When the Redskins announced Tim Rattay as their new quarterbacks coach last weekend, a brief glimpse at his bio revealed a lack of any NFL coaching experience.
Rattay played in the league for seven seasons, mostly for the 49ers but he also had stints with the Buccaneers, Titans and Cardinals. There isn't a question that Rattay knows what it takes to play quarterback in the NFL, but some fans wonder if he has the ability to convey that knowledge to a potential incoming draft pick.
He has been a QBs coach for the last three seasons, but not in the pros. Rattay has been working at Louisiana Tech, his alma mater, and a member of Conference USA. It's a far cry from the Power Five conferences that dominate college football, but he has been a key cog in the development of Ryan Higgins and Jeff Driskel, a member of the Bengals.
Let's be honest though: Rattay has never served on an NFL coaching staff. That stands out, especially for a team that will probably be adding a rookie quarterback.
Reports showed that the Redskins interviewed other candidates for the QB coach role, including Ken Zampese, a guy that has worked in the NFL for the better part of 20 years. If the team wanted to hire a guy with experience, they could have.
Jay Gruden added Rattay to his roster, and the head coach has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to young offensive assistants. Ask Sean McVay, who gives Gruden tremendous credit for his development. Or ask Kevin O'Connell, who moved up fast on the Redskins coaching staff from the QB coach role, then to pass game coordinator, and now to offensive coordinator.
Gruden knows Rattay too. In 2006, Gruden was an offensive assistant in Tampa when his brother Jon was head coach. Rattay was a quarterback on that team.
Don't forget about Matt Cavanaugh either.
The Redskins offensive coordinator the last two seasons, Cavanaugh moved out of the way to allow O'Connell's promotion. His new title may read as senior offensive assistant, but expect Cavanaugh to have a large role with the quarterbacks, working alongside Rattay.
Drafted by New England in 1978, Cavanaugh played quarterback in the NFL for more than a decade, winning Super Bowls with the 49ers and Giants.
Cavanaugh has been coaching in the NFL since 1994, and has served as quarterbacks coach with Arizona, Pittsburgh, the New York Jets and Chicago. He also served in that role with the Redskins in 2015 and 2016 before McVay left to be head coach of the Rams and Cavanaugh took over as offensive coordinator.
Few expect Alex Smith to return this season from a compound fracture in his leg suffered last November, and it almost seems like the Redskins must select a quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft. Colt McCoy is under contract and will be the incumbent going into camp. McCoy knows the offense and is a team leader, but has dealt with his own injury issues too.
The Redskins will have new QBs in their Ashburn headquarters. It's almost a given. And while there will also be a green quarterbacks coach in Rattay, plenty of experience will be available between Gruden and Cavanaugh.
One last thing to think about: Assuming Smith can't play, he could still be a valuable asset in meeting rooms. Patrick Mahomes backed up Smith in Kansas City in 2017, and both Mahomes and Chiefs head coach Andy Reid gave Smith a ton of credit for his role in helping the younger player develop. Based on Smith's character, the Redskins could probably expect the same.
Rattay does not have NFL coaching experience. That's obvious.
That doesn't mean, however, that the Washington QB room won't have plenty of knowledge to help a rookie develop.
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