Shots fired (part 2 of 5) – Shanahan

The end of the regular NFL season always marks the end of a few jobs. Coaches with losing records all line up to the chopping block to hear the final verdicts. Within a day of the season ending, a total of five coaches had their contracts cut and were booted out the door. Don’t feel too bad; with the money promised from their contracts, they’ll be living a happy, golf-filled retirement. Among those sing their jobs lie Detroit’s Schwartz, Washington’s Shanahan, Minnesota’s Frazier, Tampa’s Schiano and, shockingly, Cleveland’s Chudzinski. We’ll throw them out to sea and explore the “implications” (Always Sunny in Philadelphia reference) involved with each of the coaching situations. This’ll be a five part series that explores each of the coaches individually. WARNING: this article is largely based on opinion. Deal with it.

MIKE “THE CRAZY” SHANAHAN

Shanahan is easily the most entertaining coach in the entire NFL, earning his crazy antics the name of Shanahanigans. No, seriously. The guy makes crazy calls, makes crazy changes to his roster, and does crazy stuff during his games. Senile? Nope. Go back all the way to 1994 while Shanahan worked for the 49ers; he had his quarterback chuck a ball at the head of his nemesis, Raiders owner Al Davis. Fast forward past his success with Denver and straight to his most recent escapades with the Washington Redskins. I won’t fluff this up: his record with the Washington Culturally-Insensitives is terrible. I mean 24-40 in 4 seasons terrible. You could argue that they were terrible when Shanahan took over (which they were), but it goes far beyond the record. Aside from his constant shuffling of successful starting players for no apparent reason, you really only have to look at how Shanahan treated the esteemed RG3. Shanahan treated his new double-threat (franchise?) quarterback by throwing him to the wolves. Not only was the Skins’ offensive line leaving completely exposed, but Shanahan also allowed his new stud to constantly run the ball. Griffin, like any quarterback taking that kind of a beating, was injured very quickly. His runs slowed down, his confidence wavered, and his throws started to suffer through the 2012 season. Shanahan received the most flack when he had his quarterback play through an LCL tear – a move which could have damaged his player for life. I know playing and winning is Griffin’s job, but at some point his personal health needs to play a factor. Not only that, why risk losing your new impact player to win one game? Shanahan, you are welcome to leave!

FANTASY IMPACT

The relevant fantasy players affected by a staff change is fairly limited. I honestly wouldn’t look past Alfred Morris, Robert Griffin the 3rd, or Pierre Garcon. First comes Morris. This beast of a back somehow stayed on the first line through an entire season under Shanahan – that’s saying something. He has made enough of a name for himself that he should continue to be featured and productive no matter who’s at the helm. The only threat to his numbers comes in the form of Roy Helu who was used in the no-huddle offense this season for some reason. Depending on the game situation, this has occasionally allowed Helu to steal some yards and the odd touchdown from Morris. However, I’d say Morris is still a mid to low RB1 going into next year’s draft. Next, we’ll tackle Garcon. This explosive playmaker came into this year surrounded by a lot of doubt. He took that doubt, tossed it on the ground, and stomped on it with very spiky cleats. Even with backup quarterbacks in the rotation, Garcon showed the ability to connect for receptions and break coverage. RG3 is the tough one. His fantasy career has been rocky. I wouldn’t expect nearly the same production as in his debut season no matter who takes over. He does not have the durability to keep up those rushing numbers. Luckily, he’s still a decent pocket-passer. He won’t be within the top couple tiers of quarterbacks, but he’ll be decent. Word on the street (the Washington Post) is that the Bengals’ offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden, may be the man for the coaching job. He lacks experience coaching quarterbacks, specifically, and seems more keen on improving individual receivers and runners. If this is the case, I definitely wouldn’t expect an explosive season from Griffin.

Next up, the Vikings’ Frazier and his quarterback clown car go under the microscope…

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