Kyle Shanahan left with the Washington Redskins in disarray. He’ll return to find familiar surroundings.
Shanahan is coach of the 5-0 San Francisco 49ers, who are 10-point favorites in Washington on Sunday. He used a conference call with Redskins reporters on Wednesday to take an extremely subtle victory lap.
“I’ve moved on with my life in many other ways, and I think my family has, also,” he said. “I think it’s pretty easy not to make it personal. I mean, the guys it’d be personal with don’t play in the game.”
That would be a thinly veiled reference to team owner Dan Snyder and president Bruce Allen, who had the courtesy to schedule Sunday as the Redskins’ annual homecoming game.
“I didn’t know NFL teams had homecoming games,” Shanahan said, when informed. “I thought that was a high school thing.”
Shanahan has reason to feel good. Many of his assistants from his time in Washington are enjoying success around the league, and two of them, Sean McVay (Rams) and Matt La- Fleur (Packers) are now NFL head coaches.
While in Washington, they were one of the NFL’s youngest offensive coaching staffs, but the potential could be seen even through all the losses — the Redskins went 24-40 during Mike Shanahan’s coaching tenure.
“We enjoyed it a lot,” Kyle said. “We were all pretty close in age. ... We all became good friends. We were similar in that we were young and we were eager to learn. We were always studying more stuff.
“Just being able to go through those four years together where there were a ton of ups and downs. You start out with an offense you want to run, then you learn you’ve got to adjust to a bunch of different personnel — to be able to do that stuff and try things together and always kind of compete with each other on what we wanted to do, we all respected each other a ton. We all thought (the others) would have good futures.”
The “personnel” comment was likely directed at Robert Griffin III, who Shanahan famously clashed with during the 2013 season.
Shanahan said he appreciated having four years in Washington to work with his father, something he hadn’t gotten to do in his own coaching career.
He also said he fondly remembers many of the players, who he keeps in touch with.
“I know there’s not many left over still now, except for probably Trent,” he said, offering another subtle jab at the current administration’s handling of holdout offensive lineman Trent Williams.
Shanahan was asked what he learned during his time in Washington.
“I just learned it’s very important to work with people that you have the same intentions and you want to go the same direction as,” he said. “Football is a very tough game. No matter how close you are with people, there’s adversity that faces everyone.
“When you lose one game, when you lose two games in a row, you know what’s going to be written and everything, and if people live off that type of stuff, it’s very very hard to survive and get through any tough times. You’ve got to make sure people are made of the same stuff you are, have the same intentions, the same goals, and they’re ready to fight and see through things and see it to the end.”