The Los Angeles Chargers have agreed to terms with former Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley as their new head coach, but they may not be done poaching coaches from their in-city rival. According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, one possibility for Chargers offensive coordinator is current Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, who is very close with Staley. On paper this is a lateral move, which means Rams head coach Sean McVay would have to approve it. But he has done this before, such as when he gave the Tennessee Titans the thumbs up to hire Matt LaFleur back in 2018.
While O’Connell has been an offensive coordinator for two years with the Washington Football Team and the Rams, him joining the Chargers would be a bit of a promotion. Since Staley is a defensive-minded head coach, O’Connell would likely be the offensive play-caller — a role he does not have with the Rams — and be in charge of the development of second-year quarterback Justin Herbert.
O’Connell started off his coaching career in 2015 as the Cleveland Browns‘ quarterbacks coach, and also spent a year with the San Francisco 49ers as an offensive assistant before joining Washington in 2017. He served as the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach, but Washington head coach Jay Gruden then promoted him to offensive coordinator just so he didn’t lose him to another NFL team. When Gruden was fired in Washington, O’Connell also reportedly received some consideration for the head coaching job.
If Staley does not opt to bring O’Connell to the other Los Angeles football team, then current Chargers offensive coordinator Shane Steichen could be retained. Pelissero reports that he remains a strong internal option. The Chargers did hire a defensive-minded head coach, but that doesn’t mean they are ignoring the offense.