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Rams OC Kevin O'Connell Named a Head Coaching Candidate to Watch for 2022

Will Rams OC Kevin O'Connell be the next Sean McVay assistant to receive a head coaching job?

Sean McVay's coaching tree seems to grow every offseason. In what feels like the Rams lose an assistant of McVay's every year, it's suggested that offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell is among the NFL's next group of young and innovative minds who could be the next McVay assistant to be on the move for a head coaching gig.

In recent years, McVay's assistance such as Matt LaFleur, Zac Taylor, Brandon Staley, Shane Waldron, Joe Barry and Aubrey Pleasant have become head coaches or received a promotion to a higher role than previously held with the Rams.

On Wednesday, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero released his yearly list of rising head-coaching candidates to watch in the upcoming hiring cycle. 

Pelissero noted O'Connell among the robust group of options that could be in play for head coaching interviews following the conclusion of the regular season.

Pelissero stated the following about O'Connell:

"A one-time Patriots third-round draft pick, O'Connell is now in his seventh year as an NFL coach and third as an OC, including an interim play-calling stint in Washington in 2019 before he joined Sean McVay's staff in L.A. That staff has been an incubator for head coaches who are currently having success, even though Matt LaFleur and Zac Taylor, like O'Connell, watched McVay call the plays. In every other way, O'Connell functions as a true OC, from scripting to installing, while also working closely with QB Matthew Stafford. The Rams' decision to block O'Connell from following Brandon Staley to the Chargers (among other teams) shows how valuable he is to them. And O'Connell's expanded duties this year after some staff departures are helping prepare him for the next step."

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While O'Connell is critical in working with Matthew Stafford and assisting in game planning throughout the week ahead of each game, he isn't your prototypical offensive play-caller who's dialing up each play on the sideline or up in the booth. McVay remains the play-caller but that hasn't held back any Rams assistants who've gone on to be a head coach or offensive coordinator other places. By and large, they've gone on to be quite successful.

Pelissero also noted other names to watch in the coming years, highlighting three other Rams assistants: running backs coach Thomas Brown, secondary coach/pass game coordinator Ejiro Evero and tight end coach/pass-game coordinator Wes Phillips.

Clearly, the Rams have a talented group of assistants who are being thrown in NFL circles that could be up for promotions. Like previous offseasons, McVay could be left looking to add new coaches to his staff after presumably losing assistants.

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Nick Cothrel is the Publisher of Ram Digest. Follow Nick and Ram Digest on Twitter @NickCothrel & @RamDigestSI for more Rams coverage.