Breakout year for … Kyle Shanahan?

Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan

This is the second year of a major offensive transition for the Redskins.  This year may say more about Kyle than last year did as the players will be much more adjusted to the plays.

I believe Kyle underestimated the damage RG-KneeGate did to his career.  Hence, although he thought would be interviewed for head coaching jobs, his phone stayed silent.  This year is a pivotal year for Kyle's career.

Here are the areas of potential breakout for Kyle:

1) Wide Receivers – Kyle is heavily involved in the WR corps and there is plenty of room for improvement.  The Redskins had a B minus WR corps last year with perhaps A minus potential.  With Pierre Garcon progressing from his foot injury (the Seattle injury wasn't a factor for most of the season obviously), with Josh Morgan free of ankle screws and a plate, with Aldrick Robinson, Leonard Hankerson and Desmond Briscoe maturing, and with Santana Moss open almost all the time but RG3 not often getting to his read, the receiving corps has potential for a breakout year this year.

Look for improvements everywhere here except for blocking, the thing the Redskins WR corps did the best of all WR duties.  YAC was also pretty good given how there was no YAC in 2011.

I don't get why Kyle would run plays that worked very well only once in the season (a reverse to Aldrick Robinson for 15 yards, never tried again) and would repeat plays that did not work (Garcon going long NEVER worked.  He attracted double/triple team when going long and could not break free.  Don't ask me why Kyle never tried putting Robinson and Garcon on the field at the same time.  Short passes to Niles Paul did not work, medium ones did.  So Kyle kept forcing short passes and gave Niles just a few medium range passes).

2) Running backs – after Alfred, there was no advantage within this part of the offense.  Helu was out, Royster was blah.  The fullback Darrell Young is an incredible blocker and has great hands and running ability but was astonishingly under-used as a playmaker.  

Look for improvements here using Darrell Young more often to make plays and an emerging screen pass game in general (Thompson, Jamison, Helu, Young).  This should help the Redskins horrific 3rd down conversion rate and open up the field a bit.  I would also like to see Kyle learn how to have the confidence to run the ball with Alfred when down 14 points.  Kyle is so predictable when the Redskins are down.  The truly great teams know how to mount major comebacks and that is also an area for major potential improvement this year.

3)  Offensive Line – Let me predict it now.  If Polumbus starts at Right Tackle, Kyle Shanahan will not receive a head coaching interview after this season either.  Polumbus was the main reason the Redskins stunk at 3rd conversions and he is a major health risk to RG3 going forward.  I find the idea of Polumbus starting more offensive and dangerous than the context-hater, attention seekers find the Redskins' name offensive in their self-righteous universes.

4) Quarterback – Hopefully both RG3 and Cousins improve their read ability dramatically.  Cousins has some major work to do to limit interceptions.  RG3 has got to admit that Russell Wilson was a LOT better than he was at protecting himself during scrambles and start learning from everyone how to slide, throw out of bounds, etc.  If Kyle had the guts to pull RG3 out of the Seattle game by the 2nd Quarter, he could have received a head coaching call.  

5) Tight Ends – with Reed joining the gang, Fred Davis coming back from injury and Niles Paul poised to have a breakout year, the Redskins can employ a seriously dangerous element to their offense here.  This is a chance here for Kyle to shine and do something beyond what the Patriots do with their Tight End sets.  

In conclusion: keep your eye out for 3rd down conversions, comeback wins, total wins, and speed, speed and more speed on this year's offense.  If the Redskins can make a deep push into playoffs and Kyle can keep his cool and not act like he is desperate for a head coaching job interview, Kyle could get his chance as early as 2014.

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Anthony Brown

About Anthony Brown

Lifelong Redskins fan and blogger about football and life since 2004. Joined MVN's Hog Heaven blog in 2005 and then moved Redskins Hog Heaven to Bolguin Network. Believes that the course of a season is pre-ordained by management decisions made during the offseason. Can occasionally be found on the This Given Sunday blog and he does guest posts.

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