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Sean McVay fan club still exists among Redskins

From ESPN - September 13, 2017

ASHBURN, Virginia -- Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden spotted it when Sean McVay was barely old enough to drink. That's why he hired him in the UFL. And it's why Gruden tried to hire him away from the Redskins when he landed in Cincinnati.

The Redskins saw it, too. It's why they denied Gruden's request.

The players? They were not surprised, either. McVay spent seven seasons in Washington, working his way up from a 23-year-old assistant tight ends coach to tight ends coach to offensive coordinator. Now the coach of the Los Angeles Rams, McVay's offense scored 30 of the team's 46 points in a win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

"He's like a mad scientist," Redskins tight end Niles Paul said. "He's a genius, man. He's like a football genius."

It certainly would not be a good look for the Redskins to lose to McVay's Rams, especially if quarterback Jared Goff plays another good game and Kirk Cousins struggles for Washington. It's not as if there's pressure on Gruden, who has three more years on his contract.

And it's not as if the Redskins' struggles are directly related to losing McVay. They also lost receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Some of the same questions that arose after Sunday's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles existed under McVay, from play-calling to the lack of a run game. The Redskins' offense struggled at times last December as well, scoring a combined 25 points in home losses to the Carolina Panthers and the New York Giants.

That said, the Redskins were long aware of McVay's football acumen.

"He is organized and detailed," Gruden said.

Those were two reasons why he let McVay call plays the past three seasons. Gruden said he married the Redskins' existing system with his own but, because he'd sometimes uses Bengals terminology, he opted to let McVay call plays instead.

"It was a steady, good flow that he had about him," Gruden said. "I did not have to step in a whole lot. I did from time to time, but he is a good playcaller. We just kind of let him roll with it."

Gruden and McVay both relate well to the players: Gruden is comfortable operating a little more off-schedule, like the former quarterback he was in college. He will admit to going with a play based more on instinct. McVay, numerous people have said, was more about the details. Not that both coaches do not have the other skill; each has their strengths. Both are personable, perhaps one reason they have remained close. Gruden said they talk every week or so. He called McVay to congratulate him Sunday.

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