Brian Golden

Brian Golden

Another day, another McVay.

They hope, anyway.

The trend of hiring youthful head coaches in the National Football League, begun when the Rams hired Sean McVay at age 30 two years ago Saturday, is accelerating, if anything.

Matt Nagy was hired at age 39 by the Chicago Bears, and all he did was lead the Monsters back to the Midway with a 12-4 record and likely NFL Coach of the Year honors.

On Monday the Green Bay Packers hired Matt LaFleur, a former Rams assistant and very close personal friend of McVay.

And Tuesday, the Arizona Cardinals bought Kliff Kingsbury out of his USC Offensive Coordinator contract with the ink still wet in some spots and made him their head coach at age 39.

The branches and roots of the McVay coaching tree are spreading far and fast.

“I’m too young to have a coaching tree,” insisted McVay, who turns 33 on Jan. 24.

Maybe.

But he’s not too young to lead the Rams to a 24-9 record, a pair of NFC West Division titles and their first home NFC Divisional Playoff date at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 40 years.

Saturday evening’s matchup with the Dallas Cowboys is the reason so many people have embraced the McVay Effect.

The second-year head coach has seen his star running back and former NFL MVP candidate, Todd Gurley II, disappear since the bye week following the electrifying 54-51 defeat of the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 18.

Gurley finished third in the NFL with 1,251 yards rushing.

But only 76 of those came in the final four weeks, two of which Gurley sat out with inflammation in his knee.

The Rams have had two weeks to nurse Gurley’s knee back to good health, to recalibrate Jared Goff’s throwing mechanics and re-set a defense that was back playing in the last four weeks the way it did in the season’s first four weeks.

“The guys are excited,” the Rams coach said. “There’s a different buzz this year. I think it just comes from the coaches and players knowing each other better with another year together.

“We understand better how to put our players in the best position for them to have their maximum performance.”

Gurley participated in the morning walk-throughs Tuesday at the Rams’ California Lutheran University headquarters, and had a limited role in the afternoon’s on-field practice.

If the first rough patch of the McVay Era proved anything, it is that the running game is vital to the success of the overall Rams offense.

Without the threat of Gurley in play/action, defenses teed off on Rams quarterback Jared Goff, who committed seven turnovers under pressure. 

“I think Jared, like all our players, did a better job of learning from his experiences, good and bad,” said McVay. “He had much better command of things in our last two games that we won. I think he’s going to carry that over into our playoff game against Dallas.”

The entire NFL, more and more known as the Sean McVay Coaching Arboretum, will be watching.

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