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.
New England Patriots rookie wide receiver N'Keal Harry (ankle) is expected to make his NFL debut in Week 11 against the Eagles. The first-round pick has been practicing since Oct. 15 and was placed on the active roster before the Week 9 game against the Ravens, but he didn't dress for that game. Harry has some obvious upside in New England, but he's missed a lot of development time and will be behind wideouts Mohamed Sanu, Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett. There's a chance that Harry pushes Dorsett for playing time in three-receiver sets, but that may not happen right away, and he remains a long shot for meaningful production in redraft leagues down the stretch. Harry should be owned in all dynasty/keeper leagues, however.
The Philadelphia Eagles are in discussions for a long-term contract extension with tight end Zach Ertz, offensive tackle Lane Johnson and safety Malcolm Jenkins, according to league sources. Ertz signed his last extension in January of 2015 and has become one of the best tight ends in the league since then. Johnson is considered by some as the best right tackle in all of football, while Jenkins has emerged as a leader for Philly's defense. Despite somewhat of a down year in 2019, Ertz leads the Eagles in receptions (46) and yards (527) while finding the end zone just two times. With Alshon Jeffery (ankle) out in Week 11 against the Patriots, Ertz could be set up for another big game.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz has talked with the Eagles about a possible contract extension, according to sources.
Fantasy Spin: Ertz is not posting the numbers he did last season but still has been a consistent starting option for fantasy players. He should be a weekly starting option in all leagues and likely will have a big role in the passing game this week with Alshon Jeffery sidelined.
The Denver Broncos are expected to ride running back Phillip Lindsay more in the backfield over Royce Freeman in Week 11 against the Vikings on the road. Lindsay and Freeman have been in a near-even timeshare for most of the season, which has really given Lindsay owners headaches after his breakout rookie season in 2018. But Freeman had just 15 yards on five carries in the Week 9 win over the Browns, and it sounds as though Denver wants to get Lindsay more involved this week against a tough Minnesota run defense. Lindsay is the back to own, and he'll have more RB2 upside this week, although Denver's offense could struggle with Brandon Allen making his second start at quarterback.
Detroit Lions DT Damon Harrison (groin) is active for Week 11's game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (back) may be sidelined for as many as six weeks because tiny, non-displaced fractures in the upper thoracic spine.
Fantasy Spin: It is not known if Stafford will be able to play again this season, so fantasy players will need to monitor the situation. Jeff Driskel will continue to be the starting quarterback but should be avoided in fantasy leagues.
Carolina Panthers CB Donte Jackson (hip) is active for Week 11's game against the Atlanta Falcons.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell (knee, illness, ribs) and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) are both active for Week 11 against the Redskins. Bell continues to fight through injuries in a disappointing first season with Gang Green, but he has another opportunity to break out against a weak Redskins front. He'll have low-end RB1/high-end RB2 appeal. If Bell can't get it done today for fantasy owners, there's not much hope that he'll be an RB1 the rest of the way. Thomas had a decent day in Week 10 but remains third on the receiver depth chart behind Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson. Despite the good matchup, Thomas is a low-upside WR4/5 in deeper fantasy leagues.
The Buffalo Bills have declared TE Tommy Sweeney, WR Duke Williams, OL Ike Boettger, OT Ryan Bates, DT Vincent Taylor, S Dean Marlowe and RB T.J. Yeldon inactive for Week 11.
The Carolina Panthers have declared LB Christian Miller, LB Jordan Kunaszyk, CB Ross Cockrell, DL Kyle Love, WR Brandon Zylstra, OT Dennis Daley and RB Mike Davis inactive for Week 11.
New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) is active for Week 11's game against the Washington Redskins.
Minnesota Vikings S Andrew Sendejo will start Week 11's game against the Denver Broncos in place of injured S Anthony Harris (groin).
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell (illness, knee, ribs) is officially active for the team's Week 11 game.
Fantasy Spin: Bell has been a big part of the offense for the Jets and should continue to receive a significant amount of touches. He will have a favorable matchup this week and is a must-start option in all leagues.
Houston Texans left tackle Laremy Tunsil (shoulder) is expected to play in Week 11 against the Ravens, according to a source. Tunsil missed the Week 9 game but was able to heal up during the Week 10 bye. His presence is great news for the protection of quarterback Deshaun Watson in what is expected to be a high-scoring affair between two potent offenses. As usual, Watson will be a top-five fantasy quarterback on Sunday despite not having wide receiver Will Fuller in the fold.
The Atlanta Falcons have declared FS Kemal Ishmael, DT Deadrin Senat, TE Austin Hooper, DL John Cominsky, WR Brandon Powell, RB Devonta Freeman and OL Matt Gono inactive for Week 11.
The Dallas Cowboys have declared OT Connor Williams, DT Trysten Hill, LB Luke Gifford, FS Jeff Heath, WR Cedrick Wilson, DE Joe Jackson and WR Devin Smith inactive for Week 11.
The Indianapolis Colts have declared CB Pierre Desir, CB Quincy Wilson, OT Le'Raven Clark, WR T.Y. Hilton, RB Jordan Wilkins, QB Chad Kelly and WR Parris Campbell inactive for Week 11.
The Washington Redskins have declared DT Tim Settle, CB Deshazor Everett, WR Paul Richardson, OG Ross Pierschbacher, RB Chris Thompson, TE Vernon Davis and QB Colt McCoy inactive for Week 11.
The New Orleans Saints have declared WR Deonte Harris, OT Andrus Peat, WR Austin Carr, DE Carl Granderson, OT Ethan Greenidge, TE Dan Arnold and CB Marshon Lattimore inactive for Week 11.
Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson is expected to remain the starter in Week 11 against the Jets despite Derrius Guice (knee) returning for the first time since the season opener, according to a source. It's likely that Guice receives his carries and catches on third down to start. His role could grow as the season wears on, but he won't make Peterson a healthy scratch like he was in Week 1 when Jay Gruden was still the head coach. Peterson has seen at least 18 touches in three of the last four games and has gone over 100 yards in two of them. He remains the starter, but he'll inevitably lose valuable touches to Guice, making him a low-upside RB3 in a low-scoring offense led by a rookie quarterback. Guice has even less appeal as a desperation RB3/flex in PPR formats after a long layoff.