A Shanahan will call plays, but which one?
Tuesday, January 12, 2010; 11:11 AM
I was skimming through stories in the archives and ran across an interesting Mike Shanahan quote in the Houston Chronicle a few years back. Shanahan's assistant Gary Kubiak had been named new head coach of the Houston Texans. "Gary's going to learn just like I had to learn and many of us have to learn," Mike Shanahan said. "At first, he'll want to do everything -- coach the starting quarterback, call the plays -- everything." Sound like someone familiar? "At some point, he's going to learn that there's so much to worry about on game days -- so many responsibilities that go with being a head coach -- that you have to delegate," Shanahan said. "That's why I finally turned over the play calling to Gary. It helped make me a better coach." In Kubiak's first years in Houston, he didn't delegate, opting to call the offensive plays himself. But in the final game of the 2008 season, he allowed his first-year offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, to call plays. Kyle did such a good job - the Texans overcame a 10-0 deficit and won 31-24 - that he was given full-time play-calling responsibilities for 2009. "I went through it with his dad, and I got more and more comfortable," Kubiak told the Chronicle. So Mike Shanahan ceded play-calling duties to Kubiak, who eventually ceded them to Kyle Shanahan. The question now becomes, here in Washington, will the elder Shanahan call plays, as he did at times in Denver? Or did his son Kyle earn that honor by steering the league's fourth-best offense in Houston last season? (Actually, your more pressing question might be, where in the world is Kyle Shanahan? While the Texans are already locking up his replacement, the Redskins haven't even formally announced Kyle as their next offensive coordinator. Fret not, sources close to Kyle Shanahan say he and his wife were expecting the birth of their second child early this week. He'll likely find his way to the Washington area next week. But back to the play-calling...) There have been no indications of what Mike Shanahan plans to do with the play-calling, but he holds his son in especially high regard as a coach and offensive strategist, and you can bet he studied and scrutinized every play Kyle Shanahan called last season. Analyzing Mitchell on Portis Barry Svrluga, John Feinstein, Brian Mitchell and Ivan Carter discuss Stump Mitchell's remarks on Clinton Portis' work habits.