When Bengals coach Marvin Lewis hired Jay Gruden in 2011 as offensive coordinator, one of the first things Gruden tried to do was hire McVay away from Washington, where he had just turned 25 and was an offensive assistant, and make that receivers coach.
But Washington didn’t give him permission to go to the Bengals and made McVay the tight ends coach while Gruden went with James Urban. Gruden knew McVay from his days with the Buccaneers and took him to the UFL.
“It worked out well for everybody because James was great,” said Gruden, now a Rams consultant, of current quarterbacks coach Lamar Jackson in Baltimore.
“And if Washington had let (McVay) go, the story would have remained the same. I would have hired him at Washington when I became the coach (2014), made him the youngest offensive coordinator ever, and he would leave a few years later. and win a Super Bowl.”
Which, of course, is what happened. It seems like Gruden knew what he had in McVay and McVay knew what he had in Taylor.
On Wednesday, it was all business.
McVay, who appreciates a leader when he sees one, made sure he talked to Bengals free safety Jessie Bates III walking off the field. Since Bates signed his franchise tender on Tuesday, he isn’t practicing yet, and McVay wanted to let him know how well he thought he was handling his contract situation.
“He gave me some love,” Bates said. “He said he studied me before our game and he has a lot of respect for the way I play the game and the type of player I am.”
Once you ask McVay a question, it’s a lot like listening to Taylor.
“Every year is a new year,” McVay said after the cheers. “I feel good about the leadership of the players we have.”
That’s how Wednesday went. It was all quite professional and business-like.
On the other end of the Bengals defensive streak, cornerback Chidobe Awuzie dropped a deep pass to the man who killed the Bengals on the final drive and now stares from the cover of the 2022 NFL Records and Fact Book as the Super Bowl MVP.
Cooper Kupp said something like, “Sweet, Chido” or something like that after the show. They have the same agent and were training partners before the draft, so they know each other. And Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford knows Awuzie after he picked him in the Super Bowl.
“We see it every day. We have a few guys like that ourselves,” Awuzie said. “It’s a great measuring stick. (Kupp) came back (to the mound) and said he tried to show his hands late, but he didn’t get me. Ja’Marr (Chase) does really well at that, so he didn’t understood.”