Skip to main content

Shanahan discusses new role


Shanahan is particularly excited about the Texans' addition of Alex Gibbs to the offensive coaching staff. The two coaches have known each other since Shanahan's youth.

Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kyle Shanahan sat down with Texans TV's Nate Griffin Tuesday to discuss his new role as the youngest offensive coordinator in the NFL.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV):Kyle, as you delve into 2008, your thoughts about the promotion to offensive coordinator.

Kyle Shanahan: Well, I'm real excited about it, obviously. It was a goal of mine, and I'm real excited about the coaching staff we have, the people we're working with. Bringing in Alex (Gibbs) is going to be great, having his expertise on the run game and everything, and it's going to be fun to work with our quarterbacks and really all the players that we have an offense. We've got a good group of guys, and they make it fun coaching for all of us.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV):Was this is a job you were interested in, and how did you state your case to coach Kubiak that you deserved the promotion?

Kyle Shanahan:You know, I never really went in there and stated it to him because I think it was pretty obvious that I wanted it. And you know, I think coaching is very competitive. I mean, coaching is almost year-to-year if you look at it, based on if you're successful or not, and so I think you're stating your case every day you come to work. And some guys are just staying in their position and doing that inside and out, but every day I've always been trying to learn other positions and prove to coach Kubiak and the players and stuff that I can handle seeing more than just one position.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV):Well, in that case, you know you've got to bring something new to the offense. What do you think you bring?

Kyle Shanahan:You know, we've got some good offensive coaches here. Hopefully I can bring some of my personality a little bit. We have something that's been established here. It's not that I'm bringing in a whole new system or anything; it's not like it's my system or anything. We've changed in our two years here. It's been a little different each year, and based off how our personnel goes in this offseason through the draft, through free agency, it could change next year. But we have a system in right now and we'll always adjust, though, based on the injuries and who we have and stuff, so you really never know until game time comes.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV):You played wide receiver at Texas; that's well documented. You coached the quarterbacks here. Would you say that the passing game in particular is your area of expertise?

Kyle Shanahan:Yes, without a doubt. That's the first thing I learned, obviously, playing. I was a quarterback growing up, played receiver towards the end of high school. I couldn't throw it far enough, so I had to decide that my best chance to play in college was being a wide receiver, so I moved to that my junior year in high school and I've always been more involved in the passing game. And then I got my start as a coach here as a wide receiver coach and then moved to quarterback coach and so my expertise definitely is in the passing game, but the run game is something that I enjoy. It's something that I've been studying every day since I became a coach and I look forward, especially with the guys we have here who know how to run the ball helping with it, and myself getting better listening to them.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV):Let's talk about something that's probably more obvious than anything else; that's your youth as an offensive coordinator. You're the youngest offensive coordinator in the league, but you have a good relationship with the quarterbacks, Sage (Rosenfels) and Matt (Schaub). You guys are around the same age. Do you think that that's somewhat of an advantage for you in the position that you're in now?

Kyle Shanahan:Yes, I definitely think it's an advantage. Everyone asked me for the past few years, they look at me, they ask, 'Well, you think you're ready to be a coordinator? Well, you're too young; you're not old enough yet.' And I'd been worried that it was going to take longer than this because I wanted to become a coordinator when I could still take advantage of being young. I feel I'm only going to be young for so long, and to have the opportunity to be a coordinator and to be my age, I think it gives me an advantage, I do. If you don't know what you're doing, then it would be a huge disadvantage. But if you're prepared X's and O's wise and if you can help the players, then I think being closer to their age, you can relate to them and it can help you in some of your coaching, getting your point across.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV):Well, it's not like you're a rookie in this game, I mean, your dad is Mike Shanahan, head coach of Denver. Have you had a chance to talk with him and if you have, what kind of advice has he given you, if he's given you any at all?

Kyle Shanahan:My dad was excited for me. He was happy for me. He knows it was something that I've been working for for a long time, and he was excited for me. And his main advice is just don't change, just do exactly what you do; you come to work the same way and you dress the same way, you act the same way. I mean, nothing's changed. I don't have to act older because I'm the offensive coordinator. I'm going to keep doing what got me here.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV):Are you excited about adding Alex Gibbs to the staff?

{QUOTE}Kyle Shanahan:Oh, yeah. I'm extremely excited. You know, I grew up watching the Broncos. Even when I was a player and I wasn't coaching in college and stuff, the team I always saw was the Broncos, and so I always had a picture of their running game and what I thought running the ball was. And I went to Tampa and it was a little different what we did there schematically, and I've always been so excited to – I always wanted the opportunity to get to Denver so I could learn that scheme, because I really never have coached in Denver. And then when I came to Houston that's when that started because I knew Gary (Kubiak) was going to bring that run system over here, and he did. We also intertwined a little of Sherm's (former assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Mike Sherman's) stuff from Green Bay and everything, so I knew it was Denver's system, but I knew it wasn't always 100 percent. Now, getting Alex in here, someone who I grew up watching, I was a ballboy for when I was younger, and being around that and now to be able to work with that, I know I'm coaching, I'm learning, I'm seeing everything that I've always wanted to learn.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV): I was going to ask you if you knew him before he got here.

Kyle Shanahan: Yes, I've known Alex for a long time. Alex went to Oakland with my dad for one year in '88. He was with him in Denver. Yes, I've known Alex for a long time. His kids used to baby sit me when I was little, so I've been close to Alex for a while.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV):That's got to be pretty cool. I guess he's going to be a really good resource for you.

Kyle Shanahan:Oh, yeah. Alex knows what he's doing. When it comes to this system, there's no trickery. He knows what to do and how to get it done.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV):How have your duties changed? Obviously, you have more responsibility as the offensive coordinator. What's your day like?

Kyle Shanahan:Well, you know, my daily responsibilities haven't quite gotten started yet. We finished up when the season ended, we spent the first week just evaluating players, looking at the players we had, looking at free agency. Then we went on a two-week vacation. Then we came back and we spent these last two weeks just reviewing our cutups. And just in that short time, my responsibilities have changed. I have to answer more questions now; it's not always just about the quarterback. When they're asking what we're doing, what are those protections or our pass scheme and stuff, I have to be able to answer those questions now, where it used to be they only looked to me when it was a question about the quarterback.

Nate Griffin:Two-week vacation – that had to be fun. Where'd you go?

Kyle Shanahan:I went to Mexico. Cabo.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV):Nice, nice. Well, with the upcoming season, what are you looking forward to? What's the thing that's kind of driving you; the most important thing that kind of stands out in your mind that you want to accomplish as we roll into the season?

Kyle Shanahan:As far as our team, really I just want to get as good as we can. And I know that's a very generic answer, but whether personnel-wise fixing some holes, getting some guys healthy, getting them back and playing together – I think everyone in the NFL runs similar plays, but it's getting good at those plays, getting better at those plays. It's getting faster, moving together – your whole offense, all 11 guys moving at the same time. It's all speed, taking the thinking out of the game and just reacting, and when you can play like that and you're just going and going, it shows up on the field with tempo and urgency. And you can't just show up at training camp and just do that. That happens with reps. It's reps and muscle memory. You've got to get 11 guys in there constantly going together and so they can move with some continuity. Then, when we get to the season, we're ready to go.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV):Sounds like you've got your plan in place. What about your personal goals, things you want to accomplish as the offensive coordinator?

Kyle Shanahan:Really, as offensive coordinator, I just want to do a good job listening to everybody. It's different now where I was always trying to get people to listen to me and always trying to get in the door, but now, as the offensive coordinator, I've got to be able to listen to all the other coaches, I've got to listen to other players. I've got to understand the bigger picture and get out of my smaller box for a second and really just oversee everything, which I need to work on not always just X's and O's-wise, but personality-wise.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV): When we first started talking, you mentioned some of the things you guys were doing now. You're kind of locked up in those rooms all day long. Let's talk about that a little bit more. You've got the draft coming up. You've got free agency coming up. What are some of the things you're looking at now in terms of what kind of players you want to bring in here? Just talk about that as they relate to your responsibilities.

Kyle Shanahan:Right now, we're trying to get the best players in that we can. Any time you try to get a specific player here and there, it's always a gamble, because you never can count on injuries; you never know what's going to happen. So we're really just evaluating our whole team. You're only allowed a certain amount of numbers. You can't just sign every good guy out there or your team'll be bankrupt, so you've got to bring in the best players with the best value, and you bring competition to everybody. You want to try to bring in a better third guy, a better second guy, to push that first guy, and really just improving the talent on the team and also trying to improve it through youth, through the draft.

Nate Griffin (Texans TV):Let's talk about the schedule. You pretty much know who you're going to play already, so I guess in your mind there's got to be some kind of a game plan for those teams. You don't know the dates. Do you start planning now, putting a game plan in place for those teams, or do you kind of just let the season play out as it goes? How do you handle that?

Kyle Shanahan:No, we don't work on that now. Right now, we're more concerned about ourselves. We want to improve. Right now, we're evaluating everything we've done in the last two years, play-wise, technique-wise, personnel-wise. We want to see what we can do with that to get better and then, after we do that, we have our system in place and we go out and practice it. When we practice it, we're not practicing against Tennessee's coverages, against Indy's coverage. We're just practicing against our Houston Texans coverages so they can practice their defense. But Cover 2 is Cover 2 regardless of what team you're going against, so if you're getting practices against our own defense, you're helping yourself for Indy, also. You never know what people are going to do in their offseason, also. They're working just like we are, so if we spend our whole offseason putting a game plan together based off this year, then we go to play them and they're not playing that any more, we kind of wasted a lot of time. So we've got to make sure to see what they put on tape this year, in the preseason, the beginning of the year, and always adjust. That's one thing about football; it never stops.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content