ATLANTA -- Sean McVay will become the youngest head coach ever to lead his team to a Super Bowl on Sunday, and for many Redskins fans, it comes with a bitter taste.
McVay served as Washington head coach Jay Gruden's offensive coordinator for two seasons before departing to take the Los Angeles Rams head job in 2017. Some wonder if the Redskins would have been better served to keep McVay over Gruden, even though that situation at the time was entirely implausible.
McVay has long talked about what working for Gruden meant, and on Monday at Super Bowl Opening Night, the Rams wunderkind expanded.
"Jay is as big a reason as anybody why I even had the opportunities," McVay said. "Nobody else would have given me a chance to be an offensive coordinator."
Gruden named McVay his offensive coordinator before he even turned 30. That was absolutely unheard of, and it proved to be a great move.
"The confidence that he instilled in me, the ability to be able to learn and grow as a coach under his leadership and guidance, I couldn’t be more thankful for Jay Gruden," McVay said. "He’s special to me. He’s a great football coach and there’s no chance I would be in this opportunity if it wasn’t for him."
Despite McVay's public support, Gruden has plenty of detractors in Washington. Some of it comes from the lack of playoff success, and others will point to a soft approach with players.
Listen to McVay, or other former Redskins assistant coaches now with the Rams like Aubrey Pleasant or Joe Barry, and everyone speaks highly of Gruden. The Redskins have not broken through to success anything close to the Rams, but injuries have been a big factor. Over five years with Gruden at the helm, there have been plenty of coaching questions too though.
The national perception of Gruden has never matched the local perception of the Redskins head coach in D.C.
And that's never been more clear than what Sean McVay thinks of his old boss.
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