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Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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Old 07-07-2011, 01:47 AM   #1
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Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

By the way, when I saw "we", I'm generalizing, as some people like him more than others.

But I see a lot of criticism of Kyle, if not around here, at other forums, certainly in the media where he more or less get destroyed on a regular basis. But I'm trying to figure out if the criticism of him is fair or not.

When we talk about what Kyle Shanahan had to work with, he was just as hamstrung, if not more hamstrung, by the same issues that plagued McNabb.

People complained about him not running the ball enough, when neither of his two starting caliber running backs could stay healthy.

People complained about him not using enough 2 tight end sets, when they used 2 tight end sets a lot. Now, one tight end was usually kept in to block, but when I look back at the last game of the season, I do see players where Cooley would be split out white and Fred would be lined up at tight end and they were both running routes.

People complain that offense wasn't creative enough, but when the opportunity presented itself, I thought the play calls could be creative, like motion Banks into the backfield and the running a playaction bootleg off it, trying the Wildcat.

But he had to deal with the same problems McNabb did and then some. Problems with the offensive line. Having all of four viable pass catching weapons, and then because of the problems with the offensive line, he couldn't use one of them most of the time, so you had three. On a good week. His running backs couldn't stay healthy.

And then, he had a quarterback who either couldn't operate, didn't understand or didn't want to understand his offense, and didn't want to tweak---not drastically change, but just tweak---some of his fundamentals.

But it seems like Kyle gets a brunt of the flack for the anemic offense. After being a wunderkind in Houston, all the sudden he's this inept tool who disrespected Donovan McNabb and ruined the offense who's career in coaching is probably ruined and the only reason he's around is because he's Mike's son, when he'd been in Houston for...what, five years before Mike ever hired him?

It just seems like people have unfairly piled onto Kyle for things Kyle couldn't fix.

Am I wrong here? Did I miss something?
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Old 07-07-2011, 03:27 AM   #2
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:26 AM   #3
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:27 AM   #4
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

quote: But before we behead Shanahan and his offensive gameplans, like many appear to be doing, shouldn’t we at least give this guy some time?

Washington Redskins: Kyle Shanahan's Stock Up or Down After Recent Revelations | Bleacher Report
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:50 AM   #5
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

I guess some people expected him to be a miracle worker. He just didn't have the horses, especially compared to what he was working with in Houston.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:15 AM   #6
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

We have had a poor to bad offensive line, not much of a running game, a weak WR core, and not much at the QB position.

Kyle's not to blame.

I think we're going to get better but it takes some time.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:19 AM   #7
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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Originally Posted by redsk1 View Post
We have had a poor to bad offensive line, not much of a running game, a weak WR core, and not much at the QB position.

Kyle's not to blame.

I think we're going to get better but it takes some time.
That pretty much sums it up. Schaub/Andre Johnson > any QB on our roster/our entire receiving corps combined.

Give the guy some weapons and some time.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:35 AM   #8
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

November-2nd
(I even agree about the need to use pure roll outs which they haven't been using but they have been using bootlegs which is a roll-out after a playaction)
Kyle and the offensive staff need to realize that our OL is limited and adjust their playcalling and gameplan accordingly.
Imo it seems as if Kyle thinks there's adequate pass protection to run the 5-7 drop passing game they ran in Houston and that simply isn't the case here.
Imo we need to see more of the short rhythm passing game we saw in McNabb best game as Redskin.
Against the Texans McNabb/Kyle started the game off the game with passes: quick pass in the flat to FB, quick slant, FB in the flat, WR screen.
The passes were simple reads, plant and throw get the ball out quick it helps get the QB in rhythm and it gives the OL and the QB confidence that they can drop back and not get blown-up.
But, we haven't seen a lot of the short passing game since then.
We gone back to play-action bootlegs which can be very effective but are protection intensive.
Imo we can't start games expecting great pass pro, we got to start off with the quick rhythm stuff to build rhythm and confidence and go from there.

I still have faith in Kyle and staff but they gotta put a better product out on the field from a playcalling aspect and take the pressure off and sub-par OL.


Dec 8, 2010
I'm certain he'll pull it together but i just hoped he would start off better.
But, this is the 1st time Kyle has designed an offensive gameplan from scratch, in Houston he was handed the keys to a pre-built offense and just tweaked it.

Here he has to learn the personnel and design an offense that maximizes its limited talent.

And compared to last seasons (2009) less talented unit this (2010) unit is more talented yet has performed worse in every possible way in the passing game.
Its not the individual playcalls that bother me.
I'm probably one of the few this forum that sees nothing wrong with a toss play on 3rd and short.
Its the overall game design that bothers me.
With Fred Davis and Chris Cooley as argueably our 2 best targets you would think they would be a mjaor focal point of the passing game.
I cringe whenever i watch the Packers, Patriots, Saints and Texans use their TEs as a major part of their offenses and here we sit with as good if not better tandem of TEs.
But Davis is barely on the field: Giants game he played 24 of 66 snaps against the Vikings i believe it was 19 of 55.
And despite having the highest catch rate on the team and being rated by football outsiders as the 4th TE in the league he's 7th on the team in targets, Mike Sellers even has more targets.
I'm not sure who's call it was having old man Joey out there but OMJ poached targets from both Armstrong and Davis who have actually been productive with their targets.
Not getting the ball to AA more imo is a mistake.
He doesn't appear to be commited to the running game unless its part of the opening script.
Look at the opening script of the Vikings game imo it was far better then the play calling the rest of the game.
He's been slow to find a solution when the bootleg game gets blitzed, and its been getting blitzed since the Rams game.
We're still a 5-7 step drop passing offense despite the lack of pass protection.
He in the route assignments he doesn't send Tana deep often and has him running slants and in between the hash routes when everyone knows that Tana is an outside the numbers WR that cannot execute the slant.
Our short game (quick game and 3 step drop game) just started to get going and part of that is McNabb's fault for not making the correct read or holding the ball looking downfield in the face of pressure.
But the OC has to have the QB prepared to recognize when and where to make the quick checkdown based on pass rush and down and distance.
Part of the problem is McNabb no doubt but the OC has to create an offense that makes the QB comfortable and the QB can execute at a high level.
Getting the QB hit a ton b/c he's taking 5-7 step drops doesn't seem like the way to make a QB comfortable.
Another solutoin to the quick/short passing game would be to use the screen game more.
We used it very well against the Titans (i think) and its seems like we put it back on the shelf.


February-4th-
I was one of Kyle biggest proponents when he was announced as the OC.
I still believe the scheme is sound and that Kyle is gonna be a very good play caller and OC.
But I consider this season a disappointment on offense for these reasons:

Personnel:
o not settling on an OL prior to the start of the season if Artis Hicks and Dockery didn't fit the system they should have figured that out during the offseason/preseason
o WR development: starting and playing Joey Galloway stunted the development of the WRs behind him and it hurt the production of the passing game (Old man Joey had the worst catch rate and got more targets and playing time then Fred Davis)
*o* Underuse of Fred Davis. Despite having the highest catch rate on the team and a high YPC Davis received fewer targets and less playing time then the 3rd WR which had the lowest catch rate on the team

Formations/General:
o not very multiple from a formations standpoint; We often showed the look of different formations but seldom made use of them but teams like the Steelers vary from power run sets to bunch to 5 wide and use each set often
o Underuse of double TE passing sets
o lack of creativity in designing plays specifically to get the ball in space to players like Moss or even Banks
o limited use of the screen game

o Lack of Balance/Commitment to the run

o Handling of McNabb

2010 Numbers:
31st/29.3% in 3rd down conversion (2009 16th/39.8%)
22nd/51% in RZ conversion (2009 8th/56%)

I'm hard on Kyle because I had much higher expectations my grade: D


March-7th
Last year was Kyle's 1st time putting an offense together from scratch (in Houston he inherited an already assembled offense) and I look to see improvement next season.

I expect to see better run/pass balance and better use of our personnel.

I think the offense as a unit will improve (including efficiency) simply because of Kyle's growth as an OC which will have a trickle down effect to improved play from the QB position

now sprinkle in some upgrades along the OL (RT-RG/C) and imo you have a decent offense.

May-10th
I think Kyle knows what he doing when it comes to the passing game.
I think Kyle is a forward thinker in regards to the passing game ala that prick Josh McDaniels.
I think Kyle deserves a QB that fits exactly what he wants and I believe that if Kyle gets that QB he can produce a very good passing offense this season.(provided we re-sign Moss)
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Last edited by 30gut; 07-07-2011 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 07-07-2011, 11:25 AM   #9
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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.


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Old 07-07-2011, 12:03 PM   #10
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

I think he will get better in time. All our offense was terrible last year. I'm predicting significant improvement this year and it will show. But because he is Mike's son i think there will always be more criticism than normal
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:06 PM   #11
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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Originally Posted by sportscurmudgeon View Post
Offensive coordinators do not make great QBs or great offenses.
I agree with your overall point but I disagree with the above.
Good OCs make players better.

That's the whole point of coaching to take the talent you have and make them better.

For example:
Chan Gailey: Ryan Fitzpatrick,Tyler Thigpen
Josh McDaniels: Kyle Orton, Matt Cassell
Mike Shanahan+Bobby Turner: Almost every RB they've ever had
etc....
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Last edited by 30gut; 07-07-2011 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:23 PM   #12
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

I mean, you gotta remember, Mike won a lot of football games with some quarterbacks that would make you scratch your head. He wasn't going to get over the hump with some of those guys, but the fact that he won with some less than ideal quarterbacks says something.

And let's look at what Andy Reid has done. How many times did the Eagles not miss a step when McNabb got injured, and then they somehow turned around and spun those guys into draft picks and trades, and then those guys went elsewhere and did exactly frak all? Heck, that even happened with McNabb.

So yeah, sometimes it is the offensive coordinator over the player at the position, or at least how the offense is designed.
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Old 07-07-2011, 01:32 PM   #13
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

As far as I'm concerned Kyle is just a kid that hasn't done anything yet.
Until he helps deliver me some consistent playoff wins, that's his status.
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:02 PM   #14
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

In that case, only two of our coordinators have done anything; Mike and Bobby Turner.

The "you're not anything until you win me some playoff games!" mentality has been one that's stunted the growth of this football team for a long time, which is why we've switched so many coordinators, which has led to so much inconsistency.
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:40 PM   #15
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Re: Are we being fair to Kyle Shanahan?

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Originally Posted by NLC1054 View Post
In that case, only two of our coordinators have done anything; Mike and Bobby Turner.

The "you're not anything until you win me some playoff games!" mentality has been one that's stunted the growth of this football team for a long time, which is why we've switched so many coordinators, which has led to so much inconsistency.
Doesnt the head coach pick the OC?
If so then the OC selection has nothing to do with this teams "stunted growth".
The root cause there belongs to Snyders inability to find a decent coach.
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