Mike Shanahan’s Building a Super Offense

| February 20, 2013 | 1 Comments

Mike Shanahan’s history is beginning to repeat itself. And, for fans of the Washington Redskins, that could be a very good thing.

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)
Points Scored 388 391 472 501
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
QB Rating 86.4 84.3 87.4 93.5
Mike Shanahan and Robert Griffin III have a pre-game laugh

Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images North America

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
Points Scored 302 288 436 463
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
QB Rating 78.0 73.3 102.1 109.2

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.

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1 comments
Podcast fan
Podcast fan

Great article, keep bringing the heat Ryan. I also agree on all levels with the projected numbers that the offense could and will put up. People forget that in Denver J Cutlers 2nd full season of starting was awesome when looking at the numbers. His down fall is that he didn't take care of the ball. I for one think that Robert is light years ahead of cutler in ball protection. And put that together with a second year in the offense, understanding things better is a recipe for hurt pie for the rest of the NFL. Add in more weapons and hopefully a better O line, man is this gonna be fun ti watch!

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