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It's not his father's shadow that Browns new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan needs to escape

Feb 06, 2014 -- 2:10pm

By Tony Grossi |


Extra Points …

So long, Bob: You might presume that Kyle Shanahan has an eye for mobile quarterbacks. Because he surely knows the feel for running from pressure.

Shanahan is widely cast as escaping the shadow of his father, Mike, by taking the offensive coordinator job offered by new Browns coach Mike Pettine. In truth, the shadow of Robert Griffin 3 is what Kyle Shanahan hopes to leave behind in Washington.

If the Browns’ situation was considered “toxic,” then the Washington experience in 2013 with the Shanahans and RG3 and Dan Snyder had to be akin to radioactive lava.

There were tales of RG3 buddying up with Snyder and throwing teammates under the bus as his own play regressed. As the losses mounted – 13 at the end – RG3 reportedly developed “trust issues” with Mike and Kyle.

“Anytime you go through a 3-13 season, it is a challenge,” said Kyle, who was introduced on Thursday, along with Browns defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor.

“It’s a challenge in a relationship, it’s a challenge for everybody in the organization. You’ve got to deal with a lot of stuff, a lot of negativity. And the thing I learned going through that, especially with a high-profile guy, (is) there’s a lot more stuff that comes out. The thing I always did with him, when stuff came out, we’d address it. We’d talk about it and make sure we felt good about it.

“I think Robert and I, though a very tough time, we managed to keep our relationship through the year. I’m not going to say it was easy. Nothing’s easy when you go through something like that. But I do believe going through that, as hard as it was, helped me. I think when all is said and done and looking back at it, I’m really appreciative of some of the stuff he did for me and I really believe he’s appreciative of some of the stuff I did for him.”

Hello, Brian: It may be no relief to Shanahan to know there is no “high-profile guy” manning the quarterback position in Cleveland. Not yet, anyway. That could change after the draft.

Until then, Shanahan will size up Browns incumbent starter Brian Hoyer and see how he fits into Shanahan’s zone-blocking, play-action passing game.

Shanahan said he was “a big fan” of Hoyer’s coming out of Michigan State in 2009 and reviewed him again when New England let Hoyer go in 2012. By then, Shanahan had his hands full with RG3 and Kirk Cousins as rookies.

“I think Brian’s a very capable guy,” Shanahan said. “Everyone’s looking for one of those top five guys. If you’re not one of those top five guys, then odds are you’re trying to get replaced. Obviously, no one here has proven they are one of those top five guys.

“But he has shown he can play in this league. You’ve got to see what his ceiling is and how high a level he can reach. Everyone wants a franchise quarterback. I truly believe that’s the only way to have sustained success in this league. I’m not saying he is. But he hasn’t shown that he can’t be. So I’m looking forward to studying him more. It’s nice to be in this building so I can look at a lot of practice tape, also.”

Where’s Johnny?: There’s no higher profile guy in the coming draft than Johnny Manziel. He’s been linked to the Browns so much by the national draftniks that it’s taken for granted as reality now that Johnny Football is the apple of Joe Banner’s eye.

At Texas A&M, Manziel displayed the same dynamic skill set that RG3 has, but also the same physical limitations that have impeded RG3’s pro career. Shanahan surely failed to get through to RG3 on when and how to run, especially in his second season when things really got unraveled. The discipline demonstrated by Russell Wilson just isn’t there with RG3 – and it’s going to be the No. 1 challenge for Jay Gruden, Washington’s new coach.

In hiring Shanahan, the Browns presumably will use the coordinator to help in the search for their next quarterback. You figure that Shanahan’s experience with RG3 will help them gauge Manziel’s “coachability.”

Manziel’s name never came up in the Shanahan introductory press conference. On the issue of helping in the draft process, he said, “I’m going to do that as best as I can, give an honest opinion, and then … the people that make those decisions decide on that.

“There’s lots of ways to win in this game. Lots of ways to move the ball, lots of ways to score touchdowns. Everybody does it differently. I’ve been a coordinator six years and played with seven different quarterbacks. Each guy’s been a little different.

“I’ve had athletic guys, I’ve had some non-athletic guys. You’ve got to be able to adjust. You’ve got to put in a scheme that’s flexible. You’ve got to do what your quarterback’s best at. You don’t need a certain type of quarterback. You want a good quarterback.”


Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and

He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to

Follow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi




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