Is Kyle Shanahan Head Coach Material?

By Josiah Turner
Kyle Shanahan Washington Redskins
Geoff Burke- USA Today Sports

Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, may be on the market as a potential head coaching candidate once the season had ended.

Kyle has looked like a genius at times this season. He has helped the Redskins orchestrate the top rushing attack in the NFL, and the fifth ranked total offense. One of the key reasons why he has excelled as a coordinator this season, is due to the arrival of the most electrifying quarterback in the league, Robert Griffin III.

The complexity of the Redskins offense has kept opposing defenses off-balance. With the ability Griffin has to escape the pocket and run, it helps give Kyle a plethora of options when game planning for the week. He and his dad, coach Mike Shanahan, has constructed an offense that caters towards the rookie’s strengths. With Mike wanting to implement a ‘run heavy’ playing style, Kyle has continued to insert an abundance of run plays.

Does this suggest that Kyle Shanahan could be a successful head coach?

I’m not so sure. Yes, he has been very successful as a coordinator, but so was Dallas Cowboys Jason Garrett. The Cowboys were once a top five offense, however since he has been promoted to head coach, their offense hasn’t looked as fluent. Garrett struggles with juggling both roles of being the play caller, as well as the man in charge. If Kyle Shanahan were to get a head coaching job, I’m sure he would still prefer to be the primary offensive play caller. Not to compare Kyle to Garrett, but there are some similarities there.

Kyle also hasn’t had the opportunity to consistently coach up a quarterback. His first offensive coordinator position was with the Houston Texans from 2008-2009. During that time Matt Schaub was the QB. To give Kyle credit, he led the Texans to a third and fourth ranked offense respectively in those two years with Schaub. However, since coming over to Washington to be the coordinator under his father, he has coached a total of four QB’s in three seasons.

The Redskins offense was ranked 18th and 16th in 2010-2011, which is middle of the pack. I will say, Kyle didn’t have much to work with. He coached a fading Donovan McNabb in 2010, as well as both Rex Grossman and John Beck in 2011.

Now that he has found a comfort zone once again with Griffin, I think Kyle should stay put for at least another year or two. Mike has stated that he doesn’t want his assistants interviewing for head coaching jobs while the Redskins are in the playoffs. However, I think Kyle will test the waters this off-season.

Not so sure it’s the right move.


Josiah Turner/Redskins columnist


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