NFL: Sean McVay Ready to Prove the Doubters Wrong in 2017
When he became the youngest NFL head coach in history, Sean McVay made headlines for all of the right reasons. It was a milestone in the sport and many were pleased to see this ex-player and successful assistant coach and coordinator make the step up. He has had some success with the Washington Redskins, and previously with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since his announcement as head coach for the Los Angeles Rams, there has been more time for the news to sink in, and, as can be expected, this eventually resulted in some experts coming out and questioning his suitability for the top coaching spot in LA.The Rams are coming off of a disappointing season where they finished 3rd in the NFC West, missed the Playoffs, and struggled throughout the year with a 4 – 12 record. This year is being looked at as a rebuild, and whether it is fair or not, McVay will be judged on how well the Rams can perform.The coach has recently taken time to talk about the upcoming season, and respond to some of the doubts that have been circulating in the sporting media.
Sean McVay Responding to Criticism from Former Coach Mike Martz
Mike Martz, the ex NFL coach who held the top coaching position with the St. Louis Rams from 2000 to 2005, didn’t have anything positive to say about the hiring of McVay. With quotes taken from the book Blitzed: Why NFL Teams Gamble on Starting Rookie Quarterbacks, by Thomas George, it is clear that Martz doesn’t think much of McVay’s abilities. In a section of the book covering Rams Quarterback Jared Goff, Martz had the following to say about Sean McVay:“What is he, a couple of months older than Jared? They hired a buddy for Jared. The NFL has nothing to do with being the friend or the buddy of the quarterback. You’ve got to coach them and work them hard with respect. But buddy? And this guy is a quarterback expert? An offensive expert? Wait a minute while I puke. Right, he’s going to be able to teach and handle and guide Jared through tough times because of all his expertise and knowledge? Right. I’m not going to drink that Kool-Aid.”This is the most scathing and the most public criticism that Sean McVay has received so far. Many would point out that even though Martz was once respected as the best offensive coach in the NFL, he fell off in the later stages of his career, and never made it back to a head coach position. Sean McVay was fairly diplomatic in his response to this quote, telling the media that “Coach Martz is a guy that I have always had a huge amount of respect for with what he’s accomplished, especially with just being an offensive coach. You look at the production of offenses that he’s been a part of, so as a fan of coaching, I don’t know coach Martz, I met him real quick at the combine a handful of years ago. Like I said, I have a lot of respect for what he’s accomplished and I can’t say anything but good things about what he’s done and what kind of coach he is.”McVay believes that his young age could be a significant factor in the minds of anyone who is doubting his coaching ability, but he doesn’t accept that it will actually have any impact on the results of his first season with the Rams. He said that “We’ve got a great challenge ahead of us, but what you feel good about is the coaches and the players that we’re going to go on this journey with, these are the types of guys that you want to do that with and you feel like you have a chance to accomplish some things together and work through some adversity that we will inevitably face. I’ve always been around the players age, just because of the broad range with the professional level of the guys that you’re dealing with. The thing that’s been really good about it, that I felt like hasn’t been an issue, is that these are professional athletes. There is a mutual respect that exists between coaches and players, and, ultimately, it’s about us trying to help them reach their highest potential, but it starts with developing and building those relationships like you hear us talk about all of the time.”It’s clear that McVay isn’t taking anything to heart, and neither does he seem to be at all affected by the doubt that has been shown by people like Martz. He has also been humble in his communications so far, which was evident when he said “I know that it’s going to be a great learning curve, and I’m not going to pretend to have the answers to things that I don’t know. But what I am going to do is continue to look at myself critically and try to be the best head coach and leader that I can be for this team and this organization.”
How Are the Rams Looking for 2017?
The Rams are coming off of a poor season, but that doesn’t really matter as we prepare for the upcoming regular season. There are some key games that the Rams could use to cement their intention for the season. To win this division they’re going to need to show everything that they can when they play the Seahawks this year. The Rams beat the team last year, and they’ll need to dig deep to do it again. With a strong defense they will definitely have a chance, and their Week 5 game against the Seahawks is at home, so that’s always going to give them an advantage.Besides needing a strong defense and offense, Jared Goff needs to show that he is the right Number 1 QB pick. He has new receivers around him which will help compared to the inefficient offense that was around him last year. Players like Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp are going to bring fresh new energy to the team, and if Goff has a better line to work with then they can really start to turn out the results that they sorely missed last year.Despite any of the negativity that has been thrown at Sean McVay lately, he has a good roster to work with. He’s unproven as a head coach but we already know that he’s a strong offensive coordinator. If he can handle the transition to the highest coaching position, and if the culture change and new players respond well to him, then it’s not out of the question for the Rams to win their division this year. Although it might be too early to call, there’s some good confidence that the Rams will be the most improved team of 2017.