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Sean McVay: Scheme Will Adapt to Players on Redskins Offense

by Chris Lingebach
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Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay. (Credit: Redskins.com)

Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay. (Credit: Redskins.com)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - When the Redskins announced 27-year-old tight ends coach Sean McVay had been promoted to offensive coordinator, many fans immediately noticed his age, more so than his name.

Redskins tight ends Logan Paulsen and Niles Paul praised McVay’s creativity, however, despite the perceived fear that he’s too young to call plays.

McVay was asked how he was able to rise so quickly through the ranks, in an interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Grant and Danny, to ultimately be in the position to be promoted to offensive coordinator, a position that takes others years to attain — and all just weeks before his 28th birthday.

“I think the first thing that’s been really beneficial, from the standpoint of some of the experiences I’ve had in a short amount of time, you get a chance to be around great coaches that are willing to invest in you and kind of help you develop faster than you typically would, if you weren’t around some of these special guys, talking about Jon and Jay Gruden,” McVay said Friday.

“I first started coaching being here the last few years under Mike and Kyle Shanahan, even Jim Haslett when he was the head coach in United Football League. So I’ve been really fortunate to be around some of those great coaches that are willing to invest, and teach and share, so you feel like it gives you a chance to accelerate, and when opportunities come, you’re able to take advantage of them because of the right timing.”

McVay went into great detail about how the Redskins plan to get their playmakers more involved in the offense, while explaining how the passing game Jay Gruden’s bringing from Cincinnati differs from Kyle Shanahan’s in Washington, which should include more freedom for Robert Griffin III to audible at the line of scrimmage.

“It’ll be a little bit different in terms of the philosophies and the approach,” McVay said. “I think what you’re talking about with Andy [Dalton] is, Jay did a great job of finding ways to get the ball out of Andy’s hands, with some quick screens and things like that, to get those playmakers the ball in space — whether it be a guy like Gio Bernard or A.J. Green — and what he also gave Andy the ability to do, was kind of audible at the line of scrimmage.

“If you saw a look that you didn’t like, a pressure look where maybe a protection wasn’t going to hold up, let’s go ahead and check to a play that gets us in a sound protection, and we have a built-in quick element, and I think those are some things that will be really conducive for what Robert does really well too, and you find a way to get some of those elite playmakers in space — like a Pierre Garcon, like a Jordan Reed, like those types of guys — that I think will really be able to translate when we use some of those things he had success with in Cincinnati.”

But perhaps what stood out most among McVay’s answers — and will serve as the biggest distinction between the Redskins offense, past and future — will be how the staff plans to adapt offensive schemes to fit its personnel.

This makes similarities to Shanahan’s offense inevitable, including some zone blocking, as McVay explained in the interview. Although as he points out, there will be enough noticeable differences.

“As soon as we kind of figure out which direction we’re gonna be going, I’m gonna make sure to reach out to [RGIII] and let him know how excited I am to continue to develop that relationship, and for us to start working,” McVay said. “And I know the competitor that he is, he’s as fired up as everybody on this staff is to get going, and I have no doubt that he’s gonna have a great year this coming year.

“I think that kind of goes with what we’re were talking about a little bit earlier, and that’s what makes Jay special. He comes in and says ‘How are we built?’ Well what we’re built to do is run and stretch people, and we have guys that move well interior, and can run and finish blocks on the second level, so I think you’re gonna see a lot of those same principles.  That’s some of the stuff that we were able to have a lot of success with over the last couple years. And Jay’s the type of coach that he’s gonna say ‘Hey, I’m not gonna make my players fit to my scheme, I’m gonna adjust to them and put them in those positions to have success.’

“Now, does that mean that we won’t mix in any of those kind of gap elements where you run more vertical on some double-teams and things like that like you were saying? No, I’m not saying that. We might be able to do some of those things, but at the end of the day, we are built to stretch people and run up front, and I think you’ll continue to see a lot of those types of things.”

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