On Thursday, the LA Rams saw defensive coordinator Raheem Morris get hired as the next head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. While losing Morris will hurt the Rams in the short-term, it’s hard not to see the Sean McVay effect at work with this coaching cycle. For real, did anyone expect eight-time Super Bowl champ coaching free agent Bill Belichick get passed over?
Hard to see Bill Belichick getting a job during this hiring cycle at this point. The trend has been towards younger coaches. Outside of Jim Harbaugh, the average age of Pierce, Mayo, Callahan, Morris and Canales is 42. #NFL— Bill Lekas (@BillLekas) January 25, 2024
Belichick’s final three seasons in New England and his personnel blunders over the years no doubt hurt him this hiring cycle. Yet, the fact is that the NFL is overlooking these coaching dinosaurs in pursuit of the next McVay. That has undoubtedly been the case since the Rams coach was hired in 2017.
Organizations are more willing to take a chance on younger coaches based on the success McVay had immediately in Los Angeles. Case in point the Panthers surprisingly hiring former Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dave Canales on Thursday. Canales was a first-time OC during his one-year stint in Tampa Bay. However, his work in getting career years out of Russell Wilson, Geno Smith and Baker Mayfield is likely what landed him the job.
Dave Canales as QB Coach / Passing Coordinator / OC:— Dynasty Zoltan (Mike Garai) (@DynastyZoltanFF) January 25, 2024
Russell Wilson, 2018-21: 20/31, 240 yards, 2 TD, 0.5 INT
Geno Smith, 2022: 23/34, 252 yards, 1.8 TD, 0.6 INT
Baker Mayfield, 2023: 22/34, 249 yards, 1.8 TD, 0.6 INT
Career bests for all three
Bryce Young pic.twitter.com/WnEHxs5Byb
A decade ago most first-time coordinators would’ve never been given a chance at a head coaching position. Anyone considering them would’ve been laughed out right of team headquarters en route to the unemployment line. Now, young coaches are quickly becoming a staple in today’s NFL, again thanks in part to McVay.
McVay has only coached in the league seven years and already has an impressive coaching tree.
Sean McVay has coached the Rams for 7 seasons. FIVE of his former assistants have been named @NFL head coaches:— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) January 25, 2024
Brandon Staley and Joe Barry are obviously nothing to brag about but each of those branches have found some amount of success. Excluding Morris, here is everything McVay’s tree has accomplished from a head coaching standpoint:
145-117-1 combined regular season and postseason record
Six division titles
Seven postseason trips
One Super Bowl appearance
Staley didn’t work out with the Chargers and O’Connell is coming off a injury-riddled losing campaign. Either way, the McVay coaching tree has proven to be a reasonable success. The Sean McVay effect will remain alive and well in NFL hiring practices for years to come. For better or worse, the league has a youth movement on its hands.
Similar to when the Rams took a flyer on McVay, teams across the sport have no choice but to embrace the movement or risk getting left behind.