Kyle Shanahan’s History: Wide Receivers


Past results often predicts future performance. Not true in the stock market but often true in professional sports. Especially with players still in their prime and coaches throughout their careers. Today we take a look back to take a look forward. With Kyle Shanahan in charge of the Cleveland Browns offense it is important to look back at how his offenses have looked so we can look forward to what the Browns might look like this year.

We have already given you Shanahan’s history in relation to running backs (opens in a new window) now we take a look at receivers:


2008 was Shanahan’s first year officially as offensive coordinator. While still under Gary Kubiak who controlled much of the play calling, Shanahan still have responsibilities for game plan, scheming and decision making.

PlayerReceptions% of Total ReceptionsYards% of Total Rec. Yards Receving TDs
Andre Johnson11531.34%157535.20%8
Owen Daniels7019.07%86219.27%2
Kevin Walter6016.35%89920.09%8
Steve Slaton5013.62%3778.43%1
David Anderson195.18%2415.39%2
Team Total367 4474 21

As expected Johnson got over 30% of the receptions in Shanahan’s offense and over 35% of the total yards. Daniels, the tight end, came in second in receptions while Slaton, at running back, and Walter, the 2nd receiver, got similar receptions but far different yardage totals.


PlayerReceptions% of Total ReceptionsYards% of Total Rec. Yards Receving TDs
Andre Johnson10125.31%156932.67%9
Kevin Walter5313.28%61112.72%2
Steve Slaton4411.03%4178.68%4
Owen Daniels4010.03%51910.81%5
David Anderson389.52%3707.70%0
Team Total399 4803 29

In 2009 injuries impacted the skew of the data. Daniels only played in 8 games providing backup tight end Anderson a chance for more receptions. Slaton also only played in 11 games with a variety of backup running backs getting between 8 and 20 receptions. Johnson continued to dominate. Putting the two tight ends production together and they would place 2nd on the team in receptions, Daniels’ most likely place if he hadn’t gotten injured. In 2 years so far the pattern is a ton of receptions and yards for the top receiver, a high amount to the tight ends and a solid but unspectacular amount to both the 2nd receiver and running backs. Does that change when he goes to the Washington Redskins in 2010?


PlayerReceptions% of Total ReceptionsYards% of Total Rec. Yards Receving TDs
Santana Moss9326.65%111526.17%6
Chris Cooley7722.06%84919.92%3
Anthony Armstrong4412.61%87120.44%3
Keiland Williams3911.17%3097.25%2
Fred Davis216.02%3167.42%3
Team Total349 4261 21

In his first year in Washington Shanahan’s offense still got over 25% of their receptions out of their top receiver, Moss, as well as almost 100 catches between the two tight ends, Cooley and Davis. The team went through a variety of running backs this season leading to a spread out work load with the backs. Armstrong is a name many fans know, currently fighting to make the Browns this year. His 12% of receptions is low compared to Walter but his percent of yardage is higher then either of Walter’s years.


PlayerReceptions% of Total ReceptionsYards% of Total Rec. Yards Receving TDs
Jabar Gaffney6819.65%94723.34%5
Fred Davis5917.05%79619.62%3
Roy Helu4914.16%3799.34%1
Santana Moss4613.29%58414.39%4
Donte Stallworth226.36%3097.61%2
Team Total346 4058 19

With injuries limiting Cooley and Moss Shanahan’s receiving core was more spread out. Stallworth only played in 11 games for the team, starting none, but was still the 5th leading receivers. No receiver got over 1,000 yards for the first time in Shanahan’s OC history. Still big numbers for the tight end and Helu was a receiving threat out of the backfield. Had Moss stayed healthy likely he would have broke 80 receptions and 1,000 yards and Gaffney would of slid down into the normal #2 receiver spot.


PlayerReceptions% of Total ReceptionsYards% of Total Rec. Yards Receving TDs
Josh Morgan4816.49%51013.91%2
Pierre Farcon4415.12%63317.27%4
Santana Moss4114.09%57315.63%8
Leonard Hankerson3813.06%54314.81%3
Logan Paulsen258.59%3088.40%1
Team Total291 3666 24

By far the worst stats in his OC career with more then 50 less receptions and almost 400 less yards then his worst season. The team struggled with injuries to Garcon, Davis, and Cooley as well as a reduced role for Moss. It led to a bad statistically year but a solid team performance. Could this be a sign of things to come with the Browns if Josh Gordon is out? Could the team take the air out of the ball, run well and make timely plays in the passing game? They did have 24 TD receptions this season comparable or better then most other Shanahan seasons.


PlayerReceptions% of Total ReceptionsYards% of Total Rec. Yards Receving TDs
Pierre Garcon11331.83%134644.03%5
Jordan Reed4512.68%49916.32%3
Santana Moss4211.83%45214.79%2
Roy Helu318.73%2518.21%0
Leonard Hankerson308.45%37512.27%3
Team Total355 4057 20

A return to normalcy in the Shanahan offense includes over 350 receptions and over 4,000 yards. Garcon became the big time receiver expected in his offense with over 100 receptions and 1300 yards. Reed, in only 9 games at tight end, showed what a quality tight end can do in Shanny’s offense. Helu continues a trend of a running back in the Top 5 of receptions but not a huge 60 plus receptions.


This upcoming year’s receiving is dependant on the results of the Gordon appeal. With Gordon expect him to have a huge season of over 100 receptions and 1200 yards. With or without Gordon expect tight end Jordan Cameron to have a big season as Shanahan uses the tight end to be a focal point of the offense. Without Gordon Miles Austin will take on the #1 role and could still have a decent season. Austin, Cameron and Andrew Hawkins will dominate the stats while Ben Tate should get 30 to 40 receptions out of the backfield if he holds on the starting job for the season.

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Looking at the stats it makes sense that the Browns decided not to spend a big asset, either draft pick or finances, for a #2 receiver. If Gordon is able to play he and Cameron will dominate the targets and receptions. Spending a high pick on a receiver to play the #2 role in this offense doesn’t seem to fit a big role. Instead a number of young receivers expect to be placed in roles to make an impact as seen in Shanahan’s history.

What do you see when you look at Shanahan’s statistical history as OC?