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Kyle Shanahan says he's excited about Redskins' offensive line

If you've grown tired of hearing the Redskins' offensive line maligned and criticized, then Kyle Shanahan's minicamp thoughts will come as a breath of fresh air. If you think, however, that the Redskins' offensive line is a problem area, you may read this and scratch your head.

In his first organized meeting with reporters Sunday, the team's new offensive coordinator said, "I'm real excited about our offensive line," noting that he was pleased with its collective performance during the team's three-day camp.

While many around the league expect the Redskins to draft a left tackle with the fourth overall pick of this week's draft, Shanahan said he has confidence in the tackles on the roster and thinks the Redskins have a competitive group already.

Certainly, the Redskins wouldn't mind an upgrade at just about any position, but it'd seem the tackle positions are areas especially ripe for improvement. During the team's minicamp, the first-team group included Stephon Heyer at left tackle, Derrick Dockery at left guard, Casey Rabach at center, Mike Williams at right guard and Artis Hicks at right tackle.

Shanahan said he's aware the group has faced criticism for its play the past few seasons.

"I don't see it on tape and I don't see it out on the field. I think we got some real good players," he said. "I think we got some big guys who aren't just big guys who stand still. We got some big guys who can move. We've just got to get them in shape and get them used to running the zone scheme and running and cutting."

Some within the Redskins' organization have said that Mike Shanahan and his staff are comfortable with their inside linemen but feel both tackle positions could be significantly upgraded.

Despite what Redskins' fans and league observers might've noted last season, Kyle Shanahan said he reviewed game film and saw plenty of potential.

"When you watch tape of an old staff, you don't want to watch too much because you're not watching scheme," he said. "You don't know what they're asking players to do. ...When you watch the individual, you do see talent. You see size and you also see speed. As a coach, that's all you can ask for. Now we want to get them on the field and see. We know they're talented; can they do what we're asking them to do?"

While most teams utilize some form of a zone blocking scheme, Shanahan said the Redskins will be committed to it 100 percent of the time. In describing the perfect linemen for the team's blocking scheme, he said the Redskins aren't specifically looking for lighter men.

"Everyone thinks you want them small and quick," Kyle Shanahan said. "Well, we want them fast. They've got to be able to run. We'd love a big guy, too. Not all big guys can run. If you can get a big guy who can run, then you've got Pro Bowl type players. It's just hard to find those guys."

By Rick Maese  |  April 18, 2010; 5:10 PM ET
Categories:  Kyle Shanahan , Offensive line  
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Next: Landry puts trade rumors behind him, prepares for new defense


Milk & cookies got you up at night, JR?

Posted by: Oogalaboogala | April 18, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Kyle Shanahan says he's excited about Redskins' offensive line

No really, what did he actually say?

Posted by: AlohaFan | April 18, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Kyle Shanahan says he's excited about Redskins' offensive line

No really, what did he actually say?

Posted by: AlohaFan | April 18, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Wow. I realize the Redskins need to put misinformation out there about their draft intentions, but Kyle must have been laughing his butt off through this interview. There's no way he said this with a straight face.

Posted by: C-DubDC | April 18, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The game film must of been really grainy..

Posted by: ga8085 | April 18, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I think he was watching film before Thomas and Samuel went down. Someone needs to tell him they're not on the roster anymore.

Posted by: League-Source | April 18, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

What the hell game was he watching? It must have been film from 2006.

Posted by: jtrob_1 | April 18, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Didn't you guys ask Shanahan any questions about Albert Haynesworth? What's the matter with you guys?

Posted by: League-Source |

For a journalistic genius, you sure don't understand the concept of frequent internet updates during a presser.

Or does your "what's the matter with you guys?" comment make you feel all warm and gushy inside?

Posted by: TheCork | April 18, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I mean it was only so much Buges could do with that horrible play calling and system they had the past two years.. It wouldnt surprise me at all if they line performed better under a BETTER system.. And with better trainers..

Posted by: cocodc1 | April 18, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he thought when he came in we were the absolute WORST O-line in the league..And then when he found out we are next to worst, he was relieved...

F*** all that undercoverly funded Tea Party BS , they hijack rebellions around here all the time, that fake A.N.S.W.E.R. bullsh*t, the problem is the Fed is owned by the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, all the Warmachine bank families, they use America like the sword of empire for the spread of so-called Western Civilization, and they own the dollar printing presses, they're Masons, paving the Earth to control it...heh..

Posted by: frak | April 18, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

More Koolaid, Kyle?

Well okay, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to have these guys in shape but..hey wait a minute he does know Zorn was wrong and the skins dont' actually wear purple and black, right?

Posted by: TheCork | April 18, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

REALLY! The only way this is possible is that our team had no direction or coaching before now. That can't be true. Can it?

Posted by: MDterpfan | April 18, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

They did better toward the end of the season. With dockery, rabach, Williams/Hicks we are not particularly weak on the interior, but without a doubt we need a couple of tackles.

Posted by: monkeymayonaise | April 18, 2010 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Do you expect him to say they all suck? He has to work with them every day. When we draft a LT at #4, he will say we're excited about working with the new talent, when we sign another free agent after the draft, he will say competition is good.

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | April 18, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

You can't draft an entire starting Offensive Line in one draft (especially when you have 4 picks). I think Shanahan will get the most out of these guys. No way this Oline is an elite group in one season.

Posted by: rickyroge | April 18, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Does Kyle's scheme involve his tackles lying on their backs watching their QB getting sacked? If so, then he must be really excited by the guys he inherited!

Is he just trying to pump up his current staff or just throw curveballs to everyone? He is a chip off the old block for sure.

Posted by: DC2AZ99 | April 18, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Do you expect him to say they all suck?

Posted by: BrooklynSkins | April 18, 2010 6:02 PM


No, but don't pi$$ on my head and tell me it's raining, either. Redskins fans are smarter than that. We know the talent there and he shouldn't be hyping it up like this is going to be a good O-line. It probably won't even be a mediocre O-line. What should he say? He should say we all know they had some inconsistency last year, that was partly due to injuries, but O-line is vital and the best players will play. So, people will need to bring their "A" games this year.

Posted by: C-DubDC | April 18, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Whoa!! Some serious SPIN going on here!

Is it designed to instill confidence in players and fans?

Or is it to tell the rest of the league "Draft an O-lineman? Noooo. Who US?? Naw, we don't need an O-lineman; we don't need a trade. We're happy with who we've got." wink wink

Posted by: heyjoe728 | April 18, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm not asconcerned about the OL now that I know they've been playing out of shape the last two seasons. It sems like when Joe Gibbs left thing gota little slack around Redskin Park.

Posted by: cjpiper | April 18, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

i agree somewhat with what kyle is saying.....although i am not jumping for joy with the current offensive line we have, i will agree that part of why they sucked so much was due to the play calling, and yuo really have no idea what type of plays they were expected to run in 2008, if they were good or bad, and the outcome, etc (outcome not so good)
i expect with both mcnabb as the qb, and the shanahan clan as our coaches the line will be much improved.

i still think they should get gaither from balt if possible.

Posted by: ecartola | April 18, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

2009 sorry

Posted by: ecartola | April 18, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he thinks the real reason for the all the sacks and fumbles is on our old QB Jason Campbell. I've been saying for years he holds the ball way too long and I think he leads the NFL in fumbles the last 3 years. Guy cant hold the ball.

Posted by: ssktigers | April 18, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

"The game film must of been really grainy.."

Lol, yeah Buges slipped in film of the Hogs before he left and said it was 2009. ;)

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | April 18, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

When a coach looks at the performance of an offensive lineman one of the main factors they look at is the cohesiveness of the group and the way they carried out their assignments. Often when you watch a game on TV or in person you don't know the reads or the assignments that the lineman were making.

This is where the play of the quarterback comes into play. Often the offensive scheme calls for the linemen to establish a pocket either directly behind the center or behind the right or left guard based on the patterns or play called. If the QB does not adhere to the designed pocket the linemen look like they totally blew the play.
If the quarterback has a play that is designed to be a quick read with no established pocket, requiring the linemen to establish positional blocking, such as a short route over the middle, the failure of the quarterback to take the proper reads and deliver the ball makes the line look bad as well. Campbell frequently was slow to move through his progression of reads and often moved in a direction that appeared to was away from the pocket. When linemen do not feel the quarterback will be where they are supposed to be they lose confidence in the quarterback.

Running plays are also the same way. Certain backs hit the hole at a certain time or in a certain manner. Losing multiple backs throws off the timing. It would be noticed that at the end of the year when the line became familiar with the styles of some of the new backs the running game became much better.

The offensive line last year was not great, probably not even good, but as the year progressed Mike Williams got better and the center and other guard positions appear solid. Heyer at best is a good right tackle and will continue to struggle at Left Tackle. Hicks is an average right tackle, but appears to have a lot of versatility. Okung could really help solidify the line. The biggest advantage of McNabb is that he appears to do a good job of sticking to the assigned blocking schemes and getting into the pocket.

Posted by: caseprof | April 18, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

If the line is fine then they can draft Bradford - if he falls to #4. Yippy.

Posted by: coparker5 | April 18, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he thinks the real reason for the all the sacks and fumbles is on our old QB Jason Campbell. I've been saying for years he holds the ball way too long and I think he leads the NFL in fumbles the last 3 years. Guy cant hold the ball.

Posted by: ssktigers | April 18, 2010 7:32PM

I guess 2 to 3 seconds is just way too long!

Posted by: abxinc | April 18, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Our line last year was weak and injury-plagued. But also keep in mind:

1. Campbell makes poor reads
2. Campbell throws slowly
3. Portis was hurt and the other runners were crap
4. Play-calling was like Tecmo Bowl, only worse
5. Our off-season training regime was crap
6. Our only good coach was coaching the line but nearing retirment.
7. Head coaching was non-existent
8. We were very competitive when the play caller changed.
9. Our backup linemen were inexperienced.

Obviously we need more depth and at least a new left tackle, if not more. But these guys with good coaching and a support structure would be much, much better.

Posted by: lordtwang | April 18, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Come on man, that's crazy talk!

Posted by: RollTide1 | April 18, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

So because this is reids article what Kyle say's can't be true? If you read the article you would understand why he is praising the players they already have. When he watched the film he concentrated on each player verus the scheme/play. Unlike most of you the new coaching staff are taking into consideration that the team was so poorly mismanaged (to include Gibbs 2nd tenure there) in so many ways that with the right people (Allen, the Shanahans, and new strength and conditioning personnel) they see promise in the players they already have. Every one who say's the line sucked (which it has) never gave it thought to why other than the it must be the players. Well do you all think Samuels sucked? How about Dockery? Rabach? These guys have been the main guys for the past few years yet the line still sucked! Was it them? NO!!! The first thing Allen and Shanahan did was fire the strenght and conditioning personnel...ALL OF THEM! This was the main reason why the line sucked. They taught nothing, enforced nothing, and had no work out plan. The players are even coming out and saying this. So please start paying attention if you are real fans and stop with all the bull your writing. All our lineman at one time, a lot of times together have been injured and it was a direct result of poor strenght and conditioning not bad players. Not too mention when the offensive plan is to throw the ball 5 yards or less (Gibbs was doing this well before Zorn came in) you can't succeed. Now the other reason why the line play looked horrific. JASON CAMPBELL!!! Every one wants to say it is the line, well it wasn't. The line had to deal with defenses stacking the box and constantly bringing pressure due to Campbell being the QB and poor play calling. It had nothing to do with the line. Defenses weren't just getting pressure with 4 guys, they were constantly bring in blitzing LB's and no line could handle that time and again when they were not prepared for it. You can thank the strength and conditioning program/personnel for this. Injuries, fatigue, and just being unprepared is what happened. Did I mention the first thing the new guys did was implement a new program? I wonder why? Get a clue people. This line will do wonders with the two Shanahans directing them. Only way we are taking an OL in 1st rd is if we manage to pick up a late rd 1st. #4 will not be an OL.

Posted by: Rep281 | April 18, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Excellent post twang.

Posted by: Rep281 | April 18, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

can you say smoke screen

Posted by: DLESMonday | April 18, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

The key is getting our cornerstone LT in the draft. If we do that, I agree we can have a decent O line.

Posted by: kenboy1 | April 18, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

you guys are now set on the o-line

can't wait to kick your ***

eagles rule

Posted by: eaglesrule | April 18, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

HAHAHAHAHAAA! $nyder probably told Shan Jr. to say all of those things. Instilling confidence in the fans is straight out of the marketing for $$$ handbook that $nyder co-wrote. The sad thing is, many Redskin fans will buy it.


Posted by: HawksPride | April 18, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Well, what did you expected? Kyle saying "this group sucks and were gonna overreach for any linemen in the draft" its not particulary smart, specially just before the draft. Remember that its all smoke and mirrors before it.

Posted by: arbano1 | April 18, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Get Okung at #4 and another tackle with the pick you get for JC... Then I will believe you like the line!!!

Posted by: goskinsgo1 | April 19, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Hey, anybody know where I can get some nude photos of McNabb?

I am SOOO into him. He's got those big ol' guns and stuff.

I even followed him to RI when Philly traded him to D.C. Well, anyway, time for me to go eat a cheese steak sub with cream cheese in my brown Lay-Z-Boy from 1981. In the dark. Wearing a wife-beater. In a brownstone. In sorry ass Philadelphia. Where it stinks. And where everybody else is just like me. (just picked my nose and ate it... appetizer)

Oh, by the way,

eagles rule!

Posted by: Thinker_ | April 19, 2010 3:17 AM | Report abuse

Kyle said they are a 'competitive' group. That's good for depth, but it would be nice to have a 'dominant' group. No doubt we'll add to this group through the draft. McNabb may have demanded we get an LT before he agreed to come here. If we get a round 2 pick, it would happen there.

Posted by: Gibbs4Pres | April 19, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Pre-Draft B.S. - Translation: Any of you turds below us who want our pick to nab a QB, hit me up, dog.

Posted by: clark202 | April 19, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Somebody must have popped in an America's Game CD...

Posted by: Scoonie97 | April 19, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

The video tech for that game film MUST have been Abraham Zapruder...

Posted by: ThinkingMan | April 19, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

THe test of a good coach is getting maximum performance from the talent that you have.

Given that......Last year's OL woes were a combination of many things...not just the players.

At least the young guys got PLENTY of playing time last year.....and the fact that McNabb can make a decision in 1/2 the time it takes Campbell can't hurt either.

Posted by: GoonieGooGoo | April 19, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

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