Fact-Checking Kyle Shanahan

On Sunday, the Redskins lost to the 3-10 Falcons to fall to 3-11. Before that, though, Jason La Canfora published an anonymously-sourced evisceration of Kyle Shanahan and his staff. The son of Shan was asked about that, and he came back with a strong defense (emphasis added):

“When I hear people talking about them and they’re not good and they’re inept, that really offends me because it’s so messed up to those guys that people — because of their age, because they’ve worked with me before — that they’ve dogged those guys because our offensive staff, those guys, in my opinion are as good as a staff I’ve been around. And those guys — these two years, we have moved the ball better than any offense in the history of this 80-year organization. That’s something to be proud of. I think that’s a pretty good accomplishment that nobody’s done it better in all 80 years of a good organization and we couldn’t have done that without these coaches.”

That is something to be proud of, if true.

The 2012-13 Redskins have scored/are on pace to score 785 points. Pretty good, especially by Redskins standards. The 1990-91 Redskins, however, scored 866, and the ’83-84 teams scored 967. That is more. A lot more.

Shanahan was talking about “moving the ball,” though. He must be talking about yards, right? It’s pretty easy to argue that yardage isn’t the best way to gauge an offense’s effectiveness, but whatever. Just go with it.

The 2012-13 Skins rank roughly seventh in the NFL in offensive yardage. Looking at the aforementioned two-year runs of Redskins offensive glory, the ’90-91 Skins were roughly fourth in yardage and the ’83-84 Skins were roughly sixth. Again, that is better.

But! Kyle wasn’t necessarily talking about league-relative success; maybe he was specifically talking about offensive yardage totals (not that he looked those up or anything). And, if that’s the case, then he’s right.

The ’12-13 Redskins have accumulated/are on pace to accumulate 12,265 yards. That’s more than the ’90-91 (11,303) and ’83-84 (11,489) teams or any other Washington offense I could find. See? “Something to be proud of.”

Of course, this doesn’t take into account that today’s offenses gain way more yardage and score more points than ever before, or that the NFL didn’t move to a 16-game regular season until just 35 years ago. Minor quibbles.

9 thoughts on “Fact-Checking Kyle Shanahan”

  1. Puffery aside, he is right. This is arguably (’12-’13) the best ‘Skins offense we have had since ’91. You COULD argue that ’12 was a fever dream, the exception to the rule, which could happen to anyone. See 1999 and 2005. But in terms of the system, the results, etc., we haven’t had much better to root for.

    Whether he is a destructive dickbag behind the scenes is another question.

  2. It’s easy to rack up yards when you’re down by two possessions or more in the second half and the other team is playing soft. Yardage stats, especially this year, don’t mean shit.

  3. You know what they say about statistics….

    I like the Football Outsider stats at least they have a some thought put into them vs. aggregate yards and points scored:

    1991 ‘Skins offense ranked #2 overall, #1 passing and #2 rushing,
    2013 ‘Skins offense ranks #25 overall, #26 passing and #6 rushing.

    As mentioned above, garbage time yards and inflated yardage overall this year.

    Kyle, PSGTFO.

  4. I love this blog, but this article makes no sense to me given the anti Kyle Shanahan tone. It was pretty clear to me right away that he was talking about either yards per game, or total yards. Yards per game may or may not be true, but you already established total yards is.

    Whats the point here? That he sucks anyways?

  5. Can’t blame the offense for losing these games… unless you’re always behind in these games and the only time you move the chains is down by 10 points.

    Isn’t it interesting hough that last year K. Shanahan was getting looked at for head coaching spots around the NFL for his creative offensive schemes and we (no way it was just me, right?) were shitting our pants that he might leave?

    I really don’t know who to blame- playcalling doesn’t seem to be as on point as it was last year, and neither does RGIII. I just loved, how for one year, I was so confident when my QB dropped back for a deep pass. I hope to see it again next year (with Shanny, or without).

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