New tight ends coach Shane Waldron is no stranger to working with head coach Sean McVay. As Washington's offensive quality control coach in 2016, Waldron had an up close and personal look at how McVay goes about his business as an offensive coordinator.
"I had a great experience with him," Waldron said in a recent interview with therams.com. "Just being around his leadership, his charisma, his ability to develop relationships with the players, and his ability to motivate the guys, and then, most importantly, his motivation level as a coach is — bar none — the best I've ever been around."
That's part of why Waldron chose to come to Los Angeles to coach the Rams tight ends under McVay. And Waldron feels it's those qualities that will help McVay become a high-quality NFL head coach.
"He did an excellent job with our offense," Waldron said of Washington's unit, which finished No. 3 overall in 2016. "But then the other things you don't see outside of the Xs and Os part every day, I thought, were everything you need to be successful in the position he's been able to obtain."
As for Waldron, he first broke into the NFL with the Patriots in 2002, first as an operations intern for two seasons before being promoted to operations assistant in 2004. He followed former New England offensive coordinator Charlie Weis to Notre Dame, where he served as a graduate assistant from 2005-2007.
After that, Waldron came back to the Patriots for two more years, where he was the tight ends coach for the 2009 season. With all his experience in New England, Waldron said he picked up plenty from head coach Bill Belichick and the way he runs his program.
"It was a great experience," Waldron said. "I was around a bunch of great people. And just a chance to see Belichick every day and the way he was able to teach the game — not just form a football standpoint, but from a preparation standpoint and a knowledge standpoint of the history of the game and the current players, what it's all about and how to get ready to play. So that was great. And then the luxury of being in the locker room there, with some great leaders and seeing how they went about their business, and won a few games along the way."
After a few years coaching in college, Waldron returned to the NFL last year in Washington, and now he's made his way to Southern California. But one of the unique aspects of coaching tight ends is how the position's players are asked to function as both blockers and receivers.
"I do have the luxury of coaching the offensive line and coaching the receivers in my past, so I have a pretty good mix of the understanding of both aspects of the game," Waldron said. "And really the desire, and having good people in that room — those guys are really going to be your willing blockers and guys that'll embrace that role. And then there's the other guys who have the skillset as receivers.
"It's a position that's a jack-of-all-trades position," Waldron added. "And the exciting thing is our room is built with a bunch of different guys who have a great variety of skills. And those skills can be used in our offense in a bunch of different ways. So it'll be fun to figure out how they fit with us and how we fit with them."