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Kyle Shanahan: Offense to Stay Rooted In 'West Coast'


Kyle Shanahan takes over as Redskins offensive coordinator this offseason, and that means the team is going to field its seventh different offense since 2000.

The lack of continuity on offense is among the challenges Shanahan faces in Washington.

In his first comments since joining the Redskins coaching staff on Jan. 20, Shanahan said he expected to implement an offense rooted in the West Coast system.

The Redskins used a West Coast offense the last two years under former head coach Jim Zorn, but Shanahan's version is likely going to be different in terms of play concepts and play-calling.

"We're going to put in a similar system, at least from a foundation standpoint," Shanahan said. "We come from a West Coast [offense] and they are all completely different, but players should at least recognize some of the words and verbiage.

"It's mainly teaching how we want it and how we're going to do it. We want to put in as much as we can. I do have a lot of offense and I know you can't throw it at everyone at once.

"The key is not to have a lot of plays, it's to be good at plays. The key is, how good can we be at the simple things before we can move on to the next thing. To be successful in this league, unless you're just flat-out better than everyone, you have to be good at your scheme.

"To do that, you have to practice a lot, rep things over and over until you can expand it some. The quicker we can do that, the better."

Shanahan, the son of head coach Mike Shanahan, officially joined the Redskins on Jan. 20.

He was offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans the last two years. The 2009 Texans led the NFL in passing and ranked fourth in total offense, both of which were franchise records.

In Washington, Shanahan takes over an offense that was ranked 22nd overall in total offense and 16th in passing yards.

Shanahan discussed the Redskins' wide receivers in an exclusive interview with Larry Michael for "Inside the Redskins."

The interview is re-broadcast on the Feb. 26 edition of "Redskins Nation" on Comcast SportsNet and on

Shanahan is only 30 years, but he has wanted to be an NFL coach "for as long as I can remember."

His parents tried to talk him out of coaching football.

Now he is a rising play-caller in the NFL.

And he firmly believes his youth gives him an advantage.

"As long as you know what you're talking about, it's an advantage," he said. "If you don't, I couldn't think of a worse position to be in because [players] are going to assume that you don't by your age and they're going to challenge you and coming to work every day is going to be rough.

"If you do know what you're talking about and you show the players that, they know who can help them and it makes it easier to coach them. You can relate to them a little better."

He believes he has a firm grasp of what it takes to succeed in the NFL.

"There are 32 teams and it really doesn't matter what you do, this is a league in which everyone works hard and everyone is at the top of their game," he said. "It doesn't matter if you're successful two weeks in a row, that third team will stop it. So it's about adjusting.

"It doesn't matter what you do well, defenses are too smart and they'll figure out how to stop it. It's having an answer to counter that. And not just having an answer as a coach, but teaching players how to counter it, too."

Shanahan is expected to serve as the Redskins' play-caller.

"I've been [calling plays] for two years, and I feel calling plays is about preparation," he said. "I'm not going to sit there and go completely off stats--you're going to study all week and you have to get a feel for their defensive coordinator, and you have to try think like him.

"I just want to watch and watch it until I know it and I can feel it. And you kind of get a hunch of what they're thinking and you try to roll with it."

Working with his father Mike, the two-time Super Bowl champion with the Denver Broncos, is going to be a matter of give and take, but the chemistry between the two is already well-established.

"I don't think he would have wanted me to come so bad or I would have wanted to come so bad if we didn't feel that we could work well together," Shanahan said. "We'll definitely challenge each other and we'll make each other better. We both know X's and O's and we have a relationship where we're comfortable enough to argue out our differences and really come to a decision.

"That's how two people learn. We don't mind going at it and eventually one of us will learn something from it."

Meet Kyle Shanahan

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