Today in Patriots History
Happy 36th birthday to Kevin O'Connell
Born May 25, 1985 in Knoxville, Tennessee
Patriot QB, 2008; uniform #5
Pats third round (94th overall) selection of the 2008 draft, from San Diego State
With Matt Cassel set to become a free agent in 2009 and undrafted rookie Matt Gutierrez the only other backup quarterback on the roster, the Patriots elected to use a relatively early draft pick on another QB - despite Tom Brady coming off a record-setting year. Then Bernard Pollard happened, but Cassel performed well enough to never give The New England coaching staff a reason to insert KOC into a meaningful game situation; O'Connell appeared in two 2008 games, going 4/6 for 23 yards.
The Patriots traded Cassel to Kansas City, which should have opened up the door for KOC to be #2 on the depth chart. In a preseason week three loss to Washington, Tom Brady hit Randy Moss for a pair of touchdown passes before leaving with a shoulder injury on a hit by Albert Haynesworth. O'Connell came in and proceeded to complete five of his ten passes: three to fellow Patriots, and two to players on the opposing defense. Undrafted rookie Brian Hoyer and veteran free agent Andrew Walter both outperformed O'Connell in training camp and preseason games, and KOC was KO'd, unceremoniously released without a final chance of redemption prior to the fourth preseason game. It was one of the few instances when a player drafted in the first three rounds was cut after just one season.
Over the next four years O'Connell spent time with the Lions, Jets, Dolphins, Jets again, and Chargers. Other than being named captain for a game against the Patriots (a typical Rex Ryan failed psychological ploy), O'Connell never appeared on the field in another NFL game. His final stop was with the Chargers during their 2012 training camp.
Similar to former Patriot quarterbacks Kliff Kingsbury and Matt Cavanaugh, Kevin O'Connell has had more success in the coaching ranks than he did as an NFL quarterback. KOC is in his seventh season as an NFL coach. He started out as the quarterbacks coach for the Browns in 2015, then became a coaching assistant for the 49ers in 2016. O'Connell was hired by Washington to be their QB coach in 2017, was elevated to passing game coordinator and QB coach in 2018, and then promoted to Offensive Coordinator for the 2019 season. O'Connell is now in his second season as OC for the Los Angeles Rams; I will be curious to see how he fares with the transition from Jared Goff to Matthew Stafford at QB.
June 4, 2008:
A four-year captain in college, the second of the Pats' 2008 third-rounders has all the tools, mental as well as physical, to be a successful NFL QB. The question is, what will O'Connell's role be with the Patriots?
Aug 3, 2009: (Fun read that begins with rumors of signing QB Cleo Lemon; OLB Vince Redd's release; and 'oh, by the way', the signing of another OLB who can also be the long snapper, Rob Ninkovich.)
Patriots Notebook: O'Connell stays the course | Patriot Ledger
Aug 21, 2009:
FOXBORO – After spending most of his time taking shotgun snaps at San Diego State, Kevin O’Connell is still not completely comfortable under center. The Patriots backup quarterback was 8-of-1…
Aug 31, 2009:
There were certainly high hopes for Kevin O’Connell, the promising signal-caller out of San Diego State. But after one season holding the clipboard and a training camp plagued by errors, the Patrio…
Jan 29, 2019:
Perhaps watching Sean McVay guide the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl this week made the Redskins want to be sure they keep their young, gifted offensive assistants wearing Burgundy and Gold going forward. Whatever the cause, the team promoted Kevin O'Connell to offensive coordinator on...
Jan 11, 2020: (I found this one interesting in regards to his note-taking and film study as a player)
Kevin O’Connell is joining the Rams as their new offensive coordinator.
Feb 13, 2020:
New Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell was a coach long before he officially joined a pro staff.
Nov 23, 2020:
Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell was Tom Brady's teammate with New England in 2008, when the Patriots drafted O'Connell out of San Diego State.
March 3, 2021:
McVay: OC Kevin O'Connell "has a huge say and a huge influence on how we want to operate, and I think even more so moving forward"
Blocking offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell from interviewing for the same position with another NFL team reflects his value to the Rams coaching staff moving forward, according to head coach Sean McVay.