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For Kyle Shanahan, Redskins-Texans Has a Familiar Feel


Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is a popular person around Redskins Park these days.

With the Redskins set to host the Houston Texans on Sunday, Shanahan – offensive coordinator of the Texans the last two years – is being sought out by coaches and players.

Shanahan has an understanding of the Texans' scheme on offense and defense. He can offer advice on personnel and tips on tendencies. He might even know a play or two in the Texans' playbook.

This is how it goes in the ultra-competitive world of the NFL.

Shanahan is one of several former Texans coaches and players on the Redskins.

Quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur spent the last two years as an offensive assistant with the Texans. Strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright served in a similar role with the Texans from 2002-09. Assistant special teams coach Richard Hightower was an assistant with the Texans from 200-08.

Shanahan has an understanding of the Texans' scheme on both sides of the ball.

He said he has mentioned a thing or two about the Texans' offense to the Redskins' defensive coaches, but he downplayed its impact on Wednesday.

"I don't think it's as much of a chess match," he said. "I think it'll be a pretty simple game. It's going to be our players against their players. There's not going to be much more schematically, it's going to be which players do the best."

One of those players, linebacker London Fletcher, said he would be talking with Shanahan about the Texans' offensive approach.

"He can help us a lot," Fletcher said. "In sports, any advantage that you can have, you're going to use. Even if it's one tip in a certain situation, you're going to use that and it can be the difference in winning the football game. So we have a strong knowledge of what they want to do, with Kyle being over there."

Of course, the Texans are aware of this. And they may change up their approach, right?

"From a scheme standpoint and from a personnel standpoint, you're not going to change dramatically in the course of a week's preparation," Fletcher said. "They're not going to turn into a different type of offense."

Added linebacker Brian Orakpo: "Hopefully we can pick up some tendencies about what they like to do. Snap counts, little things you can pick up. That's what happens when you have former coaches on your coaching staff."

This works both ways.

The Texans know Shanahan's tendencies as well and may use that knowledge to their advantage.

"They know what I like," Shanahan said. "They know what I don't think is good that they do. And vice versa. We know how to attach each other, so there's no secret about what we like to do."

Add into the equation that several Texans coaches, including head coach Gary Kubiak, got their start in the profession under Mike Shanahan, Kyle's father.

So did Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, defensive coordinator Frank Bush, defensive backs coach David Gibbs and tight ends coach Brian Pariani.

For two clubs that have played just twice since 2002, the coaches certainly have a surprising degree of familiarity with each other.

"Yeah, it's going to be interesting to see," center Casey Rabach said. "They're going to be very familiar with the style of offense that we run – not so much our defense, though. Hopefully we have a few twists on some things that will work out well for us."

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