Two years ago, the Redskins lost their young offensive coordinator to the Rams. They are pivoting back in that direction. Washington promoted quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell to OC on Tuesday.
Two-year OC Matt Cavanaugh will remain with the franchise, being set to shift to a senior offensive assistant role.
Cavanaugh took over for Sean McVay after he took the Rams’ HC job. Now, the 33-year-old O’Connell will be one of the Redskins’ top assistants and continue his climb through the coaching ranks. The former quarterback began his coaching career in 2015, overseeing the Browns’ QBs, and will become a first-time OC. Jay Gruden added “passing game coordinator” to O’Connell’s title in 2018.
It is not yet known if O’Connell will call plays for the Redskins next season, but John Keim of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) it may be heading in that direction. Cavanaugh did not call plays during his two-year run as Washington’s OC, but McVay did when he was in that position.
The Redskins’ QBs coach for the past two seasons, O’Connell received an interesting assignment in 2018. Washington lost both Alex Smith and Colt McCoy for the season and turned to Mark Sanchez in the emergency situation. When Sanchez faltered, workout veteran and AAF-affiliated Josh Johnson took his first NFL snaps in seven years. In three starts, Johnson helped Washington win a game — over the Jaguars, the only contest the Redskins won post-Smith.
Cavanaugh, 62, worked as Washington’s quarterbacks coach under McVay for two seasons before his promotion. These past two slates marked his first work as a coordinator since the mid-2000s, when he was the Ravens’ OC for six seasons. Washington finished 29th in scoring this season, though the team lost two quarterbacks and was without several linemen, but was 16th during Kirk Cousins‘ final D.C. season.
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