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On January 11, 2008, Kyle Shanahan became the youngest offensive coordinator in the NFL at age 28. Over his first two seasons at the helm, his units were 17th and 10th in the league in scoring, and he had the offensive weapons at his disposal to continue to improve.
But instead, he wanted to coach with his father in Washington. And so, after two years of success in Houston, he split for Washington.
“It was hard for me to leave,” he said at his introductory press conference with the Redskins. “But when he got let go from Denver, I made a decision then that when he comes back, I’m only going to have so much time to work with my dad. I realize I’m not going to have this option forever.”
“Even though it might not be perfect for me, regardless of the situation, I’m going to go with him.”
Perhaps what Kyle was referencing at the time, was a conversation that he had had with his father, who revealed today that he told him not to leave his situation in Houston.
“I’m the one that told Kyle not to come,” he said. “I said, ‘This is going to be a work in progress. It’s not going to happen over night. And you were on an established team. You’ve got your ducks in order.'”
And did he ever.
During his time with the Texans, Kyle helped to hone quarterback Matt Schaub from a talented backup into a premier pro passer. During his time as the Texans receivers coach, he coached Andre Johnson into being one of the best in the business.
But Kyle wanted to coach with his father, and he wasn’t afraid of a challenge. So his father brought him on board.
“I said, ‘We’re going to have to rebuild this football team, starting on offense.’ He understood that and he enjoyed the challenge–that’s what we’re doing.”
Kyle Shanahan has also earned the respect of his players, including fullback Darrel Young. Young went undrafted as a linebacker, with only an outside shot at making the transition to the pro defense. The Shanahans recognized the blocking ability that Young possessed, and have turned him into one of the best young fullbacks in the league.
Young defended the team’s play calling today, taking the burden of the blame on the players, not the coaches:
“I have all the confidence in the world–Kyle Shanaha, I don’t care what anyone says, is the best offensive coordinator in the league,” Young said today. “This year, we’re not putting up points, but that’s the players, not the coaching.”
For the proof in the pudding, Young said to look no further than his resume as a coordinator.
“The system works, he’s shown us it works,” he said. “It worked in Denver, it worked in Houston. [Texans quarterback] Matt Schaub has thrown for over 4,000 yards a year. So it’s not the system, it’s just the players not making plays like they need to be.”
“We just need to execute on the field. You can’t be put in a better situation than Kyle puts us in.”