Coach Mike Shanahan said he wasn’t surprised by Niles Paul’s comment earlier Wednesday that the offseason change in special teams coaches, from Danny Smith to Keith Burns, has been a factor in the Washington Redskins’ struggles on special teams early this season.
“That happens on every football team,” Shanahan said. “I don’t care if you’re putting in offense, defense, special teams. You earn the right to be trusted. You’ve got to prove yourself both as a player and as a coach. That’s just typical. Same thing with Danny. He’s got to go to Pittsburgh. He’s got to earn that trust. If things aren’t going good, just keep on working hard. A lot of people overreact to things like that because you have something that’s negative all of a sudden. People don’t understand what happened. It could be one small, little thing and all of a sudden that snowball starts rolling and people jump on the bandwagon and all of a sudden the sky is falling.”
Shanahan reiterated that special teams will be a focal point for the Redskins this week after they yielded an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 90-yard kickoff return during Sunday night’s loss at Dallas. But Shanahan also said he won’t make the issues bigger than they actually are.
“You can’t overreact,” he said. “You want to make sure our people are accountable, our guys are accountable, we get better every day, there’s a sense of urgency knowing what type of team Chicago is. And you try to do that on a day-to-day basis.”
Shanahan mentioned Kai Forbath’s kickoffs as an issue with which the Redskins’ special teams must deal.
“We have to pick up our kickoff coverage,” Shanahan said. “Any time you have a kicker that doesn’t really hang the ball very high, you have to have extra-special coverage. And we’ve got to be at our best, especially going against a team like Chicago. …We’ll keep on working on the little things and gain experience. We will get better.”
● Greg Schimmel’s Opening Kick at 7 a.m. Thursday asks what the value of winning the NFC East this year is.
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