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Shanahan’s history with the Redskins could help 49ers avoid a letdown

Oct 19, 2019 at 10:52 AM


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Kyle Shanahan said earlier this week that playing the Washington Redskins has no greater meaning for him at this point in his career. While that could be the case, it is hard to imagine that there isn't at least a little bit of extra motivation for this game.

The Shanahan family and the Redskins, including Kyle, have a somewhat tumultuous history. Mike Shanahan was hired as the Redskins' head coach in 2010 and Kyle joined him as the offensive coordinator.

Things got off to a slow start during their tenure in D.C., with losing seasons the first two years. However, they turned things around in 2012 after drafting quarterback, Robert Griffin III, and made the playoffs by winning the NFC East.

The 2013 season is where things fell apart. The RGIII injury controversy, the possible in-fighting on the Kirk Cousins vs. RGIII debate, the overall record of 3-13 and other factors led to the demise of the regime. Both Mike Shanahan, and Kyle were fired.

Fast forward to today, Kyle is now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, leading the team to a 5-0 record. The Redskins are a bottom of the barrel team with a 1-5 record after their first six games. One can easily say that the Redskins firing Shanahan was a blessing in disguise.

There is still clear disdain for the Redskins' organization, even though Kyle says he has moved on with his life. When asked what he enjoyed about his time working for the Redskins Kyle replied, "Being able to work with my dad and being around some other good coaches." When then asked what the worst part was, Kyle's response, "everything else".

When looking on the surface at this weekend's match-up against the Washington Redskins, there are multiple reasons why this game could be much tougher than it seems.

The 49ers are huge favorites (-9.5) on the road against a team they should beat, but they are traveling across the country and just came off an emotional win against their division rival, Los Angeles Rams.

And even though it hasn't hurt them yet, the 49ers are still banged up at key positions including offensive tackle and fullback with Joe Staley, Mike McGlinchey and Kyle Juszczyk on the mend.

The Redskins are also coming off their first win of the season and could be feeling better about themselves, and as Shanahan mentioned, they have played good teams (Patriots) tough earlier in the season.

But Kyle Shanahan is the difference here. His competitive fire and ego will drive him to want to beat the Redskins, and beat them badly. That's the case in every game, but this one is just a little more important than others, whether Kyle says that publicly or not.

The players know what happened with Shanahan and the Redskins in the past, and from what we've seen from afar, they have their coach's back. That extra emotion and motivation is a difference maker, and could help the 49ers avoid the dreaded "trap game".

The story will unfold on Sunday, but the impact due to the history between the Redskins and Kyle Shanahan is much bigger than being let on.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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