Archive for September, 2010

Meet Kyle Shanahan

Posted: September 14, 2010 in Redskins, Sports
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Kyle Shanahan, son of legendary head coach Mike Shanahan is primed to take the woeful Redskins’ offense to new levels this season.¬† Shanahan was named the teams offensive coordinator January 20th 2010, joining his father, Mike, on the new look coaching staff in Washington.

As you can already imagine, Kyle comes to the Redskins with a strong football background.  Shanahan was a wide receiver at Duke University in 1999, and transferred to the University of Texas the following year.  Shanahan got his first NFL coaching job under current Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen in 2004 as the Buccaneers offensive quality control coach.  In two seasons with the Bucs, he helped receivers Joey Galloway and Michael Clayton assert themselves in the NFL.  This might answer several questions regrading why Joey Galloway is listed as the Redskins current starting wide out.  While in Tampa Bay with both Bruce Allen and Kyle Shanahan, Galloway produced the most productive season of his career, finishing with 1,287 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Galloway finished 7th in receiving yards that season.

Michael Clayton is an interesting story,¬† Clayton was drafted 15th overall out of LSU in the 2004 NFL draft and instantly stole the heart of GM Bruce Allen.¬† In Clayton’s rookie season, he set franchise rookie records in both receptions (80) and touchdowns (7).¬† He also finished the season with 1,193 yards, seeing action in all 16 games.¬† Michael Clayton was released by the Buccaneers this past off season.¬† Clayton has yet to play in a complete season, since finishing his rookie campaign, due to injures, yet Allen and the Bucs hung on to the 27 year old, 6-5, 215lbs receiver because they loved his size, skill set and potential.¬†¬† I would not be at all surprised if the Redskins bring Clayton in for a look during the 2010 season.¬† The team is in need of a play making receiver to complement Santana Moss.

Now, back to Shanahan, for the past four seasons, Shanahan has been a part of the Texans’ coaching staff, starting out as receivers coach, working his way up to offensive coordinator.¬† While with the Texans, Shanahan helped All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson establish himself as one of the league’s best.¬† In the two seasons Shanahan spent as offensive coordinator, Johnson has appeared in two straight pro bowls.¬† Joining Johnson in the pro bowl were fellow Texans tight end Owen Daniels in 2008 and quarterback Matt Schaub in 2009.¬† In 2008 the Texans set a then franchise record 6,613 total yards, good enough for 3rd overall in the NFL.¬† That same season the Texans also set a franchise rushing record with 1,846 rushing yards, lead buy offensive rookie rushing leader Steve Slaton, who ran for a franchise record 1,282 yards, proving that Shanahan can run a well balanced offense.

In my Redskins’ season preview I broke down both Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson’s statistics and how they lead the best passing offense in the NFL under Kyle Shanahan.¬† It will be interesting to see how this all transitions here in Washington, with the likes of Donovan McNabb, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, Joey Galloway and Fred Davis. ¬† After watching Sunday night’s game against the Cowboys, it appears the team still has a lot of work to do under Shanahan if they want to replicate the same success he had while coaching in Houston.¬† It will be fun to see how the Redskins do against his former team this upcoming Sunday.

“With the 4th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins select Trent ‘Silver back’ Williams, offensive tackle, Oklahoma.” – Roger Goodell (4/22/10)

Last night, Trent Williams made his regular season debut at left tackle for the Washington Redskins.  A position that has been held for the past 10 seasons by 6-time Pro Bowler, and possible future hall of famer Chris Samuels.  Williams, the 6-5, 318 lbs tackle had some pretty big shoes to fill, not to mention he was going up against an All-Pro defensive end in DeMarcs Ware in that debut.  But after watching last nights game, Williams held his own.

Williams played in all 56 offensive plays for the Redskins, allowing 1 sack, and was called for one false start penalty, both coming late in the game.¬† The sack wasn’t exactly Williams’ fault, it was on a play with both DE DeMarcus Ware and LB Keith Brooking were rushing the quarterback from Williams’ side,¬† Brooking cut inside and Williams went to cover him, leaving Ware¬† uncovered and a free shot at Redskins QB Donovan McNabb.¬† If Williams had blocked Ware, I’m pretty sure it would have resulted in a Brooking sack.¬† The false start penlaty couldn’t have come at a worse time for Williams and the Redskins.¬† Just after the 2 minute warning the Redskins were looking at a 3rd and 2 at the Dallas 26 yard line.¬† If they convert the first down, the Cowboys would be forced to use their 3 remaining timeouts and the Redskins would have an easy attempt at the field goal, putting the Redskins up by 6.¬† Unfortunately Williams jumped the gun on that 3rd and 2, pushing the Redskins back¬† into a long 3rd down situation.¬† Luckly for Williams, Graham Gano was able to connect on the 49 field goal, but it would have been nice to pick up the first down and run down the clock before giving the Cowboys the ball back.

In Donovan McNabb’s post game press conference the veteran QB gave praise to his young left tackle, saying that Williams did a great job, but Williams would say he could have done better if you’d ask him.¬† It is a good sign when your quarterback praises the guy protecting his blind side, and it is nice to know that Williams is staying level headed and wants to improve.¬† In last nights game there were some good plays, including a great block against a Cowboys safety in the 1st quarter when Williams pushed to the outside, clearing a path for TE Chris Cooley on the Redskins 1st drive.

All-in-all I think Trent Williams played very well, he held his own against a Dallas defense that was ranked 9th in the NFL last season.  Going up against DeMarcus Ware in your NFL debut, only getting beat once is very respectable.  Next week wont be an easy task either, facing former #1 overall pick Mario Williams and the Houston Texans defense, but the future looks bright for the Redskins at the left tackle position.

Are You Ready for some Football?!

Posted: September 9, 2010 in Redskins, Sports

214 days following The New Orleans Saints 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, football is finally back!¬† The season kicks off tonight as the Super Bowl champions take on the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC Championship game rematch that ended with yet another Brett Favre interception, but that is a whole other story…

Today I’m going to break down the Redskins and there upcoming¬† 2010 season:

The Washington Redskins are coming off a 4-12 season, but last year’s team is long gone, and with that is the losing attitude in the locker room.¬† With a re-vamped coaching staff that includes 2-time Super Bowl winning head coach Mike Shanahan, we can expect a completely different team this year. With the addition of a new General Manager, Bruce Allen, and head coach, changes were made all acorss the roster.¬† At the end of last season we saw some familiar faces let go, including veterans like Randy Thomas, Fred Smoot, Rock Cartwright, and Antwaan Randle El.¬† The new coaching staff made it clear that losing and playing below expectations was not going to fly in Washington.¬† Along with the departure of some old vets, the team also made a huge off season splash by trading for future Hall of Fame QB Donovan McNabb.

Along with the addition of Mike Shanahan, the team brought in a new offensive philosophy that will be orchestrated¬† under his son, and current offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.¬† Last season Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator of the Houston Texans, leading the NFL’s 4th ranked offense (383.1 YPG) to their first winning season in franchise history, finishing 9-7.¬† Texans QB Matt Schaub lead the league in passing yards with 4,770 (270 yards more than second place Peyton Manning) and Houston’s top WR Andre Johnson lead the league 1,569 receiving yards.¬† Kyle Shanahan should have plenty to work with with Donovan McNabb at the head of his offense.¬† The team has some questions at wide receiver, Santana Moss is the only clear cut starter on this roster, but with the return of a healthy Chris Cooley and 3rd year tight end Fred Davis, Shanahan will have a unique offense to work with.¬† I am excited to see how he will use both tight ends at the same time, hopefully creating mismatches for opposing defenses.

It is also worth noting that RB Clinton Portis is reuniting with the coach that drafted (…and traded him) in Denver nine years ago.¬†¬† Mike Shanahan is known for producing pro bowl caliber running back s in his running game, but putting a proven running back into this offense could revitalize his career.¬† I wouldn’t be surprised if Portis is up for come back player of the year.¬† I hope both Mike and Kyle Shanahan can combine their two offensive expertize¬† and create one complete offense.¬† Remember, Donovan McNabb has never head a successful running game in all of his time in Philadelphia.¬† Brian Westbrook was the closest he had, but they still threw the ball on 70% of their plays.¬† A running game could protect and prolong the often injured Quarterback’s season.¬† Also, with McNabb entering the last year of his contract, I expect him to play with a chip on his shoulder, going out there to prove that he can still play and is still one of the elite QBs in the the league.

The defense made a switch from 4-3 to 3-4 under new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.¬† Nothing excites me more than a defense that 2nd year linebacker Brian Orakpo thrived in at Texas.¬† Orakpo finished last season with 11 sacks, which I give much credit to the often scrutinized DT Albert Haynesworth.¬† Head case or not, the defense is better with #92 is in the game.¬† Everyone on the defense is excited about the things they feel they can accomplish under Haslett, and cant wait to show the rest of the league what they can do come Sunday Night.¬† The defense carries that sort of swagger that makes you hope they will be good this year, lets just hope that they don’t let that swagger get to their heads and can actually stop some of the highest rated offenses this season.

The only problem with this team is their schedule.¬† After finishing 4-12 and last place in their division, the league thought it would be nice to give them the hardest schedule in the NFL.¬† Seven of the twelve teams the Redskins will face this season had winning records, three of those seven were Division Champions.¬† Seven of the sixteen games this season will be against teams that were in the playoffs, The Vikings made it all the way to the NFC Championship game, and the Colts made it all the way to last year’s Super Bowl.¬† I personally think the Colts and Packers (both on our schedule) will be in this year’s Super Bowl game in Dallas.¬† So wins this season will not come easy for the Redskins.¬† This season will truly be a test for Washington, but¬† I think with all of the additions and the new power structure set in place, the team is definitely headed in the right direction.¬† I expect the Redskins to finish somewhere around .500 (most likely a game or two under) with a possible wild card slot at best, but that will be hard to come by with talented NFC North and NFC South teams most likely taking the two wild card slots.