Kyle Shanahan is a good offensive coordinator, but he's going to a tough situation. Cleveland hired almost all of its offensive coaches before hiring its coordinator, which is a bit unusual. And it makes it tough on a coach because he'll now have to teach his offense to an entire staff and then to the players.
It's not an ideal situation, but it will allow Shanahan to rebuild his reputation -- if it works. He'll need to somehow find a way to bring someone he knows with him, possibly finding a spot for Mike McDaniel, his receivers coach this past season. There's a definite chance that happens. Or by luring Rex Grossman to be a No. 3 quarterback in Cleveland.
Shanahan will need someone there who knows his offense and knows him. Every coordinator needs someone he can trust on his staff. Makes it tough when the coaches on your staff are hired for you (as happened to the Redskins' defense). That's why this is a slight risk for Shanahan and if it doesn't work his coaching career takes a setback. Of course, the opposite is true if he does well then he'll shoot up fast.
But do not expect Shanahan to be the one deciding who will start at quarterback in Cleveland. In other words, don't assume that just because he's there the Browns will suddenly trade for Kirk Cousins. Joe Banner is running that show and it matters most what he (and to a lesser extent Mike Lombardi) thinks. My guess is the name you will continue to hear associated with the Browns is Johnny Manziel. That would give Shanahan another dynamic young quarterback, but also one who will need to learn how to be an NFL passer.
My guy Chris Russell from ESPN980 had some interesting draft stats on Twitter last night. As you know, my big thing is draft and develop. Well, in the Mike Shanahan era the Redskins only used 14 of 34 draft picks on the defense. Obviously they had bigger needs offensively for a couple years. But that's still a low number of picks devoted to defense.
And I've used Seattle as a way to draft and develop, but the Seahawks were excellent at constantly making transactions to find hidden gems. Meanwhile, in the draft the Seahawks used 24 of 39 picks on defensive players. Of course, they still made it work on offense with only 15 picks. And the Redskins haven't really hit on any of their low-round picks. But, still, it's easier to find gems when you have more to choose from. By the way, of those 14 picks only three became full-time starters: Perry Riley, Ryan Kerrigan and Jarvis Jenkins. David Amerson was a regular and could be a starter in 2014.
Every year there is a high rate of turnover among playoff teams. Just look at the past five years, for example. Each season at least five teams made the playoffs who were not in it the previous season. Twice there were six new teams.
In the past two seasons, four teams with first-year head coaches have made the playoffs. The Redskins could do it and I think everyone knows what it will take: a terrific season by Robert Griffin III and an improved defense. No great insight there, but it's rather simple. If Griffin rebounds -- and the offense turns it over a lot less -- then the Redskins have a shot. They'll have a great shot if Griffin is just good but the defense is excellent. A lot of changes will need to take place for that to happen. The Redskins need to get away from being so reliant on Griffin, though nobody on the roster can raise the level of play of those around him like he can.