Redskins Set to Lead the NFL… In Nepotism

With Mike Shanahan’s hiring in Washington now official, the rumors have begun to circulate about who will join him on the team’s payroll…

 The Houston Chronicle officially reports that Mike’s son Kyle Shanahan, the current Texans OC, will join his father in Washington in the same capacity.

Kyle, 30, is the youngest coordinator in the NFL, having previously been the youngest position coach in the NFL.  For much of the 2008 season (when Houston finished 3rd in the NFL in total offense), the younger Shanahan did not call plays, but did for all of 2009 (4th place finish in total offense).  Back in 1998, a teenage Kyle was a good-charm for his old man, as the Broncos won 21 straight games when Kyle held “the headset cord while t Dear ol’ Dad paced” along NFL sidelines.  He also served “as a ballboy and I watched film with [his] dad” in Denver, “spent several spent several hours lost in the bowels of Florida Field” as a toddler, and was pushed to be a lawyer at a young age by his mother.  He became such good friends with fellow NFL legacy Chris Simms while “at the University of Texas that they have their initials tattooed on each other’s lower leg.”  According to Simms, “Kyle was a real wimp about it.”  Gary Kubiak, who hired and promoted Kyle in Houston remembers meeting him has a 13-year-old who during dinner at the Shanahan residence “hung my oldest son (Klint) on a doorknob by his underwear.”

As for his dad, Kyle has made it clear that he’s taller (“of course, just about everyone’s taller than he is” and his mother Peggy notes that son has one-upped his father (“Kyle was so good at [Guitar Hero] and Mike wouldn’t put it down because he had to beat Kyle. I don’t think he ever did beat him. Really, that was all those two did for two days. They’d take a little break every so often and talk a little football, but the main thing was playing Guitar Hero.”  She also said at the time “I think Mike would have hired him already, actually, other than he’d be afraid they’d argue all the time.”

Kyle says that “people make a big deal about it, but personally, I feel my age is my No. 1 asset… The fact that I’m younger and do know what I’m doing gives me an advantage. I wouldn’t trade my age for anything.”  Dad adds: “He’s been around football his whole life. When I grew up, my dad was an electrician and my mom was a housewife. He’s been around me since he was a little kid. I was 38 before I had the knowledge he has right now.”  But son is quick to chip in with “I didn’t think he could do anything wrong. Now I’m older, so I can see he can make lots of mistakes.” and many others believe Cincinnati DC Mike Zimmer will be Shanahan’s “first choice to run the defense in Washington”.  Kelli Johnson of Comcast suggested last night that Zimmer’s son – Saints assistant coach Adam Zimmer – might be a candidate to join his father in DC as well.

Adam, 25, who “was a top-flight defensive back for Trinity (Texas) University” according to ESPN’s Mark Mosley and spent the several training camps with the Cowboys in both Texas & California, received the game ball after a victory over the Giants earlier this season in a touching moment after the passing of his mother, Vikki.  The elder Zimmer admitted prior to facing New Orleans in the preseason that Adam “kind of knows my defense pretty good. During the summer, we watch cutups of each other’s defenses, so there are no real secrets.”  Adam said earlier this year that his “best vacation is going back home, playing golf every other day with Mike and then watching film with him the rest of the time.”  His late mother at the time that Adam “wants to be just like [Mike], idolizes [Mike] and even has [his] mannerisms.”

Another rumor that may come to fruition is that Shanahan will also bring in Jim & Jeff Goodman, the father-son tandem that served as his GM/assistant GM during his final year in Denver.  The Goodmans were promoted two years ago by Shanahan after the latter fired Denver owner Pat Bowlen’s hand-picked GM Ted Sundquist.  One year later all three were out of a job, the Goodmans just a month after helping to hire HC Josh McDaniels to replace Shanahan.

Jeff, 31, is a former UF walk-on who has three years of front-office experience (two as a scout, one as assistant GM) in Denver, and three as a lawyer in Alabama.  He forsook “a career as a lawyer in high-profile cases such as Enron to become the point man on many player contracts while overseeing pro scouting.”  Shanahan thought “his background as an attorney” helps to bring ”a different perspective.”

Jeff’s stated philosophy on age vs. experience: “It’s more about what you say and the work you produce than the gray hairs on your head sometimes.”  Dad added: “And the fact he grew up in a football home . . . it’s not a shock to him how the ups and downs of football work. I knew when we hired him he’d advance. I didn’t know it would be that soon.”  Jeff also said: “We can be brutally honest with each other at times” with “no fear of hurting feelings, but sometimes you’ve got to pull back because you can be too comfortable with each other and remember it’s a professional environment.”

Oh, and just for good measure, there was a third Goodman in Denver.  Tyler, Jeff’s younger brother, served as the team’s Southeastern region college scout last year after starting as an equipment intern.

Over much of the past year, it appears the elder Shanahan, former Broncos DC Bob Slowik (a candidate to come to Washington in a lesser role), and at least two Goodmans studied film together in Denver while plotting their next moves.  ESPN’s Melissa Isaacson reported last month that Shanahan “was offered several network television jobs… but preferred not to put himself in a position to have to say negative things about prospective employers. Instead, Shanahan took an office not far from the Broncos’ complex and spends three to five hours a day studying film.”

No doubt they had a keen eye on Texans’ games, featuring not only Kubiak & Kyle Shanahan but also Alex & David Gibbs.  Father Alex was Shanahan’s Assistant HC and OL coach in Denver, while son David was at one point his secondary coach.


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