Zac Taylor isn’t the only assistant coach the Bengals are trying to bring over from the Rams. Taylor’s colleague Shane Waldron was also requested to interview for the Bengals’ vacancy at head coach, and for good reason in his own right.
What does Waldron have to offer to Cincinnati? Let’s take a look at his resume and what he would bring to the Bengals.
Waldron worked for the Patriots and coached under Charlie Weis at Notre Dame before attaching himself to the budding Sean McVay coaching tree. McVay’s turst in him grew quickly as he advanced from quality control to tight ends coach to pass game coordinator in the course of three seasons. But can he duplicate the Rams’ success on his own?
- 2002-2003: New England Patriots (operations intern)
- 2004-2005: New England Patriots (operations assistant)
- 2005-2007: Notre Dame (graduate assistant)
- 2008: Notre Dame (offensive coaching assistant)
- 2009: Notre Dame (TE Coach)
- 2010: Hartford Colonials (WR Coach)
- 2012-2013: U Mass (TE Coach)
- 2014-2015: U Mass (OL Coach)
- 2016: Washington Redskins (Offensive Quality Control)
- 2017: Los Angeles Rams (TE Coach)
- 2018-present: Los Angeles Rams (Pass Game Coordinator/TE Coach)
Why he could work
Waldron came up in coaching through the Patriots system and Charlie Weis thought enough of him to bring him along when he took the head coaching job at Notre Dame.
After coaching for a number of years in college, high school, and a developmental league he returned to the NFL as offensive quality control for Sean McVay’s Redskins offense. Once attaching himself to McVay, he rose quickly becoming the tight ends coach for the Rams and then their passing game coordinator.
Waldron is a young coach who has been part of an exciting offense that utilized its talent well. He has experience coaching the offensive line, tight ends, and wide receivers. Waldron was a part of turning the Rams into a success overnight and may be able to do the same with the Bengals.
Why he may not be the guy
While Waldron is the passing game coordinator, he does not call the plays or coach the quarterback. This is particularly important in the Rams system, where McVay talks to the quarterback and makes adjustments until the radio in the quarterback’s helmet cuts out at 15 seconds. This should cause concern for a team that is looking for a head coach who can get their offense going and may be looking to draft a quarterback in the near future.
Patriots assistants have been targeted as head coaches for years, but have not generally fared well. This may be because the genius that is Belichick does not delegate important responsibilities or allow his staff to develop beyond their role with the Patriots.
McVay has now been touted as the next great genius head coach. It is not yet known how his assistants will fare, but you have to wonder how much his assistant coaches contribute, particularly offense coaches. Waldron was promoted after Matt LaFleur left to take the Titans offensive coordinator job. LaFleur’s offense in Tennessee has failed to live up to expectations, albeit after just one season.
The Eagles are another team with a head coach who is running the offense and their assistant had mixed results when they went out on their own. Last year after the Eagles offense had an impressive season their offensive coordinator Frank Reich went off to great success as the head coach of the Colts, while their quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo failed to make it through the season as the play caller for the Vikings.
Waldron is an exciting young offensive mind who has links to both Bill Belichick and Sean McVay. It is worth talking to him and seeing what his role within the Rams offense and if he has what it takes to duplicate their success on his own. It will also be important to find out who he plans to bring in as assistants particularly at defensive coordinator. Waldron has no experience on that side of the ball and would be well served to take a page from McVay’s book and hire an experienced and successful coordinator.