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Three Things to Know about Rams HC Sean McVay

Posted Jan 12, 2017

The Rams have made Sean McVay the youngest head coach in NFL history, but there's much more to him — starting with his offensive expertise.

The Rams have a new head coach in former Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay, the organization announced on Thursday. Here are three things to know about the 23rd full-time head coach in franchise history.

1) Grew up around the game

The Rams’ head coach is a football lifer, as his grandfather was one of the architects of the 49ers’ championship teams of the 1980s and 1990s.

After coaching the Giants from 1976-1978, John McVay spent 21 years with the 49ers, mainly as the club’s vice president/director of football operations. He was recently inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame for his contributions.

But with the younger McVay born in January 1986, he grew up spending plenty of time around the 49ers organization in its heyday, connecting with legendary players.

“I can remember being around those guys, being around Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens,” McVay told the MMQB last year. “They were always so great to me. At the time I was so young, you don't realize what a unique and neat experience it was.”

2) Groomed by the Grudens

McVay got his NFL start in 2008 as an assistant wide receivers coach for the Buccaneers. At that point, Jon Gruden was Tampa Bay’s head coach. After that season, however, the club parted ways with Gruden, so McVay needed another job. He found it with someone who knew his former boss well, Jon Gruden's brother, Jay.

McVay became the wide receivers coach and quality control coordinator for the United Football League’s Florida Tuskers, where Jay Gruden was the offensive coordinator. The club went an undefeated 6-0 in their regular season that year.

In 2010, McVay made his way back to the NFL, this time in Washington under head coach Mike Shanahan as the club’s tight ends coach. There he worked with players like tight end Chris Cooley, who raved about his former position coach to ESPN back in 2014.

“He had the highest understanding of an offense of any position coach I’ve ever been around,” Cooley said. “We’d go back and forth in meetings on scheme, why and how. There was always an answer. I love that in a coach. … Two years ago I said if anyone becomes a head coach on this staff it would be Sean McVay.”

That January, McVay was promoted to offensive coordinator under his former boss, Jay Gruden, who had just been hired as Washington’s head coach. Knowing McVay as he does, Gruden gave the 30 year old a nice endorsement at the beginning of the month.

“He’s done a great job and deserves an opportunity to interview, and [we’ll] see what happens,” Gruden said, via CSN Mid-Atlantic. “He’s brought a lot to this football team as far as offensively, and done a good job calling plays, and utilizing the people that we have.”

3) Helped lead one of NFL’s top offenses, develop Cousins

While Jay Gruden and offensive line coach Bill Callahan have significant input on Washington’s game planning, McVay has been the one to call the plays for the club’s offense for the last two years. In 2016, Washington finished No. 3 in total offense (403.4 yards per game), No. 2 in yards per play (6.40 yards), and No. 2 in passing offense (297.4 yards per game).

McVay has also been instrumental in the development of Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has become one of the NFL's more accurate passers. In 2015, Cousins led the league completing 69.8 percent of his passes. In 2016 that mark was 67 percent, with Cousins finishing with 4,917 yards, 25 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions at 8.1 yards per attempt.

“I could be here a long time talking about Sean’s help in my development and his ability to call plays for our offense and lead our offense,” Cousins told the MMQB in last summer. “In the 2015 offseason I was coming off a year when I had been benched halfway through and was going into the next year with the chance to really only compete as a backup. I was a little disappointed with that and Sean was a great encourager through that process, challenging me to stay the course. I think his belief in me and his support and his encouragement was what enabled me to eventually have the opportunities that I had.”

McVay’s experience in developing offenses is likely what made him a strong candidate to be the Rams' coach.