Having served as an offensive coordinator for three different teams, Kyle Shanahan has experienced a wide range of circumstances throughout his NFL coaching career.
In Houston, he enjoyed the services of premier receiver Andre Johnson, a young Arian Foster and QB Matt Schaub, who, in 2009, led the league in passing yards. He also helped Robert Griffin III to his best professional campaign in Washington — a campaign that broke several rookie records. His recent stop with the Browns, conversely, didn't produce remarkable results.
In addition to the adversity faced in Cleveland, Shanahan's departure from the nation's capital — which included the firing of his dad, Mike — proved to be difficult. Still, those trying experiences, along with more enjoyable ones, have taught the 35-year-old plenty of important lessons — lessons he's carried to Flowery Branch.
"It has been fun to work with different guys, different skill sets," he said. "Going into my eighth year as a coordinator, I've been very fortunate because I have been forced to go in different directions.
"When you have to adjust to what you have and just find a way, it gives you confidence that you can make it work in any [situation]. You realize that there's more than one way to do things. It really teaches you a lot about yourself as a coach."
This winding road has led him to Atlanta where, according to ESPN's Jason Reid, is the best role of Shanahan's career. A big reason why Reid feels that way is the man Atlanta has under center.
Shanahan seems to agree.
"Matt (Ryan) is such a great quarterback, you're tempted to throw it every down," Shanahan told ESPN.com. "He's the type of guy any coordinator would want."
With Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White and a pair of young, promising halfbacks in tow, the Falcons' new OC has a lot of valuable assets at his disposal. Based on what he's accomplished when put in a position to succeed, there's a lot of evidence to suggest he'll do wonders for Atlanta's offense.
"Shanahan is among the NFL's best coordinators," said Reid. "Somewhat quietly, he has proved himself repeatedly, and the Falcons are counting on him to do it again."