Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay is very familiar with new San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, as the two worked together with Washington for three years. More specifically, McVay worked under Shanahan, who was the offensive coordinator from 2010-13.
In that time, McVay served as assistant tight ends coach and then the primary tight ends coach. When Shanahan left in 2014, McVay took over as offensive coordinator and performed well enough with quarterback Kirk Cousins to jump the line and earn a head coaching job the same year as Shanahan.
Recently, McVay spoke to Los Angeles media and talked about his coaching staff, free agency and other plans. Shanahan’s name came up a few times. McVay said that working under Shanahan “definitely shaped some of my core beliefs, and what we want to do offensively here.”
More interestingly, McVay was asked his thoughts on competing directly with Shanahan in the NFC West.
“I told him, I said, ‘I can’t tell you how happy I am for you, but I can’t believe I’ve got to see you twice a year now.’ He’s a great coach. You look at what they were able to do offensively last year, I think it’ll be hard-pressed to find a team that led the league in scoring, most touchdowns and fewest turnovers it’s incredible,” McVay said.
It’s true that Shanahan’s offense was historically dominant a season ago. With a struggling defense, the Atlanta Falcons needed to be sharp, and they were. Of course, he had Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman to work with.
“Kyle is a guy who’s had a tremendous influence on some of the things I believe in offensively,” McVay said. “He’s a great coach and wish him nothing but the best for 14 games, except for those two next year.”
Finally, McVay was asked if he could specify a percentage of his offense that came from Shanahan. He didn’t really have a good answer for that, simply saying that spending time under Kyle and Mike Shanahan was very formative for him, “shaping what we became in the last couple of years in Washington.”
It should be an interesting rivalry to watch going forward.