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Kyle Shanahan: Why the Washington Redskins Win in 2010

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Kyle Shanahan: Why the Washington Redskins Win in 2010
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Shortly after renowned NFL Coach Mike Shanahan inked his deal to coach the Washington Redskins, he began announcing his supporting cast.

In a move that many had predicted, the elder Shanahan chose his son, Kyle Shanahan, to fill the offensive coordinator position for the Redskins. Some analysts criticized the choice as nepotism in the NFL, but the overall reaction for the young Shanahan was welcoming.

Back in January, the acquisition of the former Houston Texans offensive coordinator was good news. With the addition of Quarterback Donovan McNabb (and other off-season pickups), this news is suddenly fantastic.

To begin with, Kyle Shanahan is a strikingly talented offensive coordinator—just look at his numbers in 2009.

Texans QB Matt Schaub ranked No. 1 overall in passing yardage with 4,770 yards in 2009, surpassing the likes of Peyton Manning, Tony Romo and Drew Brees.

The Texans, under Kyle Shanahan's direction, also ranked first in overall yards per game (YPG) with 290.9. Houston ranked fourth overall in total yardage in the NFL.

Shanahan also brings a solid background to the table. He was a college wide receiver, coached the Texans wide-outs in 2006, quarterbacks in 2007, and became their offensive coordinator for 2008 and 2009.

Based on his performance in Houston, Kyle Shanahan clearly knows how to run a successful offense.  As I mentioned before, it was good news when he was first added to the Redskins' staff.

Most Redskins fans assumed that Shanahan would make Jason Campbell a little bit better this year, and his performance might indeed have improved. But then came the signing of Donovan McNabb, and the outlook for the Washington Redskins became fantastic.

McNabb comes to DC with a huge resume, including countless Pro Bowl appearances, several NFC Championships, and an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIX. In short, McNabb brings far more talent to the table than, say, Jason Campbell.

Now Kyle Shanahan has a successful veteran QB to run his offense around, and it is in this environment that McNabb will absolutely thrive. 

Look at Matt Schaub's stats for 2007 until 2009, the years that Kyle Shanahan was his quarterbacks coach, and then his offensive coordinators. In 2007, he put up 2,241 yards, with 3,043 in 2008 and 4,770 in 2009. 

Under Shanahan's direction, Schaub's performance was on a the rise, making him one of the elite Quarterbacks of the NFL. I see the same positive influence turning Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins into a force to be reckoned with.

The other element is the Redskins backfield. The weak point of the Texan's offense under Shanahan was undoubtedly the running game. With veterans Clinton Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker, all former Pro-bowlers, the Redskins will have a threat on the run.

With this run possibility constantly present, opposing defenses will have to contend with Kyle Shanahan's pass attack. This more balanced approach (in comparison to Houston) will result in Washington victories.

Where most proponents of the Washington Redskins look to Mike Shanahan as the future savior of DC, I think Kyle Shanahan will be the linchpin to the Redskins football program this year. 

Besides—with the combination of Kyle Shanahan, his legendary father, and Donovan McNabb at the helm of this offense, I can't see much going wrong.

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