Thu Oct 17 4:31pm ET
By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Sports Writer
In this Dec. 15, 2013, file photo, then-Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan speaks to then-Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, before the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, in Atlanta. Kyle Shanahan is in a better place now. After serving as the Washington Redskins offensive coordinator under his dad, Mike Shanahan, from 2010-2013, he returns Sunday to face them as coach of the undefeated San Francisco 49ers. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
In this Sept. 15, 2019, file photo, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan works the sideline during the second half an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. Almost nothing has gone wrong for Shanahan and the unbeaten 49ers, who are in position to establish themselves as the favorite in the division that the Los Angeles Rams dominated since head coach Sean McVays arrival. (AP Photo/Gary Landers, )
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Kyle Shanahan is in a better place now.
After serving as the Washington Redskins' offensive coordinator under his dad, Mike Shanahan, from 2010-2013, he returns Sunday to face them as coach of the undefeated San Francisco 49ers.
Six years after the Shanahans were fired, the Dan Snyder-owned and Bruce Allen-run Redskins are about to embark on another coaching search. The position might be harder to fill if candidates go to Kyle for advice.
He said the best part of Washington was being able to work with his dad and be around some other good coaches. The worst part? ''Everything else.'' The 49ers coach paused. ''I liked a lot of the players - some good people,'' he said.
''We've accepted what we had to deal with there, and we've moved on,'' Shanahan said. ''We'll watch other people deal with it.''
Shanahan was one of three future NFL head coaches on the Redskins' staff in 2012 and 2013, along with Sean McVay and Matt LaFleur. McVay took the Rams to the Super Bowl last season, LaFleur is in his first season in charge of the Green Bay Packers, and the three coaches' teams have combined to go 13-4 this year.
Snyder and Allen fired Jay Gruden after the Redskins lost their first five games, and Washington eked out a 17-16 win at the hapless Miami Dolphins last week in interim coach Bill Callahan's debut. The 5-0 49ers look like justifiable double-digit favorites and are rolling under Shanahan, who has transformed the culture in San Francisco, in part because his time with the Redskins taught him what not to do.
''I just learned it's very important to work with people that have the same intentions and you want to go in the same direction,'' Shanahan said. ''Football is a very tough game and no matter how close you are with people, there's adversity that faces everyone and when you lose one game, 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 hard to survive and get through any tough times.
''So, you've got to make sure people are made of the same stuff you are, that have the same intention, same goals and they're ready to fight and work through things and see it to the end.''
Shanahan, who coached a game with the Niners at FedEx Field two seasons ago, said his well-timed visit this time on Redskins alumni ''Homecoming Weekend'' is not personal. The only offensive players left from his time with Washington are injured running back Chris Thompson and holdout left tackle Trent Williams.
''I've moved on with my life in many other ways, and I think my family has also,'' Shanahan said. ''It's not an issue. We've got our team coming to play their team and we're looking forward to that.''
Shanahan has grown significantly from the introverted, closed-off offensive coordinator he was in Washington to now. Players then appreciated his football acumen, but more goes into being a head coach.
''As an OC in Washington, you saw kind of how smart he was, the way he saw the game,'' said Houston Texans tight end Logan Paulsen, who played for Shanahan in Washington and San Francisco.
''The thing that I thought that was really cool going from Washington to San Francisco was seeing his maturity in terms of talking and dealing with players and different personalities. He was always a very bright football guy and to see his leadership skills really come into his own was really cool to see.''
Paulsen said Shanahan exercised patience waiting for the right opportunity to take a head job and ''did it on his own time.'' With quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo running his offense and one of the best defenses in the league, Shanahan is an early front-runner for coach of the year.
''He is a football junkie, and I think guys really respect that,'' Paulsen said. ''They see kind of the standard that's set by him in terms of what they need to know and how they need to respond in certain situations, and I think that's really special.''
Washington's current offensive coordinator, Kevin O'Connell, could be the coach next season, and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin's name has been tossed around. Whoever interviews and gets offered the job, Shanahan doesn't expect to be asked for his thoughts on the organization.
''Just look into it, see what the situation is and who you want to work for,'' Shanahan said. ''Any time you get opportunities you've got to look into it, but I'm not there and I don't know how it is right now. That would be up to that person. I'm probably not the person they want to call on that advice.''
Some things to watch when Shanahan's 49ers visit the Redskins:
After going winless on the road last year, the Niners have been outstanding away from home so far this year. They opened the season with back-to-back wins at Tampa Bay and Cincinnati and then won 20-7 last week at Los Angeles against McVay and the defending NFC champion Rams. San Francisco hasn't had a winning record on the road since going 6-2 in 2013 on the way to the NFC title game.
''I know we didn't win a road game last season, preseason or regular season, so those plane rides weren't very fun,'' tight end George Kittle said. ''Being able to get on those planes and come back with a victory makes it so much more fun.''
The Redskins haven't won at home since Week 7 in 2018.
RUN, RUN, RUN?
Callahan promised to commit to the ground game after taking over for Gruden, and boy, did he. Adrian Peterson rushed 23 times for 118 yards at Miami.
San Francisco's run defense might force more throws from still starting QB Case Keenum.
''We'll do whatever we need to do,'' Callahan said. ''Of course we want to establish the run and we want to keep that identity just like everybody else around the league, but they're good.''
The Niners managed to win last week despite playing two backups at tackle. Rookie Justin Skule made his third straight start at left tackle in place of Joe Staley, while Daniel Brunskill got his first career start at right tackle in place of Mike McGlinchey. San Francisco was still able to move the ball fairly consistently without altering the offense too much.
''I thought the two rookies did a great job stepping in and filling their roles,'' Garoppolo said. ''Those guys are just battling up front. What they do in the run game and pass game is so impressive.''
Washington's Terry McLaurin is the first rookie with 50-plus yards receiving in each of his first five NFL games since Terry Glenn in 1996. McLaurin leads all rookies with 23 catches, 408 yards and five touchdowns and is already the Redskins' best offensive player.
''He's done a really good job for them stepping in as a rookie, which is rare for receivers,'' Shanahan said. ''But you've got a very good football player and he's tough and the game's not too big.''
San Francisco's defense has played at a high level all season but might have been at its best last week. The Niners are allowing a league-low 150.2 yards per game passing, and rank second in points allowed (12.8 per game) and total defense (237.4 yards per game) thanks to a dominant defensive line that has put heavy pressure on opposing passers. San Francisco allowed just 48 net yards passing last week against the Rams and held Los Angeles to no conversions on third or fourth down.
The Oakland Raiders Defense is coming off back-to-back stellar weeks and is in a superb spot to keep the trend going in Week 12. Led by the reigning Defensive Player of the Week Maxx Crosby, they've piled up 10 sacks and five turnovers in their last two games, helping them earn double-digit fantasy point totals in each contest. Their Jets opponent this weekend is allowing the second-most fantasy points to the D/ST position, and the third-most sacks in the league (41). Managers looking for a streaming option this week should ride the Raiders defense with confidence.
Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller has underwhelmed in recent weeks after a scorching start to the 2019 season, but he will look to rebound in Week 12. After averaging over seven catches and 80 yards a game through his first six contests, he's averaged just 3/45 in his four games since. The 26-year-old has still led the team in targets (22) in this span, so owners shouldn't hesitate to put him into lineups this week. Waller be a low-end TE1 versus a Jets Defense that's been surprisingly stingy versus the position in 2019.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will be on the streaming radar once again in Week 12 when the team travels to New York to face the Jets. He'll face a defense that has allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to the position this season, including serving up big games to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Gardner Minshew, and Dwayne Haskins in recent weeks. Carr has put up respectable fantasy numbers since their Week 6 bye, and should have no trouble connecting with his receivers versus this mediocre secondary. The veteran's sturdy floor makes him a safe streaming option this Sunday with four fantasy-relevant quarterbacks on their bye week.
Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (shoulder) was listed as limited for Wednesday's practice, but is in no danger of missing Sunday's game versus the Jets. It's nothing new for the rookie's designation as the team is merely managing his workload after a heavy usage so far this season. Jacobs will be a fringe RB1 versus a Jets team that ranks first in the league in rush yards per game (79.1), but they've still been beaten with 10 touchdowns on the ground. Owners shouldn't hesitate putting Jacobs into their lineups in Week 12 despite the unfriendly matchup.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick (shoulder) missed practice on Wednesday. Patrick had four catches on a healthy eight targets for 77 yards in his season debut in Week 11 against the Vikings. Assuming he can play in Week 12 against the Bills, Patrick should once again be the No. 2 behind Courtland Sutton. However, against a stingy Bills Defense and with inexperienced quarterback Brandon Allen remaining under center, Patrick doesn't have a ton of upside as a deep league flex play. If he can't get cleared this Sunday, Daesean Hamilton would be the No. 2.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods was not with the team for practice on Wednesday, and head coach Sean McVay said there is no update on his personal matter. Woods was a surprise inactive last Sunday night because of personal issues, and it's unclear when he might return to the team. For that reason you'll need to have a backup plan in place for Week 12 when the Rams face the Ravens on Monday night. Woods will be even more of a risk with the game being on Monday. With Brandin Cooks (concussion) on track to return this week as well, Woods would be a boom/bust WR3 with how poorly quarterback Jared Goff has played of late. Baltimore's defense is trending up right now, so LA's passing attack could struggle again.
Washington Redskins DE Jonathan Allen (ankle, knee) and DT Daron Payne (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 20. FS Montae Nicholson (ankle) and DT Tim Settle (hamstring) were limited during practice. S Deshazor Everett (ankle), LB Cole Holcomb (thumb), CB Josh Norman (hamstring) and P Tress Way (shin) fully participated in practice.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Demar Dotson (non-injury), LB Anthony Nelson (hamstring), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) and S M.J. Stewart (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 20. DE William Gholston (ankle) and LB Carl Nassib (groin) were limited during practice.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (foot) was held out of practice on Wednesday. The Falcons are likely just giving the veteran some rest late in the season. Jones has battled nagging injuries to his lower body the last several seasons but usually plays through them and remains productive. The 30-year-old hasn't scored a touchdown since Sept. 22, but he's had at least 79 yards receiving in the last five games and has 100-yard performances two times in that span. He'll be a strong WR1 with the Bucs leaky secondary coming to town this Sunday. Jones should be targeted heavily with tight end Austin Hooper (knee) out for another week.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (leg) will not practice on Wednesday, but he could be limited on the field on Thursday. Coming out of the bye week, head coach Pete Carroll expects Lockett to play in Week 12 against the Eagles. He was a bust in Week 10 after going off for 152 yards and two touchdowns in Week 9, but Lockett always has WR1 upside with MVP candidate Russell Wilson throwing him passes. The volume isn't always there in this run-first offense, but Lockett could easily break a big play or two against Philly's secondary this Sunday. Check back on Thursday to see if Lockett returns to the practice field. If he does, he should be on track to play this weekend.
Washington Redskins TE Vernon Davis (concussion) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Davis still has not been cleared to play by the doctors, so fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation. He should be avoided in all fantasy leagues until he is back on the field.
Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan (ankle) didn't participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Ryan completed 21 of 31 pass attempts for 311 yards and a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in Week 11. He's one of the top options this week against a horrid Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary.
Washington Redskins WR Paul Richardson (hamstring) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Richardson was not able to play in the Week 11 game but appears to have a chance to play this week. He has posted seven receptions and 76 yards in his last two games but can be avoided this week if fantasy players have better options.
Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (foot), S Kemal Ishmael (concussion), DE John Cominsky (ankle), TE Austin Hooper (knee), DE Takkarist McKinley (shoulder) and DE Adrian Clayborn (groin) didn't practice Wednesday, Nov. 20. CB Desmond Trufant (toe) was limited.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (foot) was held out of practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: The injury isn't expected to keep Jones out of action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12. Jones caught six of eight targets for 91 yards against the Carolina Panthers in Week 11, but he hasn't found the end zone since Week 3.
Washington Redskins RB Chris Thompson (toe) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Thompson appears to have a chance to play this week, so fantasy players should check on his status later this week. He would be used mostly as a receiver out of a backfield when he returns and would only be a flex option in deeper point-per-reception leagues.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (knee) was a full participant in practice on Wednesday. Cooper continues to battle through injuries this year, but he's fully expected to play in Week 12's showdown with the Patriots on the road. He'll likely be shadowed by shutdown cornerback Stephon Gilmore in this one, but Cooper is a must-start fantasy commodity as long as he's playing. With that said, Dallas' No. 1 wideout will be more of a low-end WR1 this weekend, and fantasy owners should temper expectations just a bit.
New England Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu (ankle) didn't practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Sanu had a monster game in Week 9 while catching 10 of 14 targets for 81 yards and his first touchdown with the team, but he took a big step last week with just two catches for four yards. He's a risky flex option only to be considered in deeper leagues.
New England Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett (concussion) didn't participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Dorsett caught his fifth touchdown of the season last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. He doesn't have more than three catches in a game since Week 3, but the Patriots' high-scoring offense provides enough opportunities to keep him in consideration as a flex option.
Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson (toe) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Peterson probably will return to practice later in the week and should have a good chance to play in Week 12. He received only 11 touches last week with Derrius Guice back in the lineup and probably will see a similar workload this week. Fantasy players may be able to find better options to use and can keep him on the bench.