The Washington Post

Kyle Shanahan hopes for a fast start to overcome crowd noise

Kyle Shanahan and the Redskins aim to overcome disadvantages like crowd noise and minimal prep time. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

As they take on the Washington Redskins inside the Metrodome, the Minnesota Vikings will try to use crowd noise to their advantage. A fast start on offense could serve as the best way to handle that obstacle, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan believes.

With the Vikings fans raining down a steady flow of thunderous cheers, Robert Griffin III and the offense ikely will encounter challenges as the quarterback tries to receive calls radioed in from the sideline. And when he gets to the line, the line and receivers will find it hard to hear Griffin bark out signals and audibles.

But if the Redskins can encounter success moving the ball, the home crowd will likely settle down in disappointment.

“First of all, [a fast start] is always important. Second of all, it’s extremely important for the [crowd noise],” Kyle Shanahan said. “I haven’t played there in a few years, but the last time I was there I barely could hear myself think. It can get real loud and those people can get going. And the crowd will be a factor. It’s always going to be a factor on third downs and crucial situations, and the better you can get off to a start, the quieter they get. It’s something we’d obviously like to do.”

Shanahan’s offense is coming off of one of its best outings of the season, as Alfred Morris led a rushing attack that gained more than 200 yards, and Griffin passed for 298 yards.

The Redskins used a number of wrinkles, such as the read option, triple option, and some unbalanced line formations and three tight end sets to keep the San Diego Chargers off-balance.

Shanahan said the Redskins could vary their game plan against Minnesota, but wouldn’t say how much.

“I don’t know,” he said. “You’ve got to see what they’re going to do. You’ve got to see what coverage they’re going to play.”

But the mission will remain the same: attempt to establish the run game and set up their offense for the play-action passing attack. How the Redskins go about that remains to be determined.

Because of the short week, Shanahan didn’t have as much time to install new plays, but there are ways to do so if players are keyed in mentally, the coordinator explained.

“It’s a fine line,” Shanahan said. “We did this last year on Thanksgiving. It’s extremely tough. It’s the tough thing about playing in a short time, but both teams have it. You’ve got to put some stuff in, you just can’t go out there and just run everything that they’ve seen before, but you’ve got to count on your players a lot — because you teach them to play, you walk through the play, but they’ve got to be locked in, they’re not going to get another full-speed rep of it, you’re probably going to give them a rep vs. one look and not two looks like you usually get, so  a lot is on the players. You try to make it easier for them and not go crazy because there’s not enough time to do it with the game plan. But you’ve really got to count on those guys that they’re really in their books  and reviewing it and mentally putting themselves in those positions.”

What’s ahead:

● On Thursday, Mike Jones posts a Game Day Q&A and more leading up to kickoff.

More on the NFL:

Thursday night football has been full of duds; now it’s Redskins’ turn

Outsider: Redskins used run-heavy looks to keep Chargers off balance

Redskins vs. Vikings: Mike Jones’s five story lines to follow

The Early Lead: Coaches told Incognito to toughen Martin up? | More NFL

D.C. Sports Bog: Great moments in Redskins hazing | More Bog

Follow: @MikeJonesWaPo | @MarkMaske | @Insider | Insider on Facebook

Post Sports Live on whether Thursday’s game is a must-win:

The Post Sports Live crew debates whether the Redskins game against the Vikings on Thursday night in Minnesota is a must win for Washington. (Post Sports Live/The Washington Post)
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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Mark Maske · November 6, 2013