Players Love Bugel

They complained about the line coach much of last season -- and the one before that. Kim Helton had strong ideas about how his linemen should play. And, they said, it didn't matter if that fit them or not. In some cases it didn't, leading to trouble for once-prized players.

And then came Joe Bugel. The season hasn't started, but his coaching has already been a relief to the offensive linemen. They might not be the Hogs. But they're like their ancestors in another way: they already love working with Bugel.

''He accepts guys for who they are,'' Redskins tackle Jon Jansen said. ''He's not out to fit you into a mold. If you get the job done, great. He'll coach what you do best. His flexibility will be beneficial.''

No one should benefit more from that flexibility than Samuels. Helton tinkered with his fundamentals and the Pro Bowler's play slipped under him, coincidence or not. Injuries contributed to his performance, but, others say, so, too, did Helton. Samuels also was hurt by not playing alongside a veteran guard, like a Keith Sims or Dave Szott -- both of whom guided him at times on the field.

But Helton also hurt Samuels' confidence by trying to tweak his game. Bugel won't do that.

''Chris is just as excited as everyone else about this,'' Jansen said.

Plus those who played here under Russ Grimm notice a similarity between their old boss and their new one. Which, given Grimm's ties to Bugel, is expected. Those who played for Grimm -- Jansen, Samuels and Cory Raymer -- loved him.

''I see Russ in Joe,'' Raymer said. ''In everything we do. Russ was one of our favorites and he came from the Bugel era. I can see it very much. He'll have fun with you and expect the world from you, but he'll also give the world to you. Everything is honest and you can have fun with him. Joe is bringing the same things back, down to the individual drills.''

The coaching link also makes it easier with terminology.

''It's pretty much the same,'' Raymer said. ''But through the years Bugel has really screwed the terminology up. Sooner or later we'll figure it out. We have 45 calls that start with R names and 45 that start with L. He knows more damn people whose names start with L and R than I ever met in my entire life.''

And they already know they can poke fun at Bugel. He might be older -- though you wouldn't know it now that his gray hair is black.

''He's a mix between Tony Soprano and Shakespeare,'' Raymer said. ''He's an Italian mob philosopher. It's been enjoyable. He's a different kind of cat in a good way. He helps when the meetings are two, three hours long and he brings some excitement.''


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