WASHINGTON — If mismatched Week 1 performances and a long trip to the West Coast weren’t enough to worry the Washington Redskins, there’s an added layer of anxiety for their Week 2 contest vs. the Los Angeles Rams: it’s personal.
On the opposing sidelines is Sean McVay, the lone survivor of the Mike Shanahan coaching purge, who thrived running the offense under Jay Gruden, and left for L.A. to become the youngest head coach in modern NFL history.
He backed up the hype with an impressive 46-9 thumping of the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1. Now he sets his sights on the Redskins, in a matchup that his former players assume is circled on his calendar.
Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times wrote an extensive article on how Redskins players, on both sides of the ball, hold McVay in such regard that it’s impossible to pretend he’s not winning the psychological battle going into Sunday.
This is the word from All-Pro left tackle and team captain Trent Williams:
“To go against Sean the first time is kind of nerve-racking because I know for a fact he knows everything about everybody on this team that was here when he was here.”
That’s 17 of 22 starters for the Redskins.
Here’s how Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman describes McVay:
“He’s a magician. As far as offensive minds, he’s young but could probably create something that we’ll see and be like, ‘That’s Sean McVay.’…That’s scary, but he has the opportunity to do that.”
Farmer also got good insight out of former tight end and current team broadcaster Chris Cooley, who has long presented himself as both knowledgeable about the game and a natural analyst.
McVay’s obsession with details so impressed him as a tight ends coach that it changed the way Cooley understands the game.
With that in mind, McVay will also have some sort of lasting effect over the way the game is called on the field and in the radio booth this Sunday.
Any dreams of ambushing the young head coach are out the window, as Redskins players sound mystified by his knowledge of the game. That should make for a great rebound in Week 2.