Washington Redskins fans frolicked through last year’s offseason completely hypnotized by a cloud of blissful delusion as they hungrily anticipated the NFL’s season premiere of Monday Night Football and their publicized showdown with NFC East rival the Philadelphia Eagles.
At the time you could hardly flag the fans for their heightened state of excessive ecstasy. It wasn’t misplaced — at that time. After all, the club was riding the wake of gridiron glory. The likes of which they hadn’t tasted in better than a decade. Fueled by freshman signal caller Robert Griffin III, Washington wielded a frightening and unpredictable offensive assault that boasted the NFL’s top-ranked rushing game the previous season and the fourth highest scoring detachment in the league.
By the end of the first quarter against Philadelphia, the Redskins was about ready to pack up, eat crow, take the walk of shame and sing “Na Na Hey Hey” with Gatorade towels draped over their faces. They’d been schooled by Nick Foles and a top-flight Eagles offense on ESPN and things weren’t about to get better. It would be a long night for Washington’s offense.
The season was going to be even longer. The club labored its way through an agonizing and embarrassing 2013 season, while trying with microscopic success to apply a defibrillator to an incompetent offensive unit that ranked third on the ground, 17th through the air, 23rd overall and whose pass protection yielded a grand total of two and a half seconds before sophomore signal caller Griffin III was inevitably buried by a blitzkrieg of surging and ravenous defensive fronts.
After the hourglass of the 2013 season had expired, it didn’t take Washington’s head coach Mike Shanahan and his offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan very long to find the door. They were just leaving, anyway. And they’ll tell you as much. So commenced team owner Daniel Snyder’s nearly annual personnel turnover. And it didn’t take Snyder very long to locate and anoint his next head coaching victim. It never does. The kid files through head coaching prospects about as frequently as Lana Turner recycles marriage partners. Former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden ought to do it. And with the enlistment of untested head coach Gruden came the promotion of the teams next offensive coordinator Sean McVay.
We saw the impression Washington’s offense made on the league last year. So what in the world should Redskins fans anticipate from the club’s offense this season? With the installation of yet another head coach, offensive playbook and administrative system at Redskins Park, fans can all but bank on growing pains and as players and coaches collectively reload, adjust the sites of the club’s offensive long nines and engage.
McVay has displayed an extraordinary mastery for a positions coach of not only knowing Washington’s offense, but knowing what everyone must do and their adjustments and reads. “He had the highest understanding of an offense of any position coach I’ve ever been around,” said Chris Cooley, former Redskins tight end, who played one and a half seasons under McVay prior to his retirement from gridiron action.
McVay’s presence on Washington’s coaching staff should not be disregarded. He has been earnestly courted by paramount head coaches in the AFC.
Reputable ESPN Monday Night Football Analyst and former NFL head coach Jon Gruden didn’t balk when asked about McVay’s coaching proficiency and offensive intellect. “Sean’s going to be a star. There’s no question…” Gruden gushed. “He’s got an incredible personality and passion for the game. Plus he’s intelligent and has a powerful work ethic.” It would seem that McVay is the real deal.
Washington’s new offensive coordinator spent three seasons as tight ends coach with Shanahan prior to his promotion. The club’s tight ends exploded in 2011, enjoying career years and Pro Bowl appearances. In 2013 their productivity was more of the same as rookie Jordan Reed set franchise records for a rookie tight end.
What should Washington’s fan base expect from the offense in 2014? The team got a steal when it re-anchored McVay on the coaching staff — this time as OC. Expect the sleeping offensive wizard to electrocute rival defenses in due time.