After a lackluster performance in 2018 for the Washington Redskins offense, they are making changes. The team announced Tuesday passing game coordinator Kevin O’Connell has been promoted to offensive coordinator.
O’Connell, who just 33 years of age, joined the Redskins in 2017 as the quarterbacks coach. He had the passing game coordinator title added in 2018. O’Connell was also the quarterbacks coach with the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers before coming to Washington.
Head coach Jay Gruden took over play-calling duties while Matt Cavanaugh was pegged the offensive coordinator after Sean McVay left his role as offensive coordinator to become the head coach of the Los Angeles Rams in 2017. Washington’s offense peaked to third in the NFL in McVay’s final season. They dropped to 16th in 2017 with an array of injuries and 28th last season.
Last season, the drop-off from Kirk Cousins to Alex Smith as quarterback was staggering. The big plays down field occurred far less. Following injuries to Smith and backup quarterback Colt McCoy, O’Connell called plays while Mark Sanchez was under center due to the familiarity between both as former teammates with the New York Jets.
O’Connell spent six seasons in the NFL, mostly as a backup quarterback before going into coaching in 2015.
Meanwhile, Cavanaugh will be the team’s offensive assistant.
According to John Keim of ESPN.com, other teams had inquired about O’Connell for offensive coordinator. Translation, Washington could have been worried about losing another young coach much like McVay.
Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see what type of changes to the offense will be visible in 2019. It appears, Smith won’t return from his broken leg next season. And it’s unclear if Gruden or O’Connell will call plays.