As you may have heard by now, two members of the Rams' offensive coaching staff are slated to have head coaching interviews over the next few days during Los Angeles' playoff bye week.
Quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor and pass game coordinator/tight ends coach Shane Waldron will both meet with the Bengals. Taylor will also meet with the Broncos and Cardinals.
"Zac's got a full docket this week. He's going to talk to three of the teams," head coach Sean McVay said Wednesday. "He's a great coach — he and Shane both. We've got a lot of great coaches on our staff. But, certainly it's exciting for those guys to get the opportunity to go compete for one of these head jobs. If it works out for those guys, we'll be very sorry to see them go, but very excited for them as well — just looking at the career trajectory and the success that these guys have had and how influential they've been on some of the success we've had here."
Since these kinds of situations first started coming up in the aftermath of the 2017 season, head coach Sean McVay has been nothing but encouraging when it comes to career advancement of coaches on his staff.
Former offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, for instance, was let out of his deal with L.A. for what was technically a lateral move in title to become Tennessee's offensive coordinator. But that came with the added responsibility of calling plays, which is what made the move a promotion.
Part of McVay's philosophy comes from his career timeline, as well as his own family history. And that's why even as there's the potential for a "brain drain" effect with coaches moving onward and upward throughout the league, McVay encourages assistants to embrace those opportunities.
Even in the aftermath of the Browns creating a coaching vacancy back in October, McVay was talking up both Waldron and Taylor. Now that these interviews are tangible events, McVay hasn't changed his tune.
"I think one of the things that I've been so fortunate with is that you're not far enough removed from getting an opportunity to go through some of these different things, and you don't want to ever forget it's all about people," McVay said Wednesday. "You want to be able to invest in helping them grow. If that's the case where guys are getting opportunities to grow and interview for head jobs, that means that things are going, most likely, pretty well here. When you do that, and I think when you demonstrate an investment in the people, I think you create an atmosphere of loyalty to this organization — but also knowing that we're going to try to help you grow your career.
"I think it would be hypocritical of me to not try to help people do that when I was fortunate enough to be exposed to people that did that for me."
McVay's quick ascent to becoming a head coach at a young age has been well documented, but it began with him making the most of each opportunity that was in front of him. And that goes back to his grandfather, John McVay, who was one of the architects of the 49ers personnel that won five Super Bowls between the 80s and 90s. And that background is the foundation of his philosophy.
"I think that was one of the things, just going back to the influences that you have. My grandfather's history with the 49ers, there was so much success that they were able to sustain over time and I think a large part of that was credit to the success, but also them being invested in attracting good coaches because of the way that they help them grow," McVay said. "You see a lot of guys become a head coach from kind of that Bill Walsh tree. Certainly, I'm not making that comparison by any stretch — but I think it is about the people.
"If that's something that they feel like is best for their family, that's just what we know is the right thing to do," McVay continued. "Now, do you want to make a habit of losing coaches? Selfishly, no. But, I think it's the right way to go about it and we've got great coaches in this building. Hopefully, if we do have to replace those guys, we'll be able to promote from within or attract really good coaches that are out there. We'll see how that goes."
Check out the photos from the top offensive plays of the Rams 2018 regular season.
Quarterback Jared Goff was one of the players affected the most by LaFleur and former QBs coach Greg Olson departing for new positions over the last offseason. And he gave credit to both Waldron and Taylor for the work they've done this year.
"Zac has been awesome," Goff said. "Zac's been really good for me and our whole quarterback room, I think. Just everything he brings to the table, the fact that he played quarterback. There's certain things that he understands that people that just didn't won't. That is helpful for me. His demeanor, the way he communicates, the way he teaches, I think is incredible. He's been great for me."
Goff said the situation has been similar with Waldron.
"He's able to communicate in such a way that's good for me and I think every quarterback and everyone on our team on offense," Goff said. "Just the way he talks and the way he's able to convey things — similar to Sean — the way he teaches, his knowledge, the way he's able to talk in front of a room. I think all that stuff goes into it. He's been great for us."
Waldron and Taylor are slated to conduct their interviews over the next couple days, with players and coaches both off on Friday and Saturday for the playoff bye.