Last week, I published five quick personal nuggets about new Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay, because that seems to be the way of the world. Plus, McVay — who comes from a fabled football family — palled around with Jerry Rice and Steve Young when he was a grade-schooler, which was interesting to me, anyhow.
Readers, though, weren’t impressed.
“Lead story on the sports page?” one wrote. “Guess news judgment is being decided by journalists/editors as young as offensive coordinators these days.”
“Yeah – I was hoping for some inkling as to the kind of offense he might bring to the Redskins. Nope,” groused another.
Now, I never saw my role exactly as dishing on the prevalence of gap-block plays or the potential size of Redskins offensive linemen in future seasons, but give the people what they want, I’ve always said. So here is McVay, talking to ESPN 980 about whether the Redskins will continue to use zone-read running plays under Jay Gruden.
“You know what, I think a lot of people have asked about that, and I think that’s one of the things that makes Jay such a great coach,” McVay said. “You often talk about fitting players into your scheme; Jay is gonna fit his scheme to our players. And what we’ve been built to do, as far as the run game’s concerned, is kind of continue to run some of those outside zone principals, where we’re built to run and stretch people. And any time you have a dynamic threat at quarterback like Robert — you obviously want to be careful with how much you’re doing it — but it does put the pressure on a defense and sometimes regulates it. So I think you’ll see bits and pieces. And then we’ll obviously incorporate some of the things that he was able to have success with in Cincinnati, with what he was able to do with Andy and A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard, those types of guys. So he’ll do a great job of figuring out what’s best for our players and then fitting that scheme to them.”
Brian Mitchell then asked about the offensive line, pointing out that Cincinnati employs a huskier brand of lineman than the Shanahans have preferred.
“We’re built to run and stretch people up front, and Jay isn’t by any stretch tied into one thing,” McVay said. “It kind of goes into what we were just talking about, where hey, what do we do best? These guys, what is their skill set, and how can I put them in the best positions to succeed? And I think [the Redskins] are built to really stretch and run people, and run some of those outside-zone schemes. And I think you might see a little bit more mix in of some of those vertical double teams, those gap-block plays that people talk about, that you’re saying that Cincinnati ran. But I think it’ll be a healthy mix of figuring out what do they do best, and that’s in my opinion what makes Jay such a great coach.”
Still later, McVay talked about Washington’s offensive shortcomings in 2013.
“What I think we’re excited about moving forward is finding those ways to play better situationally,” he said. “And I think when you look back on the 2012 season, when we were able to have a lot of success, we were excellent at taking care of the football and we were excellent at finishing drives in the red zone, top five in both of those. And I think those are some key points of emphasis moving towards this next season that I think we’re capable of doing, and that we definitely need to make a point of emphasis to get done.”
As for spending time with the 49ers as a kid, yeah, there was a little bit of that, too, but don’t make fun of me for printing it.
“It is priceless,” McVay said. “You get a chance to run around these guys that are first-ballot Hall of Famers. You talk about who’s the best receiver of all time, nobody blinks, you’re talking about Jerry Rice. Who’s the most clutch quarterback of all time; anytime that comes up, Joe Montana is in the conversation. Steve Young is one of all-time greats. I was just old enough to kind of process what was going on really for that ’94 team, which you’re talking about Ricky Watters, William Floyd, their defense was loaded, Merton Hanks, Tim McDonald at safety, Ken Norton Jr.’s playing middle linebacker. But those types of guys, being around that, being around a football family where it’s always something that you genuinely enjoy and really like to do, it was never forced upon me, it’s been really a blessing where you kind of understand what the culture and environment’s about. And I think that’s why it’s kind of been a seamless transition for me as far as coaching is concerned.”