Shanahan took over the Denver Broncos in 1995 and saw some modest offensive upgrades over his first two seasons. During his third year at the helm the Broncos’ offense exploded onto the scene with improved rushing numbers and more efficient quarterback play. That offensive improvement propelled Denver to the Super Bowl. Then, during his fourth year in Denver they improved more dramatically and their production resulted in even more impressive offensive metrics (shown below) along with a second consecutive Super Bowl championship.
|Metric||1995 (Year 1)||1996 (Year 2)||1997 (Year 3)||1998 (Year 4)|
|Yards Per Play||5.7||5.3||5.5||5.9|
|Net Yards Per Passing Attempt||6.5||6.0||6.4||7.0|
|Yards Per Carry||4.5||4.5||4.6||4.7|
In Washington, Shanahan inherited an even more offensively challenged team than he did in Denver. Once again, his first couple years looked okay (mostly by virtue of being compared to the anemic offense from the previous season), but the Redskins saw massive improvements across the board in year three en route to the NFC East title. What’s even more exciting is that the Redskins’ numbers in 2012 (shown below) dwarf those put up by either of Shanahan’s two Super Bowl teams in Denver. If Shanahan’s trend continues and we see further improvement next year, the sky is the limit for where the offense can lead this team. I took the improvement factor between Shanahan’s third and fourth years in Denver and applied it to next year , trying to forecast the output we can expect from the Redskins’ offense. The results are staggering.
|Metric||2010 (Year 1)||2011 (Year 2)||2012 (Year 3)||2013 (Year 4) Projected|
|Yards Per Play||5.4||5.2||6.2||6.7|
|Net Yards Per Passing Attempt||6.0||6.0||7.2||7.9|
|Yards Per Carry||4.2||4.0||5.2||5.3|
Another less tangible area of improvement may come from the key players who will be entering their second season under Shanahan. It’s only reasonable to assume that another season of gaining comfort with the scheme and playbook as well as a full off-season would make players like Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon, and Josh Morgan that much more comfortable.
All signs point to a very exciting and dynamic offense in 2013.