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How Sean McVay became the NFL"s newest prodigy
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How Sean McVay came to be the NFL"s newest prodigy
Jan 16, 2017

Alden employee Writer
CloseJoined in 2016 to cover the Los Angeles Rams
LOS ANGELES -- Jon Embree left his project coaching Washington Redskins tight end to become head coach in ~ Colorado in the second week that December in 2010. 4 games remained in the Redskins" season. Chris Cooley, by that point one that the game"s most abundant tight ends, quickly came to be uneasy around what would certainly follow. His brand-new position coach would be Embree"s assistant, a 24-year-old called Sean McVay, and Cooley was skeptical.

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It took one day to reverse that.

"This 24-year-old child came in and also knew everything around the offense, and everything around everything," Cooley said. "I learned an ext about football 보다 I had actually in my entire career in four weeks."

New Rams coach Sean McVay paint, etc comparisons come Jon Gruden because of his unbridled enthusiasm because that the game.John McDonnell/The Washington write-up via Getty ImagesIn McVay, Cooley observed peerless intelligence and remarkable self-assurance. McVay didn"t just know the violation by heart or straight his tight ends in great detail; he was able to explain why. Cooley began to view the game from a wider scope and quickly occurred an admiration for McVay, even though the coach was four years younger and also had never ever played an NFL snap. In the 2011 opener, Cooley damaged the franchise document for receptions by a tight end and also gifted McVay the football. Today, Cooley credits McVay for the method he sees the game.

"His ability to know the game from every element -- fronts, coverages, heat play, checks, from top to bottom -- is uncanny," Cooley, now a member that the Redskins" radio transfer team, claimed in a phone conversation Saturday, the work after McVay was presented as the Los Angeles Rams" head coach. "To recognize it in that way and come speak it the means he speak it, it’s simply a love thing. You need to spend endless time doing it. And also it has to be what girlfriend love. Once you speak to him, as soon as I talk to him, you just hear it in his voice. You check out it."

Growing up with the 49ers

The love started with his upbringing. McVay"s grandfather, John, to be an executive for the mountain Francisco groups that won five Super bowl titles in the 1980s and also "90s. McVay"s father, Tim -- an accomplished safety for Lee Corso-led Indiana groups -- immersed McVay into that setting as often as that could. Together a toddler, McVay would certainly watch 49ers practices and also sometimes find himself in ~ earshot the conversations between his grandfather and also Hall of reputation coach invoice Walsh. The idolized Joe Montana and Steve Young, climate later acquired to know Jeff Garcia.

Tim will certainly tell girlfriend Sean learned "a ton" from his grandfather, even though he was so young once John"s front-office career to be winding down.

"He learned exactly how to interact with people," Tim said. "He learned just how to law people."

Sean was born in Dayton, Ohio, and raised in Atlanta, whereby his dad currently runs the local ABC affiliate. He started to learn just how offenses worked as a read-option quarterback in high school. By the point, Tim started seeing Sean connect in high-level conversations with his coaches. He watched his boy serve together a receiver and return specialist in Miami (Ohio), then start his coaching career as a low-level assistant, and also then, eight year later, end up being the youngest head coach in the NFL"s modern-day era at period 30.

Yes, Tim is surprised it all happened so quickly, but:

"He’s absolutely capable of this," Tim stressed. "It’s no too large for him. I deserve to tell you."

Getting started in the NFL

Sean gained his an initial NFL job in 2008 under then-Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden. In 2009, McVay came to be an assistant on a team called the Florida Tuskers in the now-defunct joined Football League, which had Jim Haslett as the head coach and also Gruden"s younger brother, Jay, mounted as the offensive coordinator. When he ended up being the Redskins assistant tight ends coach in Washington, Mike Shanahan ran the team and his son, Kyle, ran the offense.

It was around that time as soon as Sean began reading books on leadership, gravitating in the direction of those focused on Walsh and legendary UCLA basketball coach john Wooden. His favourite is referred to as "The Score Takes care of Itself: My viewpoint of Leadership." Walsh wrote it, and John McVay has actually his very own chapter. The main question he searches for in his reading, McVay said, is: "How deserve to you figure out methods to develop and build relationship that space authentic and genuine?"

Bears tight finish Logan Paulsen, who invested 2010-15 in Washington, was amazed at exactly how McVay mental the names and backgrounds that every Redskins employee, indigenous coaches to cooks come janitors. Standout Redskins tight end Jordan Reed wanted to save working specifically with McVay also after he came to be the offensive coordinator in 2014. The following season, McVay started to speak to plays and Cooley marveled in ~ the means he inflated the confidence of quarterback Kirk Cousins, a fourth-round pick who spent his very first three seasons stuck behind Robert Griffin III.

"He has actually a way, this ease around him," Paulsen said. "He speak football all the time, but he find a method to speak come you."

Making his mark

Sean McVay"s plan and capacity to communicate helped Redskins QB Kirk Cousins flourish.AP Photo/Alex BrandonUnder McVay"s clock in 2015, the Redskins score the NFL"s 10th-most points and also won the NFC east behind Cousins, the first-year starting quarterback who posted a 126.1 passer rating in the 2nd half. Heading right into the 2016 season, Cooley told everybody ready to listen the McVay would certainly be one NFL head coach the following year. They all basically told Cooley he was crazy, however then the Redskins gained more yards 보다 all yet two teams and also McVay started to be taken seriously as a head coaching candidate.

McVay blew groups away during the interview process, climate signed a five-year contract v the Rams and said he"s "embracing the expectations, the situation, and the city the L.A."

He inherits an offense that has actually been the NFL"s worst every of the past two seasons and will take it on the playcalling duties. McVay"s biggest gift together a playcaller is his knack for consistently putting players in location to succeed, i beg your pardon might best be identified by his success on 3rd down. The Redskins ranked third in the NFL in third-down percentage these previous two seasons, while the Rams to be dead last.

In that time, McVay walk a masterful project of placing the Redskins in the favorable third-down cases that allowed them to convert at a high rate. The Redskins necessary three or fewer yards on 32.2 percent of their third-down plays this season, fourth-best in the NFL, follow to Stats & Information.

The next Jon Gruden

Cooley likes to hoax that when McVay"s alarm walk off before sunrise, he shoots his fist in the wait with an excellent enthusiasm.

"I don’t sleep much," McVay admitted. "If you deserve to tell, I’m a tiny wired, a small high strung."

The Saturday before the Redskins" regular-season finale against the Giants, Cooley walked into the facility at 5 a.m. Thinking he would certainly be alone. McVay was currently in the movie room. "Look at this!" the said, showing clips of plays run against the Browns and Falcons that had nothing to execute with the upcoming video game plan. Cooley said he"s "never met anyone who chosen the video game of football more than Sean McVay, and also it’s not even close."

His unbridled enthusiasm bear a to mark resemblance.

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McVay"s agent, Bob LaMonte, a pioneer once it concerns representing prospective coaches, very first met McVay around four years earlier and came away thinking: "This guy is the following Jon Gruden.

"The dynamic, the brain, everything about him," said LaMonte, that has also represented Gruden because that decades. "I had lunch through him and said, "This guy is electric." Jon Gruden was electric."

It isn"t simply that Jon Gruden provided McVay his an initial job. It"s the McVay took component in Gruden"s Fired soccer Coaches association in 2009 and also learned so much around what it took to be a head coach. It"s that Gruden"s father, Jim Gruden Sr., was close friends v McVay"s grandfather and then recruited McVay"s dad in college. It"s the Gruden, in McVay"s words, "truly teach me come look in ~ the game from a 22-man perspective."