Mike Shanahan was the coach of the Washington Redskins when the team drafted Kirk Cousins in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. From the sound of it, Shanahan believes the pick was a steal for his former team.
After Cousins was named Washington’s starting quarterback on Monday, Shanahan has some extremely high praise for the former Michigan State star.
“Kirk Cousins is a franchise quarterback,” Shanahan told Dan Hellie of NFL Network. “He will be a top-10 quarterback in this league, no doubt about it.”
Shanahan is more than a little biased. Though Robert Griffin III found success under Shanahan and Shanahan’s son, former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, in his rookie season, we have every reason to believe RG3 was ownership’s pick. Teams who draft a “franchise” quarterback in the first round rarely draft another signal-caller three rounds later.
After Griffin’s productive rookie season in 2012, he suffered a torn ACL in a playoff loss and constantly disagreed with Shanahan over his rehab and recovery. There were reports that RG3 bragged during his second season about his influence over Redskins owner Dan Snyder, and Shanahan indicated that those reports were true in this very telling interview earlier this year.
Will Cousins be a top-10 quarterback this year? We highly doubt it. He completed 61 percent of his passes last season and threw 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The Redskins weren’t suddenly good when he played, though he seemed to be an improvement over RG3 in Gruden’s system. Calling him a “franchise quarterback” just seems premature.
Mike Shanahan hasn’t coached the Redskins for more than a year, but he still has plenty to say about his former quarterback and team owner.
Shanahan shed some light on what it was like to work with Robert Griffin III under Daniel Snyder during an hour-long interview Wednesday with ESPN Radio in Washington D.C. Among the juiciest of details was a meeting that Griffin requested with Shanahan after his rookie season in 2012. Shanahan said that RG3 wanted certain plays ripped out of the playbook because they were “unacceptable” and exposed him to injury by running the ball too much. You may recall that Griffin tore his ACL and LCL in the team’s playoff loss to Seattle that year.
The word “unacceptable” actually brought a smirk to Shanahan’s face because the words coming out of his quarterback’s mouth sounded eerily familiar.
“He actually [mentioned] what plays were acceptable and unacceptable, and when he started talking about what plays were acceptable and unacceptable, and that he wasn’t a rookie anymore and wanted to voice his opinion, the term unacceptable is used by Dan, the owner, quite often. So [I had] a little bit of a smile when I heard some of these complaints,” Shanahan said of his meeting with RG3.
Shanahan said Griffin wanted to establish himself as a dropback passer in the mold of Aaron Rodgers. Since that sentiment was also shared by Snyder, it was time to go straight to the horse’s mouth.
“When I went over and talked to Dan over at his house after I talked to Robert [after Griffin’s rookie year], I just told Dan, ‘Hey Dan, I just had a conversation with Robert and I think this conversation is coming from you more so than it is Robert,'” Shanahan said. “I said, ‘If that’s the case, there’s no way, unless your owner, your GM, your head coach and your quarterback are all on the same page you win in the National Football League.'”
Also in his hour-long interview, Shanny said he was not a fan of the Donovan McNabb trade and that he believes it was driven by Snyder.
The fact that RG3 felt emboldened to take this stance shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Griffin allegedly bragged to teammates about his influence over Snyder during Shanahan’s final season in Washington.
Griffin’s antics apparently have continued under Jay Gruden, who seemingly called out his quarterback every week during his first year as coach of the Redskins.
Coincidentally, Gruden told reporters at the scouting combine Wednesday that Griffin will enter camp as the team’s starter. The 2015 campaign will be a make-or-break season for Griffin as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. If he doesn’t revert to his rookie form, he’ll be taking food off his own table.
Mike Shanahan did not get the 49ers head coaching job, but that does not necessarily mean he won’t end up in San Francisco.
NBC Washington’s Dianna Marie Russini reported Friday that Shanahan is in play as a potential offensive coordinator for the 49ers on Jim Tomsula’s new staff. Tomsula was promoted this week from defensive line coach to head coach.
Russini adds that Mike’s son, Kyle, who recently parted ways with the Browns, turned down an interview with the 49ers for their OC job. Russini believes Kyle did that because he did not want to compete with his father for the position. She also says Kyle Shanahan could be in play for the Broncos offensive coordinator position. The Broncos reportedly are likely to hire Gary Kubiak as head coach.
Mike Shanahan took the year off of coaching after four mostly unsuccessful seasons as the head coach of the Redskins. It would be hard to envision him returning to the NFL as anything less than a head coach, but with many of the vacancies filling up, he would not have much of a choice if he wants to work in the league next season.
- Mike Shanahan
The Denver Broncos and John Fox announced Monday that they are “mutually parting ways,” which came as a shock to most.
Fox won his division all four years as head coach and had pretty strong success in Denver, though the team went 1-and-done in the playoffs two of the four seasons.
Check out the reaction from an NFL GM regarding the news:
Just got a text from a GM with a HC vacancy. When I sent a message about the John Fox news in Denver he text back, "for real?"
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) January 12, 2015
In addition to Fox, the Broncos let go of their entire coaching staff. That means offensive coordinator Adam Gase and running backs coach Eric Studesville will not be candidates for the job, despite initial speculation.
If GM John Elway decides to bring in some familiar names, Gary Kubiak and Mike Shanahan could be candidates for the job.
GARY KUBIAK, BALTIMORE RAVENS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR
Was head coach of the Houston Texans for eight seasons and went 61-64. Prior to that was a Broncos offensive coach/coordinator from 1995-2005. He was John Elway’s backup quarterback in Denver as a player and has strong ties to Elway. Issued a statement Sunday saying he is not interested in head coaching jobs.
MIKE SHANAHAN, UNEMPLOYED, EX-BRONCOS COACH
Shanny took the year off from coaching but has been a hot candidate lately, interviewing with multiple teams. Coached the Broncos from 1995-2008 before they parted ways with him to bring in McDaniels. Was instrumental in taking Elway’s game to the next level and helping the Broncos win two Super Bowls. Still lives in Denver and supposedly still has good relationship with Elway.
LB’s Take: Given the way Elway has operated outside of the box throughout his time in Denver (e.g. making big moves to acquire Peyton Manning, Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware), I would not be surprised if he went off the board and brought in someone else nobody is thinking of. This guy aims high and delivers home runs. He’s going to do the same here, that’s my guess.
We told you earlier that the Buffalo Bills had interest in interviewing Shanahan, who has not coaching since the Washington Redskins let him go after last season. Now it sounds like the 49ers have a strong interest in him.
The Denver Post reported Wednesday that the 49ers planned to interview Shanahan while they were in Denver to also interview Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Saturday that the two sides met on Thursday.
Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole reports that San Francisco owner Jed York said Shanahan was “high” on his list. He also says the 49ers are trying to decide if they want an accomplished, big-name head coach like Shanahan, or a younger, hot coordinator like Gase or Seattle’s Dan Quinn.
Between the interest from San Francisco, Buffalo and Chicago, Shanahan seems likely to get back into coaching next season.
- Mike Shanahan
Mike Shanahan is one of the more intriguing names to watch as a handful of NFL teams look to fill their head coaching vacancies. The Buffalo Bills, who are suddenly among the teams in need, reportedly have some interest.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the Bills could set up an interview with Shanahan this week.
Shanahan took a season off from coaching after being fired by the Washington Redskins last year. The 62-year-old won two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos earlier in his career but finished with a record of just 24-40 in four seasons with the Redskins. It quickly became obvious that he would not be able to coexist with Robert Griffin III and the pressure that came along with coaching the No. 2 overall pick.
Shanahan was also expected to interview with the San Francisco 49ers this weekend. He served as the offensive coordinator for the Niners from 1992 through 1994.
Former Bills head coach Doug Marrone opted out of his contract with the team in a surprise move last week after an impressive 9-7 season. Marrone may have even cost the Bills a chance to bring in a reputable team president.
There seems to be no shortage of interest in Shanahan. It would be a surprise if he doesn’t find a home in the NFL for 2015.
DeAngelo Hall is one of a number of Washington Redskins players who seems happier now that Mike Shanahan is gone. Hall’s latest comments tell us that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett should be just as thrilled about Shanny being gone.
Hall, who said a few months ago that Shanahan was always in Haslett’s ear telling him what to call, told CSNWashington.com’s Chick Hernandez that there were certain situations in 2013 where Shanahan actually stepped in and overruled Haslett.
“Yeah, I mean, it was probably more difficult for Jim than us,” Hall said, as transcribed by Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog. “You know, we were going through all week practicing a certain call, knowing that we were going to call it in certain situations. And there would be certain times where Mike would overrule Jim.
“And I told Jim, I understand where you’re coming from. There are certain techniques and things that I want to do that Mike would tell me the same thing — ‘Well, you know, I kind of want you to play it like this as opposed to that.’”
Shanahan was an offensive assistant/coordinator for 20 years before he became head coach of the Denver Broncos. Haslett, a former NFL linebacker, has always specialized in defense. As Steinberg noted, a Washington Post story from December indicated that Shanahan micromanaged Haslett from Day 1.
One of Shanahan’s first calls came in September 2011, during a game at Dallas. With the Cowboys on their own 30 with 2 minutes 20 seconds to play, Shanahan called an all-out blitz — “Cover-0,” as it is known — and it backfired, resulting in Dallas quarterback Tony Romo finding wide receiver Dez Bryant for a 30-yard gain. Dallas eventually kicked a field goal for an 18-16 victory, and Haslett was left to shoulder the blame.
While I don’t doubt that any of this is true, the Redskins need to be careful. They have not played a single game under Jay Gruden and already we have prominent players like Hall and Robert Griffin III acting like all of Washington’s problems have been solved now that Shanahan is gone. If the Redskins go 7-9 and miss the playoffs this season, it will be hard to keep using Shanny as a scapegoat.