A day after hiring Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, the LA Chargers new head coach is looking to shape his vision and culture.
The most critical coach on the staff may be who will serve as Justin Herbert's offensive coordinator.
While Shane Steichen remains as a holdover from the Anthony Lynn regime, it's nowhere set in stone that he'll be back in 2021.
If the Chargers move in a different direction, a favorite to take over play calling duties would be Rams OC Kevin O'Connell.
O'Connell is a former quarterback himself, playing at San Diego State before he was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He later played for the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and San Diego Chargers before he retired in 2012.
From there, he jumped into coaching. In 2015, he was the Cleveland Browns QB Coach, in 2016 he was a San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant, in 2017 he served as the Washington QBs Coach and advanced through the ranks, adding passing game coordinator to his title in 2018 before being promoted to offensive coordinator in Washington in 2019.
Rams head coach Sean McVay brought in McConnell as OC for the 2020 season.
So, why would O'Connell want to accept a lateral move and join another team?
Quite simply, he'd have more control.
O'Connell does not call the plays for the Rams-- McVay does.
The Rams have been in a similar position before. In 2017, now Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was the Rams offensive coordinator. He joined the Titans in 2018 as the team's OC so he could call plays.
Before he became the Packers head coach, Matt LaFleur went from Rams offensive coordinator in 2017 to the same position with the Titans in 2018 so he could call plays.
Pelissero reports O’Connell and Staley are “very close.” But if O’Connell’s move to the cross-town Chargers isn’t approved, Staley could keep Shane Steichen as offensive coordinator.
It's not uncommon for colleagues to join new head coaches. We saw that most recently when Robert Saleh brought Mike LaFleur and others with him to the Jets.
O'Connell has coached offenses led by Kirk Cousins, Johnny Manziel, Case Keenum and Colin Kaepernick.