 25, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS - When it became clear the Washington Redskins were moving in another direction with their coach and offensive passing game, they wasted no time in jettisoning Al Saunders and Gregg Williams. To which Scott Linehan and Jack Del Rio say, “Thank you very much.”

Linehan chose Saunders to call the St. Louis Rams’ offensive plays, and Del Rio called on Williams to run the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense.

Linehan will give up play-calling duties with St. Louis, which holds the second pick in the NFL Draft; Williams replaces Mike Smith, who became Atlanta’s new coach.

Saunders was hired Jan. 30, less than a week after being fired by the Redskins.

“It’s a great fit in a number of ways,” Linehan said. “We have similar approaches offensively. When Al went to Kansas City, you could see a transformation of his system so he could build things around a talented back like Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson.

“Al brings expertise. He puts a big emphasis on being able to run it and pass it, and there’s no secret you have to do both in this league to score points.”

The Rams’ offensive line was decimated by injuries last year, but St. Louis still has a number of weapons, chiefly quarterback Marc Bulger, running back Stephen Jackson and receiver Torry Holt.

Williams inherits a Jacksonville defense that has finished in the top six in yards allowed three times in Del Rio’s five years as coach.

Del Rio attended most defensive meetings last year and played a role in game-planning.

“We’re very similar in what we believe in in terms of having an attacking four-man front, being disruptive with our defensive line, having the linebackers run behind them and playing aggressive in the secondary,” Del Rio said. “We’ve been successful on defense and have established a high standard, and Gregg has been very good in the spots he’s been.”

Del Rio said the Jaguars will keep the same defensive terminology.

“We’re excited about this,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to go back through our system and listen to the ideas Gregg has.”

Linehan relinquished the play-calling after pulling the strings for St. Louis (two seasons), Miami (one season) and Minnesota (three seasons) in addition to the University of Louisville. Redskins coach Jim Zorn intends to call the plays this season, and Linehan knows that responsibility.

“It’s a tough challenge,” Linehan said. “I was a coordinator and play-caller my whole career, but there’s a lot of things that come with the head coaching position. I’m sure Jim will do a great job. You hire a great staff, and you get guys that can help you, and then you rely on them. I think Jim will assess it after doing it for a year and go from there.”

Looking to impress

Former Virginia Tech and Westfield High School receiver Eddie Royal is hoping to show teams during the evaluation process that he can be more than a return man. He cites Chicago’s Devin Hester and New England’s Wes Welker as players he wants to emulate.

Royal (5-foot-9½, 184 pounds) caught 33 passes for the Hokies last year but flashed some skill as a punt returner (14.7-yard average, two touchdowns) and kickoff returner (22.6-yard average on 14 attempts).

“Hester really showed how important a punt returner is,” Royal said. “And I think Welker is the exact type of player that I can become at the next level. He’s a great punt returner, but he gets into the slot receiver spot, and he really knows how to find those holes.

“It’s important to show teams that you can do everything. I can return kicks, I can play the slot and I can play [an outside receiver] position. I have to show teams how much I know about coverages and how much I know about playing the position.”

Glad to be back

Redskins assistant head coach-offensive line Joe Bugel said this weekend he never considered retirement once Joe Gibbs stepped down for a second time.

“I don’t think I was ever on the fence,” Bugel said. “I think [Dan Snyder] knows how I love being a Redskin, and Joe understands that, too. I’ll always love being here. If you coach your players, are still having fun and they know that, it’s easy to stay.”

This season will be Bugel’s 14th with the Redskins over two stints and his 31st in the NFL.

Dorsey: I’m fine

LSU defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey downplayed an Internet report yesterday that quoted an NFL team doctor saying there is concern over Dorsey’s 2006 stress fracture to his right tibia.

Dorsey went through the normal physical on Saturday but then was sent to the hospital for further tests. He is not working out at the combine, citing a delay in training because of the death of his grandmother.

Dorsey is projected as a top-five pick, but the tibia issue could hurt his status.

“Everybody gets nicked up, and that’s the way I look at it,” he said. “Who doesn’t go through a season without bumps and bruises? I don’t think it’s an issue at all. I’ve played in every game all four years at LSU. I don’t think it’s a problem at all.”

Dorsey fought knee, hamstring and back injuries last year for LSU but played in every game for the national champions.

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