Where do Sean McVay and Raheem Morris rank among NFL’s best play callers?

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Part of what makes Sean McVay such a great coach is his play calling. He’s one of the best in the NFL when it comes to play design and creating big plays, which is why the Rams have ranked among the league’s best offenses during his five-year tenure as head coach.

Raheem Morris took over the defense last season and while there were some rough patches in the middle of the year, no defense was playing better than the Rams’ during the playoffs – and Morris was a big reason for that.

Where do each of those coaches rank in terms of play calling? Pro Football Focus separated offensive and defensive play callers, ranking the top six on each side.

McVay was ranked fifth on offense, and Morris was tabbed as the fourth-best defensive play caller. Andy Reid, Kellen Moore, Byron Leftwich and Kyle Shanahan were the four coaches ranked ahead of McVay.

McVay runs the ball too much on early downs, which almost cost him a Super Bowl, and is dreadful at fourth-down decisions and timeout usage. He’s a dynamite play caller, though, and much like with Shanahan, linebackers simply do not feel comfortable flowing against the Rams’ offense, which makes life easier for that unit:

That’s a perfectly fair take on McVay’s play calling. He really does have some head-scratching moments, at times abandoning the running game for the passing attack despite the Rams moving it on the ground successfully. But he also makes some incredible calls, like the jet sweep to Cooper Kupp on fourth down in the Super Bowl.

Only Leslie Frazier, Dan Quinn and Dennis Allen were ranked ahead of Morris on defense.

Morris, who took over for wunderkind Brandon Staley in Los Angeles, one-upped his predecessor not only in outcomes, helping the Rams win the franchise’s second-ever Super Bowl, but in dialing all of the sharp nobs on defense. The Rams were far and away the best team in terms of disguising coverages and playing light boxes in 2021 (on admissible down and distances), and as a result, they were able to neutralize some of the league’s best offenses when it counted. 

There were a few other former Rams who made each list, too. Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry, formerly the Rams’ linebackers coach, was ranked sixth on defense. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was also sixth on offense; he spent one year on McVay’s staff.