Cardinals to play McVay, Phillips twice a year after Rams’ new hires
Jan 14, 2017, 8:00 AM | Updated: 8:27 am
The Los Angeles Rams made quite a splash with their coaching staff on Thursday, hiring Sean McVay as head coach and Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator.
McVay, 30, is the youngest head coach in NFL history. The former receiver for Miami University of Ohio worked for the Washington Redskins as an offensive assistant, tight ends coach and offensive coordinator between 2010 and 2016.
His work proved especially transformative in the 2016 season. The Redskins posted one of the best offenses in the league, ranking 12th in points with 24.8 per game and third in yards with 403.4. Washington also had the second-best passing offense.
In 2015, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins led the league in completion percentage at 69.8.
The Cardinals played the Redskins twice during McVay’s time at the helm of the offense, emerging with two home wins on Oct. 12, 2014 and Dec. 4, 2016. Now they will see McVay’s offense twice every season.
McVay’s ability to construct a passing game may prove to be a boon to former first overall pick Jared Goff. The California product struggled in his first NFL season, starting in seven games and posting a 54.6 percent completion percentage with five touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Rams went 4-12 in their first year back in Los Angeles, and 0-7 with Goff as the starting quarterback.
Joining McVay is one of the most seasoned coaching veterans in the NFL. Wade Phillips, 69, is set to join a handful of men to coach into their 70’s, including Titans assistant Dick LeBeau and Cardinals offensive assistant Tom Pratt. He began his NFL coaching career in 1976 with the Houston Oilers. Since then, he’s been employed by nine other franchises in various capacities over the last 40 years.
Over the last two seasons, Phillips served as the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos. Under his leadership, the Broncos had the best overall defense and best passing defense in 2015.
Their ability to shut down opposing passing games helped Denver win Super Bowl XL and earned Phillips Assistant Coach of the Year. Denver repeated as the NFL’s best pass defense in 2016, but finished fourth overall.
Together, McVay and Phillips may be able to revive a Rams franchise that has not posted an above-.500 record since 2003. Since 2010, the Rams have not finished higher than third in the NFC West, with the 49ers, Seahawks and Cardinals all rising at various times to keep them down.
With a young coach who has shown proficiency in designing an offense and a longtime mastermind covering the defensive side, the Rams staff may make the NFC West a litter tougher for the other three teams.