LA Rams make McVay youngest head coach in NFL his­tory

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - SPORTS - By Greg Beacham

The Los An­ge­les Rams have made Sean McVay the youngest head coach in NFL his­tory.

The Rams on Thurs­day hired McVay, who turns 31 years old on Jan. 24.

The Wash­ing­ton Red­skins’ of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor re­places Jeff Fisher, who was fired 13 games into the Rams’ home­com­ing sea­son in Los An­ge­les, and in­terim head coach John Fas­sel. The Rams fin­ished 4-12 in their 13th con­sec­u­tive non­win­ning sea­son.

“The ac­com­plish­ments and suc­cess that he has had in less than a decade in our league are im­pres­sive,” Rams owner Stan Kroenke said in a state­ment. “We are con­fi­dent in his vi­sion to make this team a con­sis­tent win­ner and we will all con­tinue to work to­gether to achieve our ultimate goal, bring­ing a Rams Su­per Bowl cham­pi­onship home to Los An­ge­les.”

McVay spent the past three sea­sons as Jay Gruden’s of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor with the Red­skins. He has been an as­sis­tant since 2010 in Wash­ing­ton, where he worked with Gruden and Bill Cal­la­han to build a pro­lific of­fense led by quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins.

McVay’s most im­por­tant task is likely to be the trans­for­ma­tion of No. 1 over­all pick Jared Goff into a star af­ter his rough rookie cam­paign be­hind a strug­gling of­fen­sive line.

“Re­ally happy for Sean McVay!” Cousins tweeted.

The Rams made the eye­catch­ing move on the same day that the Charg­ers an­nounced their re­lo­ca­tion to Los An­ge­les to share the Rams’ $2.6 bil­lion sta­dium. The Charg­ers are still with­out a coach, and the Rams grabbed some of their head­lines by snag­ging one of the most in­ter­est­ing names on the coach­ing mar­ket.

“I am in­cred­i­bly hon­ored by this op­por­tu­nity,” McVay said in a state­ment, thank­ing Kroenke and Rams chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Kevin De­moff. “Col­lec­tively, we are com­mit­ted to build­ing a cham­pi­onship­cal­iber team, and I’m ex­cited to start that process and make our fans proud.”

McVay wowed the Rams’ top brass dur­ing two re­cent in­ter­views, but he is an un­ortho­dox choice for the fran­chise, which hasn’t taken many ex­tra­or­di­nary risks dur­ing Kroenke’s ten­ure. While McVay is re­spected as an up-and-com­ing NFL mind, he has un­der­stand­ably mea­ger ex­pe­ri­ence, in­clud­ing none as a head coach at any level of foot­ball.

But per­haps risks are in or­der to snap the Rams out of their 12-year play­off drought. They’ve made the play­offs just four times in the last 27 years, all dur­ing a five-year span in St. Louis from 19992003, and they haven’t had a win­ning record in Los An­ge­les since 1989.

Los An­ge­les has a young ros­ter, but McVay is still younger than Rams de­fen­sive line­men Wil­liam Hayes. McVay doesn’t in­herit an enor­mous amount of elite ta­lent be­yond Pro Bowl de­fen­sive line­man Aaron Don­ald and other topflight de­fen­sive play­ers, but the Rams are ea­ger to build a win­ning team head­ing into their new sta­dium in In­gle­wood, which they will share with the Charg­ers be­gin­ning in 2019.

“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,” Gruden said re­cently.

Lane Kif­fin was 31 years old when the Oak­land Raiders hired him in Jan­uary 2007. That hire didn’t go well, and McVay faces plenty of dif­fi­cult work in his new job.

The Rams’ of­fense has fin­ished last in the NFL for two con­sec­u­tive sea­sons. Goff threw seven in­ter­cep­tions and five touch­down passes while get­ting sacked 26 times in his half-sea­son as their starter, while top run­ning back Todd Gur­ley had a dis­mal sec­ond NFL sea­son be­hind the same strug­gling of­fen­sive line.

McVay could be welle­quipped for the job of tu­tor­ing Goff: In Cousins’ two sea­sons un­der McVay as the Red­skins’ start­ing quar­ter­back, he twice broke the ven­er­a­ble fran­chise’s records for yards pass­ing and com­ple­tions. Wash­ing­ton av­er­aged 403 yards per game this sea­son, while the Rams didn’t have a 400yard of­fen­sive game all year long.

Al­though McVay is a coach­ing young­ster, he played re­ceiver at Mi­ami (Ohio), and he comes from a foot­ball fam­ily. His grand­fa­ther, John, spent 21 sea­sons in the San Fran­cisco 49ers’ front of­fice as a top ex­ec­u­tive in­volved in build­ing sev­eral out­stand­ing teams.

McVay is widely ex­pected to as­sem­ble a vet­eran staff around him. The Rams have re­peat­edly been linked to Wade Phillips, the re­spected de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor and for­mer head coach. He is out of con­tract af­ter the 69-year-old vet­eran led the Denver Bron­cos’ Su­per Bowl-win­ning unit last sea­son.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In this July 26, 2014 file photo, Wash­ing­ton Red­skins of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Sean McVay talks to the of­fense dur­ing prac­tice at the team’s NFL foot­ball train­ing fa­cil­ity in Rich­mond, Va. The Los An­ge­les Rams have made McVay the youngest head coach in NFL his­tory. The Rams on Thurs­day hired McVay, who turns 31 years old on Jan. 24.

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