For weeks now it has been rumored that the Washington Redskins were pursuing former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan to be their new head coach.
This only made sense as the team brought in general manager Bruce Allen, who is in good relations with Shanahan.
Why This Deal Makes Sense
If the Redskins brought in Shanahan as the team's head coach and sole general manager of the team, I wouldn't have liked this signing as much—mainly because it is almost impossible for a head coach to truly focus on being a coach if he has to deal with too much on the GM side of the business.
As it stands now, Shanahan has Allen to do his dirty work, yet still maintains a VP role in football operations. Assuming Shanahan and Allen work well together, then Shanahan will have the best of both worlds.
For one, he can focus more time to being a head coach and running the offense, yet at the same time have final say on which players are coming in and which players are leaving the organization.
Fantasy Football Player Ranking Shakedown
It looks like the Redskins are intent on keeping Jason Campbell as their starting quarterback for now. However, it is widely believed that Shanahan will use the team's No. 4 overall pick in the NFL draft on a quarterback.
Since Campbell and the rest of the offense have been playing in the West Coast offense for the past two seasons, it should help Shanahan's chances of easing this group into his version of play.
Assuming Clinton Portis can come back to the team healthier, than he should have a good chance to be effective with Shanahan. Sure, Portis won't be the fantasy football running back he was in Denver with Shanahan, but Portis should continue to be relatively effective in his system.
The big question for this organization coming into the 2010 season is, can now third-year receivers Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly can take the next step and become good starting receivers in the NFL?
If Shanahan can get strong production out of at least one of these receivers, then he should have a decent foundation to work within the passing game.
All through the second half of the season, it has been rumored that the Redskins may cut ties with veteran Chris Cooley and go with Fred Davis as the starter for next year. Davis proved this season that he can be an effective player in this offense, so it will be interesting to see if Shanahan retains Cooley or not.
Either way, this team should get continued production in the passing game from their tight end position going forward.
The Redskins have had an aging offensive line over the past few season, and success on offense should ultimately come down to if Shanahan can rework this line and give this offense a chance to have time to throw and lanes to run through.
No matter the talent this offense has, if a team doesn't have a good offensive line, they will always be less effective and prone to injury.
If Shanahan does, in fact, grab a quarterback with his top pick, he would be wise to focus on improving the offensive line through free agency and the rest of his draft.
Defense / ST
This is maybe the more interesting part of this new direction for the Redskins, as they will need a new defensive coordinator to oversee this side of the football. Shanahan is a great offensive mind, but he needs a strong DC to make this all come together.
This group still has a lot of talent, and they need to bring someone in that can make that talent work as it did when this defense was run by former DC Gregg Williams.
Fantasy Football Outlook
At this point in time, it is still way too early to tell how effective this team will play next season. However, it is reasonable to believe that this team won't do much more than be a .500 ball club in Shanahan's first year.
Look for Portis to be a cheap fantasy pickup, and see if Thomas or Kelly can break out this year, as receivers tend to figure things out and be productive (for fantasy football) in their third year playing in the NFL.
Beyond that, it will take a very good defensive coordinator to make the Redskins defense play at a high level in 2010. That makes them a decent waiver wire pickup if they display production at any point during the season.
NFL Fantasy Football Player Rankings writer Sean E. Douglas: fantasy-info.com