The Atlanta Falcons received an assist from the Washington Redskins in reaching the Super Bowl. And, because of it, the Redskins' alummni will be well-represented in the Super Bowl, at least with the Falcons.
The most prominent member is offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, but it doesn't end there. The Falcons have five other former Redskins assistant coaches on their staff: Raheem Morris (assistant head coach/defense), Matt LaFleur (quarterbacks), Mike McDaniel (offensive assistant), Bobby Turner (running backs) and Chris Morgan (offensive line). Shanahan, of course, is in line to become the next head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
For those who often ask, “Why hire coaches from teams with losing records?” Shanahan has been part of only two playoff teams -- and two with winning records -- since he started with the Redskins in 2010. Most of his staff are in the same spot. Sometimes, there are other issues besides coaching.
And that’s also not to say this staff should still be in Washington. Once the Redskins decided to fire Mike Shanahan, it was clear all would go.
They also have five players: receivers Aldrick Robinson and Nick Williams, guard Chris Chester, tackle Tom Compton and safety Dashon Goldson. Not all of them play key roles -- Chester is the lone starter. Goldson and Williams weren’t active Sunday vs. Green Bay.
Chester, though, has blocked well in a system that fits. He was not a power blocker and the Redskins wanted someone who could do a mix of power and outside zone. The Falcons love the outside and stretch zones, which highlights Chester’s ability to move. So it’s not as if the Redskins made a mistake; but it also clearly wasn’t true that he was done playing. He just needs to be in a specific system.
As for the others, none of them would have helped the Redskins this season. Goldson was a strong leader, but not a quality starter in his one season with Washington. Compton was a backup tackle, but he’s not as good as Ty Nsekhe. Compton stuck as a fourth tackle in 2015 because of injuries at tight end; he could serve as a third tight end in certain packages.
Robinson did catch a career-high 20 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns, good production from a player low on the depth chart this season. Seven of those passes and 153 of those yards occurred in two blowout wins (by a combined 56 points) so it’s not as if he was a steady contributor. He hasn’t caught a ball in the playoffs.
But he was on the roster for 16 games, a nice accomplishment for Robinson. He played only five games in 2014 and was out of football in ’15. With his speed, he will get chances. The Redskins essentially had their own end-of-depth-chart speed guy in Rashad Ross, until releasing him late this past season.
Meanwhile, Williams spent most of this season on the practice squad but was promoted to the active roster on Dec. 9. In two games, he caught five passes. In 14 games last season, he caught 17 passes. The Redskins are in good shape at slot receiver with Jamison Crowder.