Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron gets to face his former team and head coaching mentor Sean McVay for the first time on Thursday night as the Los Angeles Rams come to town for a key NFC West matchup.
Waldron left Los Angeles to become Seattle’s offensive coordinator this offseason after the Seahawks elected to part ways with prior coordinator Brain Schottenheimer. Waldron followed McVay to the Rams from Washington in 2017 and worked his way up into the team’s passing game coordinator.
The first chance to face McVay and the Rams serves as a big moment for Waldron this week.
“There’s a lot of, to state the obvious,” Waldron said of the matchup. “Great relationships I have with people out in L.A. But as far as the game goes, I think there’s two separate worlds I’m living in right now. It’s a football week for me. I’m excited to be in a Thursday night game, a Thursday night setting, divisional game. Just like last week, it was an important game. No difference this week as we approach this one coming up quick.
Waldron and McVay spent five years coaching together in total between Washington and the Rams before he left for Seattle this offseason. Waldron holds his former boss in high regard and says they remain close despite his departure.
“It’s a great friendship,” Waldron said. “He’s meant so much to my coaching career. He’s helped me tremendously, really helped me get to this position where I’m at now. I have a ton of appreciation for him. There’s that part of it where we are such great friends and I have so much respect for him and what he’s done for me personally, but then there’s also that competitive part where that friendship also leaves and that competitive nature when you’re going against each other. I’m sure I’ll talk to him plenty throughout the course of the year like we’ve done in the offseason or earlier in this season, but this week is not about that. It’s about the teams competing and the players that are going out there to play.”
The Rams are coming off their first loss of the season to Arizona on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Seahawks got a key victory against the San Francisco 49ers to avoid a 1-3 start with the Rams set to follow on a short week. The Rams have given Seattle fits over the last decade with Aaron Donald being a constant harasser of quarterback Russell Wilson. While the Rams’ defense has changed slightly under Raheem Morris compared to previous coordinator and now Chargers head coach Brandon Staley, Waldron knows what that group is capable of and the challenge they present.
“You see a lot of good carry over,” Waldron said. “It was an effective defense, obviously, last year. They did a heck of a job. Really transitioned into this season. I’ve seen a lot of similarities, a lot of carry over. Similarities doesn’t mean easy because they do a great job of blurring the defense and disguising a lot of looks, and they continue to do so.