Kyle Shanahan plans steady diet of run plays

Echoing the sentiments of coach Mike Shanahan and running back Tim Hightower, Washington Redskins coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Thursday he believes his unit narrowly missed breaking off some big runs against the New York Giants and plans to call a steady flow of run plays again this week against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Redskins ran the ball 26 times but mustered only 72 yards, a 2.9-yard-per-carry average. Kyle Shanahan said it was important for him to continue calling run plays although big gains weren’t resulting from them. He admitted that, at times, it’s hard to remain patient.

“You always want to be able to stick with it. And it’s always a challenge as a playcaller to stick with it when you’re not getting as much yardage as you want. But that’s how the NFL is,” said Shanahan, who called 34 pass plays on Sunday. “If you can stick with it, usually one busts free. We didn’t get that, but we were able to...get first downs and move the chains, which allows you to keep mixing it up and calling both. And when you can do that, whether you get the yards or not, it helps your offense overall.”

The Redskins last season averaged 37.8 pass attempts and 21 rushing attempts a game.

Coaches and players alike have talked this season about the need for improved balance. One of the keys to improving the effectiveness of the run game is improved attention to detail, the offensive coordinator says.

“We had an opportunity on about five runs where it was one guy [who missed an assignment] and we had a six-yard run. We were one inch away from a 50-yard run. Had we got that guy down on those opportunities you have, that difference in one run and yards per carry is a lot different and you don’t even think about it. But if you don’t, it looks pretty bad at the end of the day.”

Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.

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