There are many possible candidates for the soon to be vacant position of Kansas City Chiefs head coach. Last week I did an in-depth analysis of Chip Kelly, the Oregon head coach. He certainly would be my first choice if I was choosing, only from statistics and outward appearances, but I’m glad I’m not the one making the decision. Let’s presume for a minute that we have some influence, and look at another potential candidate being touted as ready to take the reigns of an NFL team.
Enter Kyle Shanahan the 33 year old, offensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins.
He has grown up around football his entire life, with his dad coaching the Denver Broncos for many years. Shanahan grew through the ranks of coaching, and was promoted in 2008 to the Houston Texans offensive coordinator position. He held the position for two years.
17th in scoring in 2008, -10 turnover differential, 27th in defense, 8-8 record.
2009 saw a marked improvement moving up to 10th in scoring, -1 turnover differential, and the defense helped as well moving up to 17th. This improvement only resulted in one additional win and a 9-7 record.
In 2010, Shanahan accepted the job as the offensive coordinator to work under his father in Washington. It’s Kyle’s time with the Redskins, and especially the rookie quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins that have people talking. With his background as a quarterbacks coach, from 2007-2009, he certainly has the experience to aid whoever is under center for the Chiefs next year.
However, the Redskins offense under Zorn was ranked 26th in the league. Under Shanahan, 25th, and 26th in 2010 and 2011. In 2012 it has moved up to the 4th ranked offense in the league. This is obviously a monumental jump, but one definitely has to ask if this is the result of Kyle Shanahan’s efforts or simply the addition RGIII and his immense talent?
The problem I see with Kyle Shanahan is the lack of experience and a proven track record. Anyone can be great in one position and fail miserably in another – see Todd Haley. To put it bluntly, the Haley experiment from 2009-2011 is what has me worried about Kyle Shanahan. He has taken a similar path through the coaching ranks to get to where he is as a leading head coach candidate.
I always answer questions such as these by asking, if I were the one making the decision, what would I do? In this case, I would take a pass on Kyle Shanahan. I just don’t see the history of a proven leader and winner. This is certainly not to say he isn’t one, but the breadth of experience is not enough to tip the scales in his favor.