Because everyone loves talking about NFL coaching trees, let’s talk about one that will be heavily represented this weekend in the NFL’s divisional round playoffs. Let’s start with the NFC head coaches that got their starts with Mike Shanahan in Washington.
D.C. Beginnings for a Trio of NFC Head Coaches
The Washington Football Team has been a poster child for incompetence from ownership on down for a very long time, and this weekend is yet another reminder. In 2013 Washington had a trio of up-and-coming assistant coaches working under the legendary Mike Shanahan, who was on his way out the door. Working under Mike Shanahan on the offensive side of the ball were 33-year-old offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, 33-year-old quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur, and 26-year-old tight ends coach Sean McVay.
Now, all three are head coaches elsewhere in the NFL, and the trio of Mike Shanahan disciples are leading three of the four teams participating in this weekend’s NFC Divisional Round playoffs with Kyle Shanahan (49ers) taking on his former quarterback’s coach Matt LaFleur (Packers) at Lambeau Field. Sean McVay, of course, will head to Tampa Bay to take on Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Now the head coaches of the Packers, 49ers and Rams… Matt LaFleur, Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay lead their teams in the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs this weekend.
— NBC4 Sports (@NBC4Sports) January 19, 2022
After the elder Shanahan was fired by Washington and replaced by Jay Gruden, Sean McVay was promoted to offensive coordinator. McVay would remain in that position until the Rams hired him as their head coach in 2017. Kyle Shannahan made stops as an offensive coordinator in Cleveland and Atlanta before landing the head coaching job in San Francisco, and Matt La Fleur spent two seasons as a quarterback’s coach at Notre Dame before rejoining Shanahan in the same position in Atlanta and eventually being hired by Green Bay as the head coach.
Jay Gruden went 35-49-1 in five-plus seasons (fired in his sixth season) as the head coach in Washington and spent one season as the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville in 2020. The WFT is just a perpetual punch-line.
By the way, Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor is a Shanahan(ish) disciple, getting his NFL start working under Shanahan disciple Sean McVay in Los Angeles.
Deebo Samuel Calls His Shot
Deebo Samuel is a menace on the field. He does it all in the San Francisco offense, and he exudes confidence in doing it. With the 49ers needing a touchdown late in the game against Dallas last weekend, Samuel told head coach Kyle Shanahan to put the ball in his hands, and he delivered San Francisco the eventual deciding score in Arlington.
Deebo: I told you!
— NFL (@NFL) January 20, 2022
Samuel racked up 110 yards and a touchdown on 13 touches (10 carries, 3 receptions) in the 49ers victory over the Dallas Cowboys. On the season, Samuel logged 1,770 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns on 77 catches and 59 rushing attempts for the 49ers. Kyle Shanahan’s Swiss Army Knife provides the 49ers with a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. He’s Deebo ‘Doin’ it All’ Samuel, according to the 12-year-old rapper, Young Dylan, who interviewed him after the Dallas game on the Nickelodeon broadcast.
— ESPN (@espn) January 19, 2022
Matt Cassel Catching Strays (😂)
Retired NFL quarterback Matt Cassel is just a guy trying to mind his business and enjoy the winter and do some sledding with his kids, but instead, he’s out here “catching strays” from old teammates on Twitter.
Just seeing this. I’m just trying to take the kids sledding and I’m catching strays. Sheeesh. You buying dinner next time I see ya for this! 😂 https://t.co/Lakk3C48sO
— Matt Cassel (@M_Cassel16) January 19, 2022
This is pretty funny, and the former Kansas City Chiefs signal-caller was a great sport about the dig from former wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been mad if Cassel did take such a high road and decided to hit Bowe with a “imagine if I had Tyreek Hill, no offense to Dwayne Bowe” in response to his old receiver’s tweet.
Mike McDaniel is a Press Conference Gem
San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel worked a Mike Jones reference into his media availability recently, and that’s reason enough for me to consider him for the Bears head coaching vacancy.
The great Mike Jones (@ByMikeJones) joined 49ers OC Mike McDaniel’s press conference today to ask a question.
McDaniel’s response: “Who!? Mike Jones!” 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/0QcPSjWPrx
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 19, 2022
Bears beat reporter Adam Hoge put together a supercut of other comical moments in McDaniel’s media availabilities yesterday on Twitter, and I’m laughing so hard at this guy.
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) January 20, 2022
McDaniel is like a mixture of Pete Davidson and Nick Kroll, and he’s absolutely hilarious. Other than being the offensive coordinator for a pretty successful 49ers offense this season, McDaniel spent time in Washington with Shanahan (both elder and younger), Sean McVay, and Matt LaFleur and served under Kyle Shanahan as a wide receivers coach in Cleveland and Atlanta. McDaniel is a Mike Shanahan disciple, starting his NFL coaching career as an intern under Mike Shanahan with the Denver Broncos in 2005 at the age of 21.
McDaniel hasn’t gotten any discussion as a head coaching candidate just yet, but I’m sure it will come in the not too distant future. After listening to Matt Nagy’s word salad for four years, listening to McDaniel every week would be a welcomed change of pace in a hypothetical world.
The Extra Point(s)
• Nick Sirianni is Sticking with Jalen Hurts in Philly:
Nick Sirianni says Philly's got their QB1 🦅 pic.twitter.com/17jjTEfJZa
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 19, 2022
• Josh Allen balled out the last time the Bills were in Kansas City:
The last time the Bills played the Chiefs, Josh Allen did this:
315 passing yards
59 rushing yards
4 total TDs
— NFL (@NFL) January 19, 2022
• Pittsburgh Steelers’ cornerback Joe Haden has an important PSA for his fellow NFL players heading into the offseason:
Joe Haden with a PSA 🙏
— ESPN (@espn) January 19, 2022
• Arian Foster was the goods back in the day!
• This is a fantastic resource for Chicago Bears fans looking to keep track of the Bears roster and salary cap situation this offseason:
— Johnathan Wood (@Johnathan_Wood1) January 20, 2022
• Does Joe Burrow have another one of these performances up his sleeve for the Tenessee Titans this weekend?
— NFL (@NFL) January 20, 2022
• That’s it for today, folks, but be sure to be on the lookout for a bunch of NFL Divisional Round content this weekend!