The Washington Redskins promoted Kevin O’Connell to offensive coordinator on Tuesday. This is a good move for the squad and they seem to have handled the situation properly.
So far this offseason, the Redskins search for new coaching assistants was seemingly awkward and rough. However, on Tuesday they made a move that should both benefit their offense while avoiding creating awkward tensions in the coaching staff.
The Redskins elected to promote their pass game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell to offensive coordinator. O’Connell will replace Matt Cavanaugh in that role, but Cavanaugh will remain with the team as a senior offensive assistant. This seems like a good move for all involved on that side of the ball.
O’Connell is a bright, young offensive mind who the Redskins are very fond of. Last year, they gave him the “pass game coordinator” title in addition to his QB coach title. Now, they’re giving him a promotion for a second straight offseason.
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O’Connell was a former NFL quarterback and a third-round pick by the New England Patriots out of San Diego State. While O’Connell never found success as a passer, he spent time with the Browns, 49ers, and ‘Skins and helped to establish himself as a good, young offensive mind. At just 33 years old, the sky is the limit for O’Connell, and it’s well within the realm of possibility that he could be the next young gun to become a head coach at the NFL level.
The promotion of O’Connell was tipped off by the fact that the Redskins reportedly interviewed Ken Zampese for their quarterbacks coach position. This didn’t guarantee that O’Connell was staying with the team, but given the team’s praise for him, it seemed probable that he would remain in Washington with an increased role. And that’s exactly what happened.
Meanwhile, retaining Cavanaugh was a fine move as well. Cavanaugh has a lot of experience as a quarterbacks coach and he didn’t really do a lot as the offensive coordinator. Jay Gruden ran the show after Cavanaugh’s promotion, but the fact is that Cavanaugh was an NFL quarterback and was the OC for the Ravens when they won the 2000 Super Bowl. Having him on board will give the team an extra resource and a mentor for O’Connell who can assist him in his first season in the expanded role.
Overall, this seems like a smart move. It will be interesting to see if O’Connell gets a chance to call plays or if Gruden will hold onto that. Either way, it’s a good sign that the Redskins didn’t let another team swoop in and scoop up their promising coach.