How Will Sean McVay's Coaching Tree Fare in 2019?

The NFL's newest coaching tree could have a big impact this season
Sosa Kremenjas
Fri, August 23, 8:05 AM EDT

Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay has become a sensation within a league where innovation isn’t typically in the forefront. As the youngest head coach ever, the youngest division winner ever, and the youngest to ever lead their team to a Super Bowl game, McVay’s legend continues to rapidly grow, and deservedly so. McVay has opened doors for many of the coaches on his staff, with both Matt LaFleur and Zac Taylor landing head coaching gigs, as well as having multiple other coaches interview for promotions and head coaching gigs.

Zac Taylor was appointed the head coaching job with the Cincinnati Bengals after serving as Mcvay’s Assistant Wide Receivers Coach in 2017 and Quarterbacks Coach in 2018. The Bengals finally made the decision to move on from long-time head-man Marvin Lewis. After appointing Taylor, the Bengals are hoping for a fresh resurgence of offensive firepower and a strengthened voice in the locker room.

Taking a look at the roster that Taylor has to work with doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. The Bengals do have talent, though the offensive line is going to be a major weak point with rookie left tackle Jonah Williams already lost to a season-ending injury. The injuries didn’t stop there as current left tackle Cordy Glenn is going through some minor aches and pains. Unfortunately for the Bengals, starting right tackle Bobby Hart is one of the worst offensive linemen in the league. Star wide receiver A.J. Green is also going to miss time during the regular season due to an ankle injury which recently required surgery. The stable offensive players are running back Joe Mixon and slot receiver Tyler Boyd, though it simply isn’t enough to overcome the shortcomings of the offensive line, average-at-best quarterback Andy Dalton, and the current injury woes.

Taking a look at the defensive side of the ball, the Bengals actually have a ton of talent. With a solid foundation of guys like Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Carl Lawson, Jessie Bates III, and William Jackson III, the team certainly has enough talent to compete on that side of the ball.

Unfortunately for Taylor, my guess is his debut season as a head coach is going to be a rough one. The Bengals might be the worst team in the AFC North, though the goal for them at this point should be to transition in a new direction at quarterback in 2020 after a rough season in 2019.

Prediction: 5-11

Matt LaFleur was McVay’s Offensive Coordinator in 2017 – only in title as LaFleur didn’t actually call plays –, the Tennessee Titans’ Offensive Coordinator in 2018, and now the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. LaFleur comes from the Shanahan coaching tree as he spent time with the Washington Redskins from 2010-2013. Like the Bengals, the Packers fired long-time coach Mike McCarthy, choosing to go the “younger” route with massive offensive potential in LaFleur.

Looking at LaFleur’s roster, it’s much more complete than Taylor’s, and it all begins with superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is simply one of the best to ever play, giving any head coach a major advantage when it comes to succeeding. The Packers’ offensive line is headlined by elite left tackle David Bakhtiari. Weapons Davante Adams, Jimmy Graham, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are the top three receiving options, with Aaron Jones – who’s in prime position for a massive breakout season – as the lead running back.

The defense had a massive infusion of talent stemming from this offseason with additions Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Darnell Savage Jr, Rashan Gary, and Adrian Amos. The Smith’s and Gary are going to impact the pass-rushing unit in a major manner, joining budding superstar Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry in the defensive line unit. The secondary has the potential to be one of the best in the league with Jaire Alexander – on pace to be one of the best cornerbacks in football –, Kevin King, Amos, and Savage Jr holding down the fort.

The Packers are a well-built and talented roster with the coaching staff to pair for immediate success.

Prediction: 11-5

Looking ahead to 2020, the McVay coaching tree is likely to continue expanding with current Pass Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach Shane Waldron and Cornerbacks Coach Aubrey Pleasant at the forefront of potential future head coaches.

 

By Sosa Kremenjas

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