Ex-Redskins head coach Jay Gruden’s firing was a long time coming after a number of turbulent seasons in Washington. Now, it appears that one of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s former backups could be first in line to replace Gruden.
According to Ian Rappaport, Kevin O’Connell could eventually take over the head coaching job from interim coach Bill Callahan.
Now the team’s offensive coordinator, O’Connell has been with the Redskins since the 2017 season, first as a quarterbacks coach and then as a passing game coordinator. He previously worked with the San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns as an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach, respectively.
O’Connell is the latest in a string of talented assistants that have been on board with the Redskins. The likes of Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan were allowed to leave, but they may have learned their lesson and want to hold onto O’Connell.
With Gruden leaving, O’Connell will have a lot of control over the offense. If he manages to steer the ship for the remainder of the season, the head coaching job could be his.
Now 34 years old, O’Connell served as Tom Brady’s backup during the 2008 NFL season.
He only appeared in two games that year, completing four-of-six passes for a total of 23 yards.
O’Connell then bounced around the league, spending time with the Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, and San Diego Chargers. However, he never took another NFL snap before retiring in 2012.
The quarterback position has long been a thorn in the Redskins’ side.
Colt McCoy replaced Case Keenum this past weekend as starter, and first-round pick Dwayne Haskins has also seen playing time. None of their performances has been particularly promising.
According to reports, Gruden was one of the leading opponents to naming Haskins the team’s starting quarterback. With Gruden gone, Haskins could be given more opportunities, something which could make or break O’Connell’s chances of earning the top spot on the coaching staff.
O’Connell faces competition for the head coaching job, beginning with interim coach Bill Callahan, who led the 2002 Oakland Raiders to Super Bowl XXXVII, where they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Redskins are also mulling more prominent coaching names. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, current Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is high on Redskins owner Dan Snyder’s candidate list.
Whatever the case may be, Washington will likely give O’Connell a fair chance to prove himself until the end of the season.