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Mike Shanahan: “I think we were a playoff-caliber offense this year”

New York Jets v Washington Redskins Getty Images

The Washington Redskins were not a playoff team last season, and not even close to a playoff team. But head coach Mike Shanahan has defended his team’s offense as “playoff-caliber.”

Shanahan gave an interview to the Redskins’ website in which he was asked what improvements he needs to make for the Redskins to have a playoff-caliber offense. Shanahan responded that they’re already there.

“Well, I think we were a playoff-caliber offense this year,” Shanahan said. “But we didn’t have the depth that you need to go through a season. You can’t lose your left tackle, your left guard, your center. You can’t lose your starting running back and tight end, especially your tight end that’s your best blocker in Chris Cooley. And then you lose Santana Moss for four or five games, and a guy like [Leonard] Hankerson who finally gets ready, he goes down. And it’s just part of football. There’s no excuses. But what you have to do is you have to build your football team, where you can lose three or four guys on offense, you can lose three or four guys on defense, you’re deep enough to still win football games. And that is what great organizations do.”

But as Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post points out, the Redskins’ offense was far from great early in the season even before the injuries Shanahan mentions. Washington’s offense was healthy in Week 3, for instance, when it lost to Dallas 18-16 and gained just 298 total yards, with two turnovers.

And, of course, every NFL team has to deal with injuries. Shanahan’s old buddy Gary Kubiak would probably tell him, “Cry me a river” if he heard Shanahan complain about injuries: Kubiak’s Texans managed to make the playoffs despite an injury-riddled offense that lost its top two quarterbacks (Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart) for the season and its best receiver (Andre Johnson) and best running back (Arian Foster) for significant portions of the season.

So whatever Shanahan may say, the reality is that the Redskins’ offense wasn’t good enough last season. A big part of his job this offseason is to make the necessary changes so that the Redskins’ offense isn’t just playoff-caliber in theory, but in fact.

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77 Responses to “Mike Shanahan: “I think we were a playoff-caliber offense this year””
  1. cappa662 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:02 PM

    What does Kyle Shanahan think?

  2. pnut87 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:03 PM

    1) No.
    2) Even if you were, too bad you’re defense sucked up too much of a storm to be carried in.

  3. thraiderskin says: Mar 5, 2012 2:03 PM

    I really dislike this guy, for a number of reasons… this comment is just a taste of why.

  4. fargovikesfan says: Mar 5, 2012 2:03 PM

    is a “playoff caliber” offense anything similar to Chilly’s “Kick Ass” offense?

  5. bearsrulepackdrool says: Mar 5, 2012 2:03 PM

    You’re not going to win with Rex Grossman.

  6. baddegg says: Mar 5, 2012 2:03 PM

    Look, I’m a Redskins fan, but even I want these guys to just keep quiet in the offseason. Just say “no comment” to everything and try to let your on field actions speak. Enough already.

  7. Nikhil Balakumar says: Mar 5, 2012 2:04 PM

    u mean with manning right? i dont think rexy can put the team on his back

  8. govtminion says: Mar 5, 2012 2:05 PM

    *facepalm*

  9. cambam36 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:06 PM

    You better get RG3 ( and hope he’s not a bust) and 2 quality WRs. Otherwise, the only impactful stat will be your loses.

  10. dayumyou says: Mar 5, 2012 2:07 PM

    Shanahan is still crazy I see!

  11. benacci says: Mar 5, 2012 2:07 PM

    Does he remember the QB’s he had? Just shut up and look cute coach!

  12. andrejohnsonforpresident says: Mar 5, 2012 2:08 PM

    “And, of course, every NFL team has to deal with injuries. Shanahan’s old buddy Gary Kubiak would probably tell him, “Cry me a river” if he heard Shanahan complain about injuries: Kubiak’s Texans managed to make the playoffs despite an injury-riddled offense that lost its top two quarterbacks (Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart) for the season and its best receiver (Andre Johnson) and best running back (Arian Foster) for significant portions of the season. ”

    ahhhh yeaaa

  13. bigjdve says: Mar 5, 2012 2:08 PM

    This is going to be a long week for Redskins fans. First having people try to pin Williams’s bounty program on us. Now we have Shanny tell everyone that one of the worst offenses in Redskins history was playoff caliber.

  14. karlpilkington says: Mar 5, 2012 2:09 PM

    ugh, Shanny why do you subject us to this. Get ready skins fans because this may get 1000 comments.

  15. tos420 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:09 PM

    Can I get some of whatever Mike Shanahan is smoking?

  16. niquebchillin says: Mar 5, 2012 2:11 PM

    Might even been able to prove it ..Beck for 4 games killed that ..

  17. bearsrulepackdrool says: Mar 5, 2012 2:12 PM

    In order to have a playoff caliber offense you need to be able TO PICK A QUARTERBACK. You can’t flip-flop. If you do, don’t flip flop between tweedle-dee (John Beck) and tweedle-dum (Grossman).

  18. orcheon says: Mar 5, 2012 2:13 PM

    Meh, he’s not wrong about needing depth. Both of the previous two Super Bowl winners had tons of injury issues throughout the season.

    What the Redskins need are more starters.

  19. ethanallenhawley says: Mar 5, 2012 2:14 PM

    How embarrassing for the NFL.

    Apparently, Mike Shanahan doesn’t watch the playoffs.

  20. thedreamcomparison says: Mar 5, 2012 2:14 PM

    I think that he made these comments in the hopes that Peyton Manning would read and/or believe them and want to go to Washington.

    But he won’t.

  21. mdc21787 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:16 PM

    not with sexy behind center. the system is a great system. even with lackluster talent we moved the ball at will, then rex would throw a pick. also, shanahan was being interviewed for redskins.com by larry michael (the color commentator for skins games on their radio broadcast) so he’s not answering questions thinking that the TMZ of the NFL is going to grab what he says and twist it around to make him sound like an overconfident jergoff. but hey whatever gets you guys hits right?

  22. boilerup1869 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:16 PM

    more bluster

    starting to sound like rex, only with slightly more restrained delusions of grandeur

  23. kmurph1226 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:16 PM

    Does that mean he was thinking of having his team play in the Canadian Football League?

  24. wryly1 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:16 PM

    Owner Snyder no longer biggest obstacle to Skins. Kyle Shanahan as Offensive Coordinatoor is.

  25. cmack21 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:18 PM

    the redskins have a playoff caliber offense
    the cowboys have super bowl talent
    the eagles were the dream team.
    But the giants won the super bowl.

  26. hendawg21 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:18 PM

    Hmmm as I recall the two teams that played for in the Super Bowl NYG – NE=2 wins against the Giants and they put up 27 against NE, so they just might have a playoff offense with a bit more tinkering all will be well…

  27. jus10jonez says: Mar 5, 2012 2:19 PM

    Riiiiiiiiiiiightttttttttt. And they were suppose to be Super Bowl contenders last year. Shanahan has officially lost it. Another bad decision by Snyder.

  28. tjacks7 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:19 PM

    At the time of this post, you have no QB, lack talent at WR (although I am a Hankerson fan), and are average in the backfield and onte o-line. Your TEs are your only strong piece. Even if you bring in RG3, or Manning, or Flynn, and Vincent Jackson or another playmaker outside, you’re still going to need time to gel. Ask the eagles how the plug and play system worked for them last year. Of Snyder ever stops chasing paper championships and let’s shanahan build the show from the ground up, maybe in a couple years. I would think 8-8 would e a bright season for the skins next year.

  29. ticalcaldwell says: Mar 5, 2012 2:19 PM

    with basically no QB huh…..hey…my guys had just lost Carson Palmer this time last year…and look what happened….there is always hope young jedi

  30. mightyleemoon says: Mar 5, 2012 2:21 PM

    Whenever a coach mentions injuries he is instantly called out as whining about injuries. Fact is, it does hurt to lose a starter. Mentioning that fact is not the same as crying about it.

    This is the reason some coaches come out and pretty much give a carefully prepared vanilla statement and then only answer with generic, safe cookie-cutter responses.

  31. billsfan27 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:22 PM

    You were beaten by the Bills 23-0 and this happened with the Bills utilizing their usual “sieve” defense all year.

    Skins O was not playoff caliber.

  32. lombardihero says: Mar 5, 2012 2:24 PM

    What else is a coach to say in the off season. This teams sucks so bad I wish I was in New England:)

  33. burgundyandgold says: Mar 5, 2012 2:25 PM

    I am a die hard Redskins fan. Shanny is way wrong. They were no where near a playoff caliber team last year. You are what your record says you are. HTTR.

  34. rickastleydancemoves says: Mar 5, 2012 2:26 PM

    Sure you do Mike. You have scrubs at the qb position, a no name running back, pedestrian wide receivers, and a poor offensive line. I can see this being a playoff offense too.

  35. brintfatre says: Mar 5, 2012 2:27 PM

    Matt Leinart helped the Texans get to the playoffs by getting hurt. He shouldn’t be mentioned in the article…

  36. knn9413 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:27 PM

    Last year during my stock trading I lost $5000 when the market was going up…that means I suck.. I don’t suck if I end up on the positive side or atleast break even. Same thing goes for you Shanny.. have a winning record or atleast go 8-8. Nothing else matter especially having a qb throwing more picks

  37. alewatcher says: Mar 5, 2012 2:29 PM

    Except for the part where you need a playoff caliber QB.

  38. tropboi11 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:32 PM

    Haha what a joke, playoff caliber, yeah right, the Foreskins wont even be a .500 team next season

  39. Steeley McBeam says: Mar 5, 2012 2:36 PM

    If I was a Redskins fan and wanted to buy a jersey I wouldnt even know where to start. Almost every team has at least 1 playmaker on offense that fans can get behind.

    Roy Helu? Fred Davis? Santana Moss? No thanks.

  40. east96st says: Mar 5, 2012 2:38 PM

    Although, many of them were on defense, no NFC team lost more starters in more games than the Giants. All they did was win the Super Bowl.

  41. richardhurtz says: Mar 5, 2012 2:38 PM

    LOL! When was the last time Shanahan made the playoffs? Seriously, it’s got to be at least 4-5 years right? He hasn’t done jack since Elway and Terrell Davis retired.

    Shanahan is another has been brought in by backwards thinking Dan Synder. From Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders to McNabb and Shanahan, Synder is stuck in the past and the Redskins will never win until he sells the team or dies. Being he has no plans on selling and seems pretty healthy, Redskins fans may want to hold off on buying those playoff tickets….

  42. p01ntman says: Mar 5, 2012 2:40 PM

    Great ! Now we have to hear Lavar and Dukes talk about this all the way home today and until next season ends.

  43. prosb4hos says: Mar 5, 2012 2:40 PM

    What year is this, 1998??

  44. jacunn2000 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:42 PM

    Yea, no need to worry about putting a QB in place or anything…. Wow, this guy just seems lost. If the Skins get RGIII, then just maybe they get to 8 and 8 this year.

  45. bullcharger says: Mar 5, 2012 2:43 PM

    There are 3 teams better than the redskins in their own division! They have no hope at all.

  46. eshine76 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:46 PM

    If that’s the case, I guess they don’t need to waste money on a WR or trade up for RGIII. I guess just upgrade the defense and get some depth. That’s all that kept them from winning a Super Bowl. They did beat the Giants twice this year… #delusional

  47. randolph32 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:47 PM

    Gee, no Redskin love for the skipper?

    They need a modern version of Billy Kilmer….

  48. thunderskins007 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:48 PM

    wow! really? i’m a skins fan and this comment is absolutely ridiculous. we had the turnoverosaurus rex at the QB slot carving up defenses with his baby hands. i think he fumbles so much cause he has tiny hands. i think he had over 20 total turnovers by himself. playoff caliber huh? shanahan’s brain is fried from all those extra hours in the tanning beds. what a joke.

  49. geemoney713 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:52 PM

    The team really was 3-1 and almost 4-0 (if Hall hadn’t given up that last 15 yard pass to Dez for the first down). Shanny might not have had the best offense in Dallas that game, but they ran over the Giants to an extent in week 1, did pretty well against the Cards. The offense really fell apart when they lost their starting left tackle and starting left guard in the same game.

    I’m not saying it’s an excuse, but Shanahan has a point that they were decent and had a good running game before the line got injured and hightower went out. They started to get it together toward the end of the year again when they beat the Giants.

    Grossman definitely sucks, but I don’t think it’s out of the question to say it could be a good (not great) offense if QB is fixed and some depth is added.

  50. patcheatiots says: Mar 5, 2012 2:52 PM

    LOL, Boy Wonder You Picked a Winner for a Coach.
    Forget RG3..
    Psycho Coach and Son will Ruin Him

  51. jamaltimore says: Mar 5, 2012 2:53 PM

    I hope the NFL steals the redskins 1st round pick for the greg williams bounty gate. With comments like this they just don’t deserve anyone good. A playoff offense doesn’t have a qb who consistently throws more int’s than TD’s.

    Wasn’t Kubiak QB coach in Denver with Elway? Shanahan without kubiak is a worthless little pruned rat of a coach.

  52. rufustfireflyjr says: Mar 5, 2012 2:53 PM

    You folks didn’t actually think that Shanny was going to answer this question frankly, did you, thereby telling everybody what positions the ‘Skins were going to target in the draft and in free agency? And he wasn’t going to publicly throw his current players at those positions under the bus, either. I guarrantee you that Shanny knows that his QBs are awful and that he has a shortage of playmakers on offense. The guy may be many things, but “stupid” isn’t one of them.

  53. JC says: Mar 5, 2012 2:55 PM

    Is there any NFC East team that doesnt think they are playoff caliber? I mean the only team that has any right to talk in that division is the Giants.

  54. horatio69 says: Mar 5, 2012 2:58 PM

    After reading Shanny’s comments, I have two questions:

    1) What has he been smoking?, and

    2) Where can I get some?

    Either that, or Shanny was mistakenly talking about the 1991 Redskins offense when he was doing the interview.

  55. tinopuno says: Mar 5, 2012 2:59 PM

    Just who does this smug phony think he’s fooling? He parlayed 2 SB wins, largely courtesy of Elway and Davis, into a rep as a coaching Oz. But now in DC, the curtain has been pulled back revealing a very ordinary little man with an over sized ego and an equally pedestrian Offensive Coordinator.

  56. rdrs68 says: Mar 5, 2012 3:00 PM

    The skins will never be anything as long as “THE Mastermind” and his kid are in charge.

  57. therealsmiley says: Mar 5, 2012 3:01 PM

    If the Giants can win the Super Bowl, we can have a playoff caliber offense. Hail!

  58. therealsmiley says: Mar 5, 2012 3:02 PM

    P.S. No depth? Don’t trade the picks away for RGIII.

  59. dirtydrynn27 says: Mar 5, 2012 3:05 PM

    Been a Skins fan since 1972 but to tell you the truth…..Shanny should just be quiet….Hey Steely I have a Santana Moss Jersey and Im not ashamed to wear it……Roy Helu is nice dude,maybe you need to take another look!

  60. mhalt99 says: Mar 5, 2012 3:10 PM

    actually…..we should cut Shanny some slack….in terms of the NFC East he is right:

    The Eagles are the Dream Team

    The Cowboys would rather have Romo than Montana or Young or Brady or……….

    The Giants have the worst coach in the world who got lucky during one playoff run (according to NY Post & Daily news before the season)

    and of course the Redskins had a playoff offense that his Shanny’s kid ran………
    .
    .
    .
    .
    “One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in kings, is that nature disapproves it, otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule, by giving mankind an ass for a lion”

  61. jbcommonsense says: Mar 5, 2012 3:11 PM

    As a Redskin fan, I find his defensive, complacent attitude VERY depressing.

  62. blackqbwhiterb says: Mar 5, 2012 3:15 PM

    All you people are killing me. This past season was a rebuilding year, they DID have a ton of injuries. But a few young guys got experience- Helu, Royster, Willie Smith, Chris Neild- and they WILL be much better next year. They need a right tackle and a QB, no argument there…but as the season wore on, Kyle’s play calling got better, the line got better even with backups. They need a couple pieces, significant pieces, but this team is getting better. So quit the hating! Hail!!!

  63. craggt says: Mar 5, 2012 3:27 PM

    The the team that scored the 26th most points in the NFL has a “playoff caliber” offense? Get real, even the Alex Smith led Niners scored 92 more points than the Redskins. For those playing the home game thats 5.75 points per game, not exactly a small margin. And they probably had the worst offense of any “playoff” team.

  64. ttommytom says: Mar 5, 2012 3:36 PM

    I’m a Giants fan. I really dislike Philly and Dallas. Fans, team and so on. Not so with Washington.

    Over the years, they have always been…well…not stupid like the other two teams. The St Louis Cardinal’s fans (old NFC East) were OK too.

    I feel bad for you all again. This guy is one John Elway and Terrell Davis from being a great coach.

    And to his statement? hahahahah…you’re kidding right?

  65. deadmanwalking47 says: Mar 5, 2012 3:38 PM

    skins beat the giants twice and played close games against good teams,but they were’nt that good because of the qb situation which shanny staked his reputation on,and lost! the team had no confidence in either qb,wtf did we lose to the vikings?

  66. mikehockhurtz says: Mar 5, 2012 3:41 PM

    No need to trade up for RGIII then….

  67. gnomad says: Mar 5, 2012 3:41 PM

    Mike Shannahan has forgotten more about football than I will ever know. Unfortunately, the stuff he’s forgotten was pretty important….

  68. mikehockhurtz says: Mar 5, 2012 3:43 PM

    Mike Shanahan: “I think we were a playoff-caliber offense this year”

    *********************

    Jerry Jones: “I think I’m a playoff caliber GM”

  69. cipher0352 says: Mar 5, 2012 3:43 PM

    Why does Shanny still trying to defend Rex and Beck as a legitimate QB? Just shut your mouth and draft a QB

  70. themonster49 says: Mar 5, 2012 3:46 PM

    This coming from the guy that, in all honesty, most likely hindered, again, his team’s chance of making it to the playoffs.

    These QBs are not children Shanahan, and unless your system has been working, WHICH IT HAS NOT, then you should not micro-manage a grown man making millions of dollars who happened to specifically be playing the #1 “Leader” position on your team.

    Way To Go, Shanahan! Maybe next year you can have a SuperBowl-caliber team and not make the playoffs. How about some more of that musical-QBs during the season. How that crap every year doesn’t get you fired as a proven (now at least) failure, I don’t know.

  71. andyb053 says: Mar 5, 2012 3:52 PM

    richardhurtz says:
    Mar 5, 2012 2:38 PM
    LOL! When was the last time Shanahan made the playoffs? Seriously, it’s got to be at least 4-5 years right? He hasn’t done jack since Elway and Terrell Davis retired.

    Shanahan is another has been brought in by backwards thinking Dan Synder. From Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders to McNabb and Shanahan, Synder is stuck in the past and the Redskins will never win until he sells the team or dies. Being he has no plans on selling and seems pretty healthy, Redskins fans may want to hold off on buying those playoff tickets….

    —————————————

    Bruce Smith and Deion Sanders were brought on in the Spring of 2000. Tom Brady hadn’t been drafted yet. Bill Clinton was still President. The Backstreet Boys and NSync dominated music. That was a long time ago. That’s like saying the Chargers are a horrible franchise today because they drafted the biggest bust in NFL history. It happened in the past and there’s not one player or coach that is still on the team. Several teams have gone through several iterations since then.

    It’s a different day, bud.

  72. stavreafavre says: Mar 5, 2012 3:53 PM

    I guess coaches suffer multiple concussions too…

  73. bbeaman78 says: Mar 5, 2012 3:55 PM

    I think that Mike Shannahan and Jerry Jones drink together. What a joke. Besides Santana Moss, who else do they have at wide receiver? Not to mention who will throw the ball.

    If Peyton Manning does get released, he should avoid this franchise.

  74. jjackwagon says: Mar 5, 2012 3:57 PM

    The crazy part is the fact that the NFC East had a worse winning percentage than every division except the AFC South. And yet some how the NFC West and AFC West are considered the weakest divisions in the league. The numbers don’t lie.

  75. dpndots says: Mar 5, 2012 4:22 PM

    Good to know what he THINKs instea of what he knows. Whew.

    #sighofRelief

  76. mcconnellrules says: Mar 5, 2012 10:25 PM

    jjackwagon: The crazy part is the fact that the NFC East had a worse winning percentage than every division except the AFC South. And yet some how the NFC West and AFC West are considered the weakest divisions in the league. The numbers don’t lie.

    …You know the Giants won the superbowl.. right?

  77. axespray says: Mar 6, 2012 2:53 AM

    Has a point, I mean if the 49ers can make the playoffs with that Field Goal happy offense, then… idk, sure.

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