Does Meeting Sean McVay Qualify Me to be an NFL Coach Now?
I went over this earlier in the week when talking about new Arizona Cardinals Head Coach and fired Texas Tech Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury but it is a good time to be a young, offensive minded coach in the NFL these days.
And the headline question, while a bit rhetorical is legit. I have met Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay. In fact, both me and Brother Jon a.k.a OSGNelson have both interviewed him when he was a young pup at The Marist School here in Metro Atlanta.
Taking it further, I met McVay again when his father--and my former boss (Dad retired in 2017) brought him around at work a few summers ago.
While that alone doesn't qualify me to be an NFL Coach, these days it isn't far off.
As NFL teams looking for new Coaches this January begin filling their job openings, it is surprising (at least to me) how many of the jobs are being filled by guys with some coaching experience, but NO Head Coaching experience.
The only common thread is several of the jobs have gone to people who either coaches for, with or are friends with McVay.
Granted, he is the current trend in coaching. Young, super talented beyond his years (he's 32) and uber successful, McVay has been able to relate to his players on a level rarely seen in the Pros while at the same time revolutionizing offense and the way the game is played.
But....there are reasons for this besides his coaching skill, the biggest being his hire of Defensive Coordinator and former NFL Head Coach Wade Phillips who's experience and knowledge has been invaluable.
However, the "Coaching Tree" theory has now placed some new "Head Coaches". Green Bay hired Matt LaFluer to be their guy. LaFluer was most recently the Offensive Coordinator for the Tennessee Titans--not exactly a team known for lighting up the scoreboard.
But LaFluer was the Offensive Coordinator for McVay with the Rams in 2017 for whatever that meant.
Kingbury, for his part was not a McVay Assistant, but they are friendly and the former College and briefly Pro QB has a "reputation" for innovative and effective offense. It didn't get him very far at Texas Tech, even with the success of former QB Patrick Mahomes, Kingsbury was only able to coax 7 wins out of the now star QB for the Kansas City Chiefs.
There is now word the Cincinnati Bengals, a team stuck in the 1980's, plan on hiring Rams QB Coach Zac Taylor to be their latest Head Coach. Taylor has had some success as a position coach in L.A. and very briefly called plays for the Miami Dolphins as a Offensive Coordinator in 2015 at age 32.
But Taylor has ZERO Head Coaching experience at any level. He may end up being a successful and innovative coach, but nobody really knows.
Other Offensive minded coaches got jobs this month: Browns interim Offensive Coordinator Freddie Kitchens got promoted to the Head Job after his success in making young QB Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense a success after another awful beginning to the season.
Former Arizona Head Coach Bruce Arians--another offensive guy, landed in Tampa Bay. Arians has a very good track record--but at age 66, there are question marks about what he can do.
Lastly there is the curious case of Adam Gase, fired by the Miami Dolphins for his inability to raise them past mediocrity. Gase managed to land a job as Head Coach for the Dolphins conference rival New York Jets.
Gase's reputation is that of a "Quarterback Whisperer" despite the inability to elevate Ryan Tannehill to anything other than a league average QB in Miami. He'll be tasked with developing young QB Sam Darnold in the spotlights of New York. I'm not betting on this one doing, well, much of anything other than yelling, screaming and complaining in the Big Apple.
I really don't know if or how any of these guys will do as Head Coach. The NFL is a strange and somewhat unpredictable business where your success is dictated largely by injuries, depth and payroll. Outside the New England Patriots Bill Belichick system, almost every other team is bound to some issue with one of the 3-keys.
Too many injuries and you become the 2018 Atlanta Falcons. Not enough depth and you become the 2018 Washington Redskins. Bad payroll and you are the 2018 Dolphins. Sure, only the Dolphins fired their Head Coach but the other two teams have a near 100% support staff turnover.
Which means just like previous seasons, the NFL will move on to a new coaching trend in 2019. If these guys on offense do nothing and a defensive coach has success as a Head Coach, expect the Carousel to have a run on defensive coaches.
In the meantime, I'm still waiting for that call NFL General Managers. I'm not hard to find......