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Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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Old 07-08-2011, 09:50 AM   #16
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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Originally Posted by GTripp0012 View Post
NFL offensive coordinator is not a position where typically the criticisms of your work are fair.

With that qualification in place, I'd question whether or not he was a hot name based on his work with the Texans. One thing is for sure: he's young and has some upside as a pro coach. On our coaching staff, that's important. We need new ideas constantly. Mike Shanahan and Jim Haslett and Danny Smith and others have been around the block in the NFL with less-than-promising results. Kyle at least deserves the shot to fail, which is not something you can say about the lot of our coaches.

2010 was a pretty big failure though. The longer Sherm Lewis remains the gold standard of what the Redskins offense can accomplish, the longer we will go since being a model franchise. As a staple of who he is, Kyle Shanahan just isn't formation diverse. That's fine, because you can do a lot out of a couple of formations and personnel packages and using motion to work between those formations, but he's a pass heavy playcaller who isn't formation or package diverse, and that's what doesn't fly in the NFC East.

The gag of throwing the football with running personnel on the field creates opportunities for the big play, but he almost then needs a super efficient running game to be the heart beat of the offense because you don't have screens or quick passes in there to move the ball consistently down the field. But he's one to let his offensive personnel dictate if he's going to run the ball at all.

The problem, then, is that at worst, their is no consistent principle present in the offense. Sometimes you can play the super bowl champs and win 16-13 because you caught a second team safety deep in the fourth quarter for a fifty yard score...but that relies on your bottom quartile defense being able to hold the Packers offense to basically no positive movement after the first quarter, AND to force the GW T.O. in overtime. Point is, it can work, but when you try to repeat the model six weeks later against the Vikings, Brett Favre gets on the edge a couple of times and you lose to a bad team.

Kyle Shanahan needs to demonstrate the ability to create formation mismatches so that the Redskins can throw the ball for 6-12 yards at a time with consistency, so that they can choose when to employ the running game and when to force opponents to defend the pass. The current model is one that I just don't think works. You can have the personnel to throw downfield a lot, and it creates big yards in the aggregate, but it puts a lot of pressure on the defense to keep you in the game.

I think 2010 was the worst case scenario under Kyle Shanahan, but I don't think that excuses his approach entirely.
Don't you think that it's more important to get players that can create their own mismatches? The Colts don't formation you to death or use a lot of motion. I think it's more important to get some better players in here and work on execution.
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Old 07-08-2011, 09:53 AM   #17
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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Someone saids that if his name was Kyle Anderson he would not be taking all this criticism. Maybe so... If his name was Kyle Anderson and had the same track record, he might not be an OC in the NFL yet. Double-edged sword there...


Consider the possibility that Kyle Shanahan got his job in Houston in the first place because the head coach in Houston had been Mike Shanahan's OC for years in Denver. Sometimes it is as much who you know as what you know...


BTW, Gary Kubiak was a pretty good OC in Denver and was even better when John Elway was under center.


Offensive coordinators do not make great QBs or great offenses. Really good offensive players can make any offensive coordinator look a lot smarter than he really is.


A major part of coaching - - or being a coordinator - - is the ability to handle the differing peronalities and egos on the football team that the coach is handed. The Shanahans (Kyle AND Mike) handled the Donovan McNabb fiasco about as ham-handedly as you could imagine. Mike Shanahan - - based on his experience - - should have known better. Obviously, Kyle Shanahan still has a lot to learn about that part of coaching/coordinating.


Are we ready for the dawn of the "John Beck Era"?
Exactly. I don't like it that Mike hired his son. Bad idea imo, but I think Kyle can do the job if he has the players and the QB around him. He's already proven that in Houston.
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Old 07-09-2011, 05:14 PM   #18
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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Don't you think that it's more important to get players that can create their own mismatches? The Colts don't formation you to death or use a lot of motion. I think it's more important to get some better players in here and work on execution.
In a word, yes, I think that is more important. But that was true even when Zorn was here.

It's also based on what you value in the players. The Patriots value players like Danny Woodhead and Aaron Hernandez who...half the reason why they are on an NFL roster at all is because they come into the huddle and dictate what personnel the defense puts on the field, but then they can go and line up anywhere in the formation to make Brady's job easy. Same deal with Saints TEs and WRs such as Jimmy Graham, David Thomas, Reggie Bush, Devery Henderson, and Marques Colston.

Even if you gave Kyle Shanahan any of those players, I don't think he would create any mismatches with them. I think if the Redskins offense is going to be successful, the Shanahan's are going to do it by being 1) more disciplined, and 2) more talented than the opponent. But there's no special skill set to being a Kyle Shanahan football player, and that's evidenced by his use of Keiland Williams, Chris Cooley, Anthony Armstrong, et al in 2011. He's young and has ideas and values, but he's not a great offensive mind.
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Old 07-09-2011, 05:33 PM   #19
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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I think if his name was Kyle Anderson and not related to the head coach we wouldn't hear any of this criticism but he's an easy target because he's young, relatively inexperienced and the son of a big name-big ego head coach. He was already being criticized when he was hired because it was seen in some (ignorant) circles as nepotism.

To judge him on last years production with a constantly revolving line, a complete in season overhaul (starting with Portis & Larry Johnson-finishing with Torrain & Keiland Williams), one of the worst WR corps in recent NFL memory-also in constant flux and a QB who wouldn't/didn't grasp and implement the system is ridiculous.

In watching the games again this offseason, I see lots of potential for this offense to be explosive. More passes downfield than we'd seen in decades, more opportunities to move the chains (squandered by lack of execution on McNabb or the lines part in many cases) and more opportunities to score points in the red zone than we'd seen in the recent past. If Gano connects on 50% more of his FG we're talking about at least an 8 win team last year. We were in position to make plays and score points, we just didn't.

He's got work to do this year for sure. Establish (and commit to) the running game more. Get Davis more involved in the passing game. Continue to get Armstrong the ball and incorporate Hankerson in the passing game. Figure out a way to get the ball in Banks hands 3-5 times a game.

I have few concerns about Kyle as a coach and think we've got a future star on the sidelines.
Are you at all concerned that the pretty good Texans offense truly exploded when Kyle left? I mean sure, it doesn't take a genius to draw up plays that will allow Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels, and Andre Johnson to put up their numbers, but Kyle left and the Texans found that they had great pieces in Arian Foster, Vonta Leach, and Joel Dressen as well, not to mention they finally found five offensive lineman who could be their starting OL 4 years from now.

I don't know how much that really says about Kyle, probably nothing, but if he's going to be given a pass based on his success with the Texans, it's worth pointing out that the Texans offense w/o Kyle was better than it was with him.
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:24 PM   #20
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

Kyle is not indanger and I think is a decent coach and we will see improvement this year.

I think Haslett's lesh is very short at this point. If he doesnt get it together this year, he's done for sure.
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Old 07-09-2011, 09:41 PM   #21
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

Interesting. I am neither for or against Kyle. I can not develop an opinion on him in one season. So it is interesting to hear both sides. One thing I notice is the people that defend Kyle say give him more time. One thing the Shanahan's did not give Donovan McNabb. Which is what probably pisses off the people that criticize Kyle.
Norv Turner had great success with HOF's Aikman, Smith, Irvin, Novacek and Johnston. The very next season he immediately did poorly with Heath Shuler running the same system. Then later he does OK with Brad Johnson.
Kyle had success with Schaub and Johnson. But Schaub and Johnson had success before Kyle and they had even better success since he left. The Texans did not fall apart or skip a beat when Kyle left.
I think this shows talent is more important or as important the the coaching. The great players will play well as long as their coaches are competent. Coach does have to be great.
Kyle's large reputation as he was leaving the Texans and on his way to the Redskins was a bit larger than reality.
I think that is what is irking the haters.
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Old 07-09-2011, 10:24 PM   #22
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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Originally Posted by skinsfan69 View Post
Don't you think that it's more important to get players that can create their own mismatches? The Colts don't formation you to death or use a lot of motion. I think it's more important to get some better players in here and work on execution.
It depends on how you define important.

I think execution is essential regardless of the talent level.
And I think we all can agree that its easier to coach and with better talent.
But, banking on always having superior talent to win, in a league filled with the best players in the world, is a tall order.

Imo schematic or strategic superiority trumps all.
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Old 07-09-2011, 11:27 PM   #23
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

i didnt realize people were throwing kyle under the bus. i thought our offense did alright considering our #2 receiver was playing in the intense football league the year before or whatever. our running back was an undrafted rookie for a decent part of the season, and an untested 4th round pick coming off injuries (torrain) for most of the rest.
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Old 07-10-2011, 01:27 PM   #24
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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Are you at all concerned that the pretty good Texans offense truly exploded when Kyle left? I mean sure, it doesn't take a genius to draw up plays that will allow Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels, and Andre Johnson to put up their numbers, but Kyle left and the Texans found that they had great pieces in Arian Foster, Vonta Leach, and Joel Dressen as well, not to mention they finally found five offensive lineman who could be their starting OL 4 years from now.

I don't know how much that really says about Kyle, probably nothing, but if he's going to be given a pass based on his success with the Texans, it's worth pointing out that the Texans offense w/o Kyle was better than it was with him.
Come now, sir. The Houston Texans offense did not "explode" when Kyle left.

In 2009 they were number 4 in total offense. In 2010, they were number three.

In 2010, the Texans were number 4 in passing offense. In 2009 they were number one.

In 2010, they were 9th in scoring offense. In 2009 they were tenth.

In 2010, Matt Schaub passed for 4,370 yards, 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. In 2009, he passed for 4,770 yards (most in the league), 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

The only statistical category the Texans truly improved in was rushing offense, where they ranked 30th. But even then, when Arian Foster finally worked his way into the starting line up for the last two games in 2009, he rushed for 97 yards and 119 yards.

And even a more balanced offensive attack and the league's leading rusher only bumped them from four to three in total offense.

So no, sir, I wouldn't call that an "explosion", nor is it proof that the team did better when Kyle left.
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:29 PM   #25
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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Come now, sir. The Houston Texans offense did not "explode" when Kyle left.

In 2009 they were number 4 in total offense. In 2010, they were number three.

In 2010, the Texans were number 4 in passing offense. In 2009 they were number one.

In 2010, they were 9th in scoring offense. In 2009 they were tenth.

In 2010, Matt Schaub passed for 4,370 yards, 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. In 2009, he passed for 4,770 yards (most in the league), 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

The only statistical category the Texans truly improved in was rushing offense, where they ranked 30th. But even then, when Arian Foster finally worked his way into the starting line up for the last two games in 2009, he rushed for 97 yards and 119 yards.

And even a more balanced offensive attack and the league's leading rusher only bumped them from four to three in total offense.

So no, sir, I wouldn't call that an "explosion", nor is it proof that the team did better when Kyle left.
Why are you using total offense ranking to examine a claim that a very good offense got much better? A ranking can't show you that.

What I said was based on the DVOA totals of the Texans offense, which more than doubled in 2010. They weren't the best offense in the league in 2010 because they weren't the Patriots.

You probably already know that passing offense, scoring offense, and total offense are highly correlated. But rushing offense isn't strongly correlated to those three. Teams that run better than other teams don't generally score more points, and it has hardly any bearing on how many yards they throw for. But they get more first downs, control time of possession, and dominate critical end of game scenarios.

And when you go from a team that absolutely can't run the ball and you produce the NFL's leading rusher the following year with no meaningful passing dropoff, how is that not a huge gain? They went from the worst rushing team in football under Shanahan to perhaps the best under Dennison. Only the Pats and Eagles would join the Texans in the discussion for the most improved offenses in 2010.

I don't think you can shrug off going from worst to best at rushing the ball as insignificant. I'll give you that it doesn't affect point scoring all that much, but teams need to both score AND prevent points. Teams that run efficiently prevent points.

More shocking is that the Redskins offense somehow declined from 2009 to 2010. In a year, we'll know if it was just a one year fluke.
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:36 PM   #26
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

...Isn't this really just battling one set of stats versus a different set of stats?
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:41 PM   #27
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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...Isn't this really just battling one set of stats versus a different set of stats?
If it is, it's the difference between using the right stats and the wrong stats. I'm just trying to show that the specific claim of Houston offense 2010>2009 is airtight. I actually think explode is a good word, though I admit that word doesn't make one think of Arian Foster's 2010 season, which is really what we're talking about.

Now what was Kyle Shanahan's role on that switch? I may be implying that he might have had a limiting effect on the Texans, but that's not supported by the evidence. All we know is that the Texans ran the ball really, really well w/Dennison, and Kyle didn't value the running game much here. I don't want to go any further with that claim. I just want to point out that 2010 weakened the idea that Kyle Shanahan was boy genius with the Texans.
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:05 PM   #28
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

I don't think Kyle has any problem running the football when he has a player that can run the football. Steve Slaton rushed for 1,282 yards in 2008, before he bulked up and was ineffective and coughed up fumbles and got hurt in 2009.

He showed he didn't have a problem running the ball with Ryan Torain, when Torain was healthy and when he can be effective.

I even said, the one place the Texans improved was in the run game. So yes, in that facet, the Houston Texans offense DID explode, but ranking wise (I know, bad set of stats) that explosion didn't mean a whole lot in terms of the rankings, nor did it make a hugely noticeable difference in Matt Schaub's performance as a quarterback, the offenses ability to score, etc., etc.,..
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Old 07-10-2011, 07:19 PM   #29
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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I don't think Kyle has any problem running the football when he has a player that can run the football. Steve Slaton rushed for 1,282 yards in 2008, before he bulked up and was ineffective and coughed up fumbles and got hurt in 2009.

He showed he didn't have a problem running the ball with Ryan Torain, when Torain was healthy and when he can be effective.

I even said, the one place the Texans improved was in the run game. So yes, in that facet, the Houston Texans offense DID explode, but ranking wise (I know, bad set of stats) that explosion didn't mean a whole lot in terms of the rankings, nor did it make a hugely noticeable difference in Matt Schaub's performance as a quarterback, the offenses ability to score, etc., etc.,..
I think your argument is fair: they didn't score a bunch more points or throw for a bunch more yards. Maybe then, to me, it's more impressive that the offense got better, arguably much better, in 2011. Because they were already quite good when Kyle called the offense. It's difficult for me to explain how they could have gotten so much better if they didn't score more points.

Perhaps Kyle actually maximized scoring for the Texans offense. With that said, they missed the playoffs by a game, and lost a number of close games in 2009. So the ineffectiveness of the running games was probably chiefly responsible for the Texans missing the playoffs as otherwise a really good team. Like I said, you can either credit Kyle for doing what he could without a running game, or you can criticize him for never developing a running game that could put away opponents in a year the Texans underachieved. Kyle was probably in between a great asset and a huge liability for the Texans in 2009, but you often only get one side of the story.

But your other point is more important to me: if Kyle thinks that Ryan Torain is a guy who should get carries and Keiland Williams isn't (as I criticized him during the season), there's no doubt that he's more responsible for the lack of rushing offenses under his watch the last two years. Giving Torain carries has been a weak strategic decision based on his propensity to lose yards in like 27% of his carries, but at least because he can break off the "big" (14 yards!) run from time to time, it's a worthwhile alternative to throwing every play.

But to not give Keiland Williams, a better runner IMO, the same opportunity you give a relatively valueless player like Torain, that's why he's open to criticism at this point. And I think you're absolutely right in your assessment. Torain gets opportunities that Williams doesn't, all else equal. But this is hardly a defense of Kyle. It's a criticism. And like you pointed out with Slaton, this is two years in a row he's let an ineffective back carry the load. At least in Houston, Kubiak forced Kyle's hand after Slaton couldn't hold on to the ball and benched him. Two years running now suggests that Kyle wouldn't have done that on his own.

There's a lot to consider there, but the bottom line is that Kyle Shanahan offenses let ineffective backs run the football, and that has shown strong in the results. Gary Kubiak made Arian Foster a starter, and that turned out great. I highly doubt Keiland Williams is the next Arian Foster (or even Redskins starter), but Kyle and Torain are acting as obstacles to find out.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:11 PM   #30
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

I like Keiland Williams as well, a lot, actually. And I agree he's a much better runner in the scheme. But...I guess the illusion was that Torain was more productive. Actually, I agree, I have no idea why Keiland didn't get more touches. YOU WIN THAT ONE, SIR!

But in 2009, Kyle had no running backs. His number one back got injured. They tried inserting guys in there, but couldn't find anyone. But when Arian Foster came in and he played well, they let him play, and he played well.

I don't think Kyle has a problem running the ball, I just think he has to find the guy to run the ball consistently.

Or maybe Mike needs to smack Kyle upside the head sometimes and tell him to run the ball or he'll have to mow the grass
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