In January, Sean McVay was named Redskins offensive coordinator after spending the past three seasonsas tight ends coach and the 2010 season as an offensive assistant.
While just 28 years old -- the youngest at his position in the NFL -- McVay is confident in his abilities to lead and has the pedigree and experience to be successful.
Just five days after the Redskins hired Jay Gruden as head coach, the offensive-minded coach tapped McVay as his offensive coordinator.
Thankful for the opportunity, McVay said being selected means little in the long run. He wants to prove that Gruden made the right decision in entrusting his offense’s growth in him.
“For him to have the confidence to put me in this position makes me want to work that much harder for him, (and) make him right on that decision,” McVay said in January. “I’m confident based on some of the things I’ve been able to experience in a short period of time that it is the right decision, and I’m going to work hard every day to continue to get better as a coach and build those relationships with our players and coaching staff.”
Although McVay, a former college wide receiver, has worked mainly with receiving weapons during his coaching career, he’s recently turned his focus to also work closely with the team’s three quarterbacks — Robert Griffin III,
McVay has watched Griffin III -- the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft -- closely during his first two years in the league, and this offseason has been working with him on sharpening his overall game.
“I think it’s just continuing to improve on little things that every quarterback across the league needs to do,” McVay explained of what he wants to accomplish with Griffin III before the regular season begins. “Fundamentals, footwork, accuracy, and I thought he did an excellent job above the neck in absorbing the new system and some of the new terminology.”
With 11 of 16 games during the 2014 regular season coming against foes the Redskins have played with Griffin III as starter -- and a full offseason for him to focus on growing as a player -- McVay is “really excited” to see him back on the field.
“I think going into his third year, you see a lot of progression both from a physical and a mental standpoint,” McVay said. “Some of the things that we’ve done with him the past two years are similar and some are also different.”
“He’s done an excellent job of transferring his knowledge in the meeting rooms to on the field recognizing some of those looks and audibles and recognizing things at the line of scrimmage. We will give him the chance to have great success this year.”
While fans were pleasantly surprised with tight end Jordan Reed’s performance during his rookie season, McVay knew the Redskins got a steal in the draft the moment he started working with the former Florida Gator.
During training camp las year, McVay told the media that Reed showed he was physically and mentally capable of being a solid contributor and that he expected him to play right away.
Reed did just that, and broke the franchise’s rookie tight end record for receptions (45) and receiving yardage (499) in the process, despite sitting out a large portion of the season with injuries.
Entering 2014 with higher expectations, McVay believes Reed will be an important piece for a dynamic Redskins offense.
“He’s going be a key player in our offense,” McVay told the media during minicamp. “He’s an elite route runner for the position, and he still competes with the toughness. He’s got great feet, so he can cover guys up in the run game.”
Faster than most linebackers covering him and more physical than some cornerbacks, McVay said they’ll find ways to get Reed in favorable matchups.
“I think what we’ll try to do with him will maximize his skillset,” McVay said. “He’s done a great job this offseason, so he’s in position to have a great year.”
Evaluating the running backs
McVay admitted that one of the most difficult predicaments he’s encountered thus far in his new role is evaluating the running backs during seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills.
Unlike the wide receivers who go against the secondary and are able to showcase their route running, the running backs carry the ball only a handful of times and they aren’t being tackled.
“It is a little bit harder to evaluate the running backs, especially a guy like
Still, McVay is seeing the depth and versatility the Redskins have in the backfield and has enjoyed the enthusiasm coming from the backs.
“You’re still seeing a high tempo while playing within the regulations," he said. "These guys understand the tempo that’s needed to get good looks in the running and passing game.”