Redskins to retain QB coach Kevin O’Connell in a new role for 2018 season
The Washington Redskins seemed likely to lose Kevin O’Connell to a better job offer this offseason. Instead, he elected to stay the course with the team.
One of the more surprising announcements of the young 2018 offseason came on Tuesday afternoon. Many expected that quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell was as good as gone heading into the 2018 offseason. After a very solid first year with the Redskins that saw Kirk Cousins make some strides in becoming a better passer outside the pocket, it was rumored that Chip Kelly wanted O’Connell to join him at UCLA and be his offensive coordinator. On paper, that looked like a promotion and it was expected that he would take that offer.
However, that didn’t end up being the case. Per the Redskins official Twitter, Jay Gruden confirmed that O’Connell would be staying on with the team in 2018. Gruden also said that O’Connell would become the team’s passing game coordinator, which is definitely a promotion.
As the passing game coordinator, O’Connell will likely help develop strategic game plans for the passing offense in each contest for the 2018 season. He will help Gruden and current offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh to devise an effective game plan, and if the work he did with Cousins this year is any indication, that could help the team. O’Connell is a bright, young offensive mind, so giving him an expanded role should work.
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Also, it’s worth noting that this promotion will take a little bit off both Gruden and Cavanaugh’s plate. This will be beneficial to both, as Gruden can focus more on managing the game as a whole while Cavanaugh will have another voice in his ear to help call an effective offense. This was an important thing to get done this offseason, as the team never really properly replaced Sean McVay.
The biggest loser in the O’Connell sweepstakes is obviously Kelly. It’s a bad sign that his top coordinator choice didn’t want to take a promotion, but that may not be a reflection on Kelly’s abilities. More likely than not, O’Connell wants to stay at the NFL level and he doesn’t want to change jobs for the fourth time in as many years. So, while Kelly lost, it’s clearly not an indictment of him.
Next: What to watch for in Redskins offseason
It should be interesting to see how O’Connell fairs in 2018. If he does well with more responsibility, he should be a hot name for an offensive coordinator job in the future. No matter what, retaining him was a solid move by the Redskins, and they deserve praise for the choice.