ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins already need a new defensive coordinator. It might be that they’ll need a new offensive coordinator as well. Sean McVay already has interviewed with Los Angeles and has another one planned with San Francisco for their head coaching vacancies.
His age works against him; other factors are in his favor. McVay turns 31 on Jan. 24, so the big question will be how much that matters to teams. (Speaking of Redskins defensive coordinators: Washington has received permission to interview Carolina defensive backs coach Steve Wilks. That's not surprising given the interest stated in him from the start).
Three reasons why McVay is an interesting candidate despite his youth:
Experience: McVay might only be 30, but he’s been around the game longer than most who are older. He’s described as “30 going on 45” by people who know him well. McVay’s grandfather worked for the San Francisco 49ers from 1979-95, including as the vice president/director of football operations for 12 of those years. McVay spent a lot of time with him. And he’s been in the NFL since 2008 (except for one year when he was an assistant in the United Football League). He’s been the Redskins’ offensive coordinator since for three years. Kirk Cousins deserves the bulk of the credit for his growth as a quarterback, but the coaches deserve praise, too. McVay has worked with him for three years and the offensive design -- combined with the talent -- should help any quarterback. It's a good system.
Interviews well: Those who know McVay best say they’re confident in how well he’ll handle interviews. Naturally, the word is that his interview with the Rams went well Thursday. Typically that’s what you’ll hear with most coaches interviews, but with McVay it’s believable. He has never come across as someone who is young or out of place in his role. During media sessions, McVay doesn’t always say a whole lot, but he sounds good saying it and he speaks well. He’s a little like how Derek Jeter was with the Yankees: Say enough to somewhat satisfy, but nothing controversial, and move on. The point: He has some polish. It will be different for him when he must answer questions about both sides of the ball, but he’s really good at staying on message.
Approach: Multiple players, but especially the quarterbacks, have all said the same thing about McVay. He’s as detailed a coach as they’ve been around. Backup quarterback Colt McCoy said McVay and quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh “are two of the most detailed guys I’ve been around. They give us extra notes. They have great ideas of how we’re supposed to play. Sean has a specific way he wants things done. He’s very detailed. We’re always prepared.” Knowing McVay, he will take that same approach to interviews, which is why those close to him have known he’d do well in these settings.