Shanahan defends special teams coach Keith Burns


There were some things Redskins special teams coach Keith Burns can be held responsible for lately.

From his penalty for being in an official’s way to the ridiculous performance of the Redskins in the kicking game this year, there’s plenty to choose from.

Shanahan said he’d spend more time in practice with his special teamers this week, but defended Burns Monday, a day after his guys allowed Cowboys return man Dwayne Harris an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 90-yard kickoff return.

I think Keith Burns is a very, very excellent football coach, very capable,” Shanahan said, via Mark Maske of the Washington Post. “And like I said, to get at this level and to be in charge of something, it takes a lot of years of work to be put in this position. And I feel very confident that he’ll get the job done even though he’s started out a little bit rough.”

That may be an understatement. Their special teams have been an issue all year, though most of that can be traced to things that are far from Burns’ fault.

With salary cap penalties a factor, the Redskins watched Pro Bowl special-teamer Lorenzo Alexander leave in free agency, and no one has stepped into that void to lead the special teamers on the field.

“Lorenzo Alexander is not gonna show up,” Shanahan said. “So somebody has got to take control of those special teams. And one guy has got to define himself or two guys have got to define themselves. It’s us working as a group. And it just takes one guy [making a mistake] to look pretty average.”

Getting to average would be an upgrade for the Redskins at the moment, and injuries piling up won’t help.

10 responses to “Shanahan defends special teams coach Keith Burns

  1. cue logicalvoicesays…..He’s the best special teams coach pound for pound in the NFL, Good ell has it out for Dan Snyder and anyone who works foe him….

  2. I’m not a fan of either team, but it amazes me how no analyst anywhere in the media ever mentioned, until I first heard it Sunday night, the effect of salary cap limitations on the rosters of the Cowboys and Redskins.

    When college teams have scholarships taken away, it’s talked about constantly and either used as an excuse for losing (USC) or a reason to heap extraordinary praise upon a coach when they win (Penn State). Yet no one seems to want to talk about how these teams struggles to maintain competitive have been effected by the fact that they have 10’s of millions of dollars less to spend on their rosters than everyone else does.

  3. In other words: “I won two Super Bowls, so I know what I’m talking about and you don’t (even though I really don’t know what I’m talking about).”

  4. I remember Shanahan’s Bronco teams frequently having bad special teams play. I never thought he placed enough emphasis on it, and seemed to use “leftover” players not otherwise assigned.

  5. What’s the guy going to say, “Our special teams stink and it’s all Keith Burns’ fault”? I’m sure that Shanahan is behind him “1000%”.

    The Washington franchise finds a way to lose. One week it’s this and the next week it’s that. I admire how the Washington Post always looks on the bright side though. The Ravens sportswriters are always looking for a chance to dump on the coaches and team and they are the SB champs. Go figure.

  6. Redskins have 21 of the 22 starters from last year on top of 2011’s leading rusher in Helu. So IMO… if all falls back on the coaching. Shanny needs to make another speech…

  7. How is it the coach’s fault when the kicker gets hurt and because you can’t afford anything more you have someone who has never kicked a FG in the pros before?

    How is it the coach’s fault that the team can’t tackle?

    It was stated that no-one on the ST unit has stepped up to take the lead, there is your problem, the players. You can say that it is the coach’s fault that he isn’t motivating them, however they are professionals being paid alot of money.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but if I show to work and am not motivated, i don’t get to tell my boss it is his fault.

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