O’Connell holds the key to 2020
So why Kevin O’Connell? The Rams needed an offensive coordinator who could work with a less-than-perfect offensive line. He needed to possess to diagnose NFL defenses and understand what would work, and more importantly, what wouldn’t. That includes making in-game adjustments instantly and reacting in the second half of games. Finally, the offensive coordinator needs to have the ability to work with a quarterback to aid their development. Not just in the mechanics, but the mental processing of everything he sees on the field.
Kevin O’Connell brought all that the Rams were seeking and more. He was a leading candidate for several offensive coordinator jobs this year and chose to sign on with the LA Rams. When he was given the reigns for the Washington offense, it really opened up. Washington’s offensive line was itself a cast of ham-and-eggers who played well with O’Connell’s play calling. O’Connell helped Case Keenum play well enough early in the season, finding ways to adjust well enough to help the offense get the most out of the existing talent.
Dual-threat QB whisperer
O’Connell had particular success with dual-threat quarterbacks. Well, Dwayne Haskins, at least. But the work that O’Connell did with Haskins was… sensational. Over his first three NFL games, he was 27-44 for 284 yards, 0 TDs, four interceptions, and eight QB sacks. His final three games he was 47-70 for 564 yards, five TDs, one interception, and seven QB sacks. I watched him in many of those games. He was a much more confident player later in the season.
It happened thanks to O’Connell. Now, the LA Rams are counting on O’Connell to slow down the game for starting QB Jared Goff, while simultaneously speeding up Goff’s processing. The effects are already noticeable, as Goff explained that O’Connell is making his job so much easier. While that’s going to make the headlines, keep in mind that O’Connell is just as if not more effective with dual-threat quarterbacks. And the Rams have suddenly evened the numbers in the quarterback room. As much as Goff will love working with O’Connell, the real work will be unnoticed by many. Wolford and Perkins just got a Christmas gift in the Rams new offensive coordinator.