Ian Rapaport has reported that new Redskins head coach Ron Rivera will interview current offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell for the opportunity to remain in his current role. Rapaport adds that O’Connell’s work with rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins is part of the reason.
On the new staff for #Redskins coach Ron Rivera:— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 1, 2020
— He’ll interview OC Kevin O’Connell for that same job, source said & O’Connell has a chance to stick. His work with QB Dwayne Haskins impressed.
— Jack Del Rio will be the new DC and will call plays. Rivera did it in Carolina.
While the Redskins had a terrible season, winning just 3 games, and the offense looked moribund in the early part of the season under first-year coordinator O’Connell, some people felt he showed growth in the role despite handicaps. For the first five games of the season, Jay Gruden remained the play-caller, despite O’Connell’s role as the OC. After Jay Gruden was fired and Bill Callahan was named interim head coach, Callahan stated quite publicly that he wanted to establish an identity for the Redskins as a running team. There were a number of indications that, despite taking over as the play caller following Gruden’s dismissal, O’Connell was constrained by Callahan’s vision for the team.
It was reported by several sources that O’Connell was given full control as the play caller from Week 15 onward. In the four weeks from Week 13 to 16, the Redskins offense was second in points scored behind the New Orleans Saints. During the final month of the season, the offense showed signs of greater creativity and productivity, as Dwayne Haskins showed signs of quick development as an NFL quarterback, and the three rookie receivers, McLaurin, Sims and Harmon saw increased targets and production.
There have been no reports yet of other candidates for Washington’s OC position besides O’Connell. On the podcast RapSheet and Friends today, when the question of O’Connell being retained as OC was discussed, Mike Garafolo said, “That’s what we all expect, isn’t it?”
Craig Hoffman has reported via Twitter that the meeting between O’Connell and Rivera will be a “two-way interview”.
This is going to be a two-way interview. Rivera has to figure out if he wants Kevin [O’Connell], which I presume will happen. Kevin also has to figure out if he wants to stay. Rivera has to sell things will be VERY different.
One of the biggest pluses for Kevin [O’Connell] staying is Haskins. He really liked working with him and he knows that if he can continue that growth, he’s gonna have his pick of jobs down the line.
While the decision to retain Kevin O’Connell has apparently not yet been made, and while O’Connell may have other options if he is not interested in remaining in Washington, he seems to be the current favorite for the job, possibly in an effort to provide some continuity for Dwayne Haskins. If no further information becomes public today, there are bound to be questions about the status of Kevin O’Connell and the offensive coordinator role at Thursday’s introductory press conference for Ron Rivera.