Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

49ers vs. Rams: Sean McVay says he is ‘forever indebted’ to Kyle Shanahan

Oct 17, 2018 at 2:48 PM--

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay jumped on a conference call with Bay Area media on Wednesday afternoon to discuss his team's upcoming game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. He spent three seasons with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan during their time in Washington.

Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Washington when McVay served as his tight ends coach. McVay took over as the offensive coordinator when Shanahan, along with his father Mike Shanahan, was fired after the 2013 season.

The two head coaches remain close. They were each hired to their current roles last offseason, which created an opportunity to revive the rivalry between the 49ers and Rams. Both are considered to be among the best play callers in the game, and the two teams split their series against each other last year.

The two head coaches share similar philosophies when it comes to running an NFL offense. Shanahan shared on Wednesday how that philosophy developed in Washington.

"Really enjoyed working with him," Shanahan said of McVay. "He's a good coach and a real good friend. We got to put a lot of that stuff in together. Just like you do everywhere and everyone you work with, you're always a product of your environment. You carry things over, you change a few things. We've both gone some different directions over the last few years, but when you do turn on the tape, it's very similar."

McVay had the following to say about his experience learning from Shanahan.

"I wouldn't really say it was give and take," McVay said on the conference call. "I would say it was more me taking information from him and him a lot of giving. I think, more than anything, just being committed to an identity. The way he prepared was so impressive, the way that he saw the game.

"I think his ability to make things look the same, to attack defensive structures and rules, and manipulate some of their things, he's a great coach. I've learned so much from him in terms of just being committed to an identity, so your players know what they stand for but then also having enough variation that you've got some unpredictability to what you're trying to get done. How to create some explosive plays through the pass game that doesn't totally put a lot of stress on your guys up front with regards to the play actions, the movements with the change at launch points.

"I think just watching the way that he approached and attacked his role as a coordinator and the meticulous preparation. You just kind of observe that and I learned so much football both offensively and defensively from him, and I'm forever indebted for that."

McVay probably doesn't feel indebted enough to ease on the gas when the 49ers and Rams play each other on Sunday afternoon. Undefeated Los Angeles currently owns the top-ranked offense in total yards, the league's best rushing attack, and ranks No. 3 in points scored.

Meanwhile, the 49ers seek their second win of the season. The Rams are currently listed as 10.5-point favorites.

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