With Redskins Training Camp set to begin July 26th, JP Finlay takes a look at 10 of the most pressing questions for the Burgundy and Gold.
No. 10: Major questions at linebacker on Redskins depth chart
No. 9: What is Kevin O’Connell's new role in Redskins offense?
It might be hard to remember now, but there was a week late last season for the Redskins where most informed people considered Kevin O'Connell on his way out. The talented young quarterbacks coach was being pursued by Chip Kelly to be offensive coordinator at UCLA, and the smart money suggested O'Connell would take the job.
Except he didn't.
O'Connell decided to stay with the Redskins and continue to work on Jay Gruden's staff. In turn, Washington promoted O'Connell to passing game coordinator, a new title that likely means much more involvement in game-planning.
Working for Gruden comes with some perks. Sean McVay ran the offense for Gruden for a few seasons and landed a prime head coaching job with the Rams. McVay has plenty of his own talent, but throughout the NFL, Gruden's offense is widely respected.
How will O'Connell's influence shape things this fall?
Consider that he deserves some credit for Kirk Cousins improved play out of the pocket in 2017. Now combine a coach that schemes plays for QBs on the move with new Washington passer Alex Smith, a strong runner and serious athlete, and this offense could look much more mobile in 2018.
Gruden still has the final call on gameday, but O'Connell's voice will matter this year, more so than before. Bill Callahan and Matt Cavanaugh retain their roles and prominence in the offensive game-planning, for sure, but as Washington imports more run-pass option plays and QB movement, know that O'Connell is playing his part.
Things will look different with Alex Smith running the Redskins offense than they did with Kirk Cousins at the helm.
Just remember, O'Connell didn't turn down a job in Hollywood for no reason.
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