Don’t Scoff at Kyle Shanahan as Potential Successor to Caldwell

NFL Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA. -October 3: Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan walks down the sidelines during first quarter play against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa Sunday, October 3, 2010. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/Washington Post)

Norv Turner. Rob Chudzinski. Ben McAdoo.

When the Detroit Lions hired Jim Caldwell, those were three of the key names tossed around as Caldwell’s potential replacement as the offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.

McAdoo was snatched away by the New York Giants before the Ravens even had a chance to interview him, and Turner appears headed for Minnesota (though according to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland, the Browns wouldn’t stop him from interviewing in Baltimore).

One name that wasn’t tossed around much when Caldwell departed on Tuesday was one that many fans probably didn’t even think to suggest: Kyle Shanahan.

The former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator – fired along with his father Mike – wasn’t on fans’ radar, but he was on that of the team, who interviewed him Wednesday.

Kyle Shanahan?!

On the surface, the thought of bringing in someone who was a part of Washington’s demise in 2013 doesn’t seem like the direction a one-year-removed Super Bowl team should take.

But is Shanahan actually the best candidate for the Ravens? He may be.

It’s a tough pill to swallow thinking the Ravens could hire a former Washington offensive coordinator who was turned on by the media, but make no mistake about it: Shanahan is still one of the better young offensive minds in the NFL.

His coordinating experience started with the Houston Texans in 2008, where he spent two years as the offensive coordinator.

How well did the Shanahan-led offense do in Houston?

In 2008, Houston was third in the NFL in total offense and fourth in passing with none other than Matt Schaub leading the offense.

The following year, the Texans had the fourth-best total offense in the league, and the BEST passing offense in the NFL. Again, with Schaub at the helm.

He then departed for Washington in 2010, where he spent four years coaching alongside his father. In his four years, the Redskins had a top-ten offense twice (2012 and 2013).

It was easy for the media to bash the entire Redskins coaching staff in 2013 because they finished with a 3-13 record, but Shanahan the younger still managed to lead a middling group of offensive players to the ninth-most yards in the NFL, mainly behind the league’s fifth-best rushing offense.

This is where the idea of having Shanahan in Baltimore gains some traction.

If the Ravens want to improve the train wreck that was the introduction of the zone blocking scheme on offense, who better to bring in than Shanahan?

Shanahan’s resume with zone-blocking offense speaks for itself, and he could be just what Baltimore needs to make the run game look normal again.

Not only did he help coach the league’s fifth-best run offense in 2013, but in 2012 the Redskins led the NFL in rushing.

In Houston, the run offense helped allow rookie Steve Slaton to run for 1,282 yards on just 268 attempts during his rookie year in 2008.

After his time in Houston, Slaton quickly found himself struggling to make it in the NFL.

The same rookie running back success happened in Washington, as 2012 rookie sixth-round pick Alfred Morris was second in the NFL in rushing with 1,613 yards.

In 2013, Morris still managed to accumulate 1,275 yards on the ground, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

The Ravens AS A TEAM ran for 1,328 yards in 2013 on 423 attempts.

Morris accumulated his 1,275 yards on just 276 attempts.

In 2012, he reached his eye-opening 1,613 yards on only 335 attempts.

If Shanhan’s offense can create stars out of Slaton and Morris among others, imagine the potential of Bernard Pierce in a competent zone-blocking scheme.

Ray Rice’s production would figure to improve as well, but Pierce seems to be a much better fit for a zone scheme, as he relies more on his patience and vision than a quick-attack run style.

Shanahan is still only 34 years old, with six seasons of experience as an NFL offensive coordinator already.

If the Ravens could land Shanahan in Baltimore, he may be the missing coaching piece to make the team forget about an abysmal 2013 season on the offensive side.

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About Kyle Casey

Kyle Casey
Kyle's love of pro and college football stems from his passion for the Baltimore Ravens. He has held season tickets in section 542 of M&T Bank Stadium since 2004. He is currently a sophomore Mass Communications student at Towson University....more

14 Raves on “Don’t Scoff at Kyle Shanahan as Potential Successor to Caldwell

  1. Chad on said:

    Exactly. When rumors started to fly about M Shannahan getting the boot I was hoping he would for one reason. K Shannahan to become the next OC for the Ravens. The kids has game. The other person that I hope the Ravens bring in is Joe Lombardi the QB coach at New Orleans. He seems like a really good fit for Joe and our current system. He loves the deepball, playing from the shotgun and a breakneck tempo. Well hopefully they make the right hire this time around and not promote from within and go with Hostler.

  2. John on said:

    Great article ! You brought up a lot of information I hadn’t even considered. I’m not sure he’s the answer but I’m not so against it now.

  3. Nick on said:

    His age is right, the past success is there, I just hope he can get along with the players as that seems to be the knock against him.

  4. PG County Raven on said:

    K Shanahan could be a very good move for us. He’s unpredictable as a playcaller and would have a deep ball attack with Joe. Living here in Redskins area, it’s been his father that was the issue not Kyle. Kyle’s past successs as an OC is worth a serious consideration as noted above. To me the real issue will be Juan working for Kyle: can he subordinate himself to someone that much younger? If not, then there is more dysfunction to come next season with the O-linemen that has been alluded to by Harbaugh.

  5. FL Raven on said:

    Suggest you read “15 potential candidates for Ravens offensive coordinator job” in the Carroll County Times if you haven’t already.

  6. seatraveller on said:

    We fail miserably at zone blocking, now we are going to accentuate it. Our personnel doesn’t match. Just stupid. First Castillo, now this. The Ravens used to be so much smarter but as Harbaugh has been allowed more power they’ve become significantly dumber. Newsome and Steve should know better.

    Why didn’t we go strongly after Norv, the best choice. Did Harbaugh consider him a threat?

    • JayJay on said:

      Where is everyone getting this ‘our personnel doesn’t match from’? Our O-line already needs a makeover and we can expect at least 2 new starters next season. I would think Yanda, KO and even E Monroe would be good in any system. ZB has shown a history of success and there is no reason it can’t work here. I think our biggest issues were our C, LG and LT with McKinnie and all will be different next season, and most likely RT as well.

  7. Hut Guy on said:

    The more I read about Shanahan, the better he sounds as a solution…….anyone , other than the in house candidate sounds good.

  8. Junior Lewis on said:

    Great Article. I hope we get someone like him. I dont want an old coach that Harbs worked with in Philly like the rest of his picks. He needs to hire a coach he can learn from too and not get cuaght up in doing the same old thing expecting a different result. Last i checked even Andy Ried is not hireing those guys again.

  9. Holltwoodheiz on said:

    Here we go again,, zone blocking scheme. It didn’t work and Castillo should be looking for work. Sorry but maulers like Yanda and Oher ( i know, he’s not long for this town) like to hit people in front of them not block an imaginary area. Should we revamp the entire O line to make this work? And all of the sudden BP is going to flourish in this scheme and Ray Rice’s production would “figure to” improve. Huh? What does that mean? If the guy is a zone scheme guru play caller we need to keep interviewing and move on. The zone blocking scheme won’t work here no matter what coaching title Castillo has.

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