Sean McVay coaching tree: Rapid success comes for disciples of young Rams head coach

Teams looking for “The Next McVay” may have to come to terms with the fact that there is only one Sean McVay. That might not stop franchises from trying.

While the Rams’ head coach’s success is well-documented by this point (three division crowns in his first five seasons as head coach), his staff has caught the attention of the rest of the league, and for good reason. : McVay’s tree coaches went 32-14 in 2021, with two of the three making the playoffs and the last narrowly missing out.

Though still only 35 years old, three of McVay’s former assistants have already moved on for NFL head coaching jobs, while another has his hands in the college ranks. That’s not bad company.

Sean McVay Training Tree

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Zac Taylor, Bengals

Record: 16-32-1

Taylor started the season with doubts about his job security, but the Bengals made it to the playoffs with a breakout season from “Smokin'” Joe Burrow, which means Taylor earned some goodwill.

Taylor’s hiring raised a lot of eyebrows, as he replaced the respected Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati. His less-than-good record in his first two years (2-14, 4-11-1) made people doubt the “Next McVay” strategy, but he made good on the offensive talent he had in 2021, reaching to the playoffs. .

His in-game decision-making has improved, and at various points in 2021, the Bengals looked like the best team in the AFC. We’ll see what Taylor has in store in the playoffs and beyond.

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Matt LaFleur, Packers


There is a kind of shared custody with LaFleur, as he also sits under Shanahan’s training tree. LaFleur and McVay worked together in Washington in the early 2010s with Mike Shanahan, then reunited in Los Angeles in 2017 when LaFleur operated as McVay’s OC for a season.

The Packers head coach is off to an absolutely blazing start to his head coaching career, with three straight 13-win seasons in Green Bay and NFC North division crowns to match. Aaron Rodgers or not, that’s pretty impressive stuff.

LaFleur’s first two forays into the playoffs ended with questionable decisions in the NFC Championship Game. We’ll see if the LaFleur-Rodgers tandem can go 3-for-3 in NFC Championship Game appearances while the pair have been together, and maybe actually win one this time.

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Brandon Staley, Chargers


Staley inherited an add-water-only playoff team in 2021: The water was added, but not the playoff team.

Staley has already developed a reputation as a hyper-analytical thinker, with questionable decisions that doomed the Chargers at various points in 2021. What helps Staley’s case, however, is that Justin Herbert continued to build on an exceptional start to his career with a stupid good sophomore season.

You can chalk up a lot of game management stuff to rookie coach growing pains, but 2022 will have to show noticeable improvement in game feel for Staley and company.

Jedd Fisch, Arizona (NCAA)


Fisch was a coach who had traveled extensively on both sides of the ball, coming to McVay’s staff in 2018 as an offensive assistant before being promoted to OC assistant in 2019. He moved to New England in 2020 before landing the coaching job at boss at the university. of Arizona in 2021.