Sean McVay: Could The Redskins Offensive Coordinator Actually Leave?

Dec 20, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay looks on from the field prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins may end up losing their offensive coordinator this offseason. Sean McVay is rumored to be in the running for a couple of head coaching jobs.

During the 2016 season, the Washington Redskins put together a terrific offensive season. Led by Kirk Cousins and a stellar passing attack, the unit flourished. They were the third best offense in terms of average yards per game, posting a mark of 403.4. Many credit Jay Gruden with the success of the offense, but the efforts of offensive coordinator Sean McVay cannot be ignored.

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McVay is just a 30-year-old coordinator, but he has already established himself as one of the top, young offensive minds in the league. He has helped to greatly improve Cousins all while working with a running game that has no workhorse. Granted, the Redskins have a lot of quality receivers, by McVay has been able to get the most out of his players. The only issue with the offense this season has been red zone efficiency, and that is due to play calling issues.

That said, McVay’s impressive body of work is drawing attention from some NFL teams. There are quite a few coaching vacancies in the league, per usual, and two have requested permission to interview McVay. They are the San Francisco 49ers and the Los Angeles Rams, per Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk.

Despite the interest of the two teams, it would seem that McVay might be best off staying in Washington for another year. The major reason? Neither team is all that attractive of an option.

Dec 11, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher reacts during the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Case Against The Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams made a smart decision this offseason by firing their head coach Jeff Fisher, but frankly, the team is going to have a tough time attracting a head coach. They are looking for a name that will both make a big splash but also avoid the dreaded retread hiring. That is what happened when they brought in Fisher, and that blew up in their faces, as Fisher went 31-45-1 over the course of five seasons with the team.

Still, at a glance, the Rams have a pretty good roster. Their defense is full of talented players, and their line is especially impressive. Robert Quinn and Aaron Donald are some of the best players at their respective positions, so the incoming head coach would not have to worry too much on building up that side of the ball.

The problem lies on the offense, which is why the Rams seem to be targeting offensive candidates. Their only true weapon is running back Todd Gurley, and they do not even have the proper blocking to get him enough space.

Making matters worse, the Rams have to deal with having Jared Goff as their quarterback. The No. 1 overall pick in 2016 was absolutely atrocious as a rookie, but the Rams have to stick with him. After all, they did sell the farm for him. Goff does not have pocket presence, arm strength, or the frame to be a true starting quarterback. It would take a miracle worker, quarterback guru to fix his issues.

For these reasons, McVay may want to avoid taking on the Rams job. The team is likely to stick with Goff for at least another two seasons, as they will not want to admit making a big mistake. Who would have thought that just eight months after the draft the Rams would be regretting their Goff pick so much?

Nov 20, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke before the game against the New England Patriots at Levi

The Case Against The San Francisco 49ers

Lo, how the mighty have fallen! Once considered to be a potential dynasty, the 49ers of the 2010s destroyed themselves very rapidly. Inept general manager Trent Baalke chased Jim Harbaugh out of town before hiring two head coaches who did not even last a year in the NFL. During that time, there was a lack of communication between the GM and head coaches and talented players left as they realized the state of the organization.

Well, now Baalke is gone, and the 49ers will get a chance to rebuild. There is just one other major problem. The owner, Jed York, enjoys messing around in team affairs, and will be hiring a new GM soon. If York hires a “yes man” type, the coach may have a tough time dealing with pressure from the front office on personnel issues. To his credit, York seems dedicated to finding a great fit, but I am skeptical about whether or not he will.

As little talent as the actual roster has, the new coach in San Fran will get a chance to build through the draft. The team has the second overall pick, and can take the best player available to fill a need. They already have some strong young prospects in DeForest Buckner and Carlos Hyde, so they could at least build around that.

One concern would be about what happens to Colin Kaepernick, and also who would be the replacement at quarterback. Kaepernick may be ready to leave the franchise, and he has not been anything special in recent years. Still, having no quarterback is something that is tough to work with. The team could take one with the No. 2 overall pick, but this is a weak quarterback class.

Surprisingly, the 49ers actually may be the more attractive of the two options. Though they have no quarterback, they come with a little less long term baggage, provided that York does not meddle too much with the team. The Niners are looking for a long term fit, and it would be hard to imagine the next coach to be leaving after less than two seasons. For that reason, McVay could consider the team, but they would still be one of the weakest rosters in the NFL.

Jan 1, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden looks on from the sidelines against the New York Giants in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Giants won 19-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Case For Leaving The Washington Redskins

Well, this should be pretty obvious. What more could any coordinator want at the NFL level than to be a head coach? Head coaching opportunities do not grow on trees, and any time one is offered up, a candidate really has to take into account all of their options.

As a head coach, McVay would have all power over the team and his offense. He would not have to report to a head coach like Gruden, which could appeal to him. I would be that he and Gruden have a solid relationship, but that just might be too much for McVay to pass up. There is a chance that McVay thinks he has accomplished everything he can in Washington as well. That could make him strongly consider leaving to take a head coaching job.

Also, since McVay is so young, he is only 30, he could have a real shot at becoming a top notch head coach. We have seen coaches like Adam Gase (age 38) recently lead teams to success despite being younger, so that may be the new trend in the NFL. That also offers incentive for McVay to try being a head coach now, and if he fails, he will possibly get another opportunity later. Josh McDaniels went through a similar cycle going from the New England Patriots offensive coordinator to Denver Broncos head coach. Then, he went back to being a coordinator and is now considered to be a top head coaching option.

Essentially, McVay’s age keeps things open for him. If he wants to leave and has a chance to do so, he may take the offer.

Jan 1, 2017; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden talks with offensive coordinator Sean McVay before the game between the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

What Will Happen?

I personally do not see McVay landing a coaching job this offseason. NFL teams may actually think that he is too young to be a coach right now, and he could use another year of experience under his belt. Clearly, he has a terrific offensive mind, but the track record of some of the guys he is going against for the positions will likely outdo his.

If I had to make a prediction, I would say that McDaniels would end up Los Angeles, and a defensive coach would end up in San Francisco. Maybe it would be Vance Joseph or Sean McDermott. At the end of the day, it is hard to figure out what will happen for those two franchises, given the ruts that they have been in.

One thing will be certain. McVay is not long for the Redskins offensive coordinator job. Eventually, he will get a head coaching offer if he continues to build a stronger offense. It may not be the time this offseason, but I would bet that by 2018, McVay will be the head coach of an NFL team.

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