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Shanahans Keep Game Plan A Mystery

Coach Mike Shanahan and his son, offensive coordinator Kyle, play things close to the vest.

They reveal little while speaking with reporters in hopes of maintaining a competitive advantage over opponents, so it wasn’t surprising the other day that Kyle offered few clues about the team’s plans on offense and kickoff returns for the season opener Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Mike Shanahan recently acknowledged the obvious, essentially confirming that top back Clinton Portis would start the opener. Big back Larry Johnson is listed second on the depth chart and Keiland Williams, an undrafted rookie free agent out of LSU, is the third back.

Williams impressed during the preseason in beating out Willie Parker and Ryan Torain, who was signed to the practice squad, for a spot on the opening 53-man roster. He could be an intriguing option to fill the third-down role.

“He ran the ball real well,” Kyle Shanahan said. “He had some natural running skills and we could trust him. He picked up the protection stuff real well.

“He knows what we’re doing, especially for a rookie coming in. He’s got no fear, doesn’t mind putting his face in guys. He doesn’t flinch at contact.”

Among the wide receivers, only flanker and top wideout Santana Moss is assured of a starting assignment. Joey Galloway has been listed atop the depth chart at split end throughout the preseason, but “we haven’t decided yet” if Galloway will start, Kyle said. “We have really about … all five guys we can rotate in there. It just depends on what package we’re in.

“We played him really against the Jets [in the third preseason game]. With Joey, we know what he could do. We know what Joey is and we wanted to give these younger guys a chance to see what they could do and get more reps. We didn’t need Joey to go out there play through entire games just to show us what we already knew.”

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