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Could Rams OC Kevin O’Connell follow Staley to the Bolts?

It wouldn’t be the first time a departing coach poached an assistant or two.

Los Angeles Rams Training Camp Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Early on Monday morning, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that there’s a strong possibility that new Chargers head coach Brandon Staley could bring Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell with him to be the new OC for the Bolts. Staley and O’Connell are reportedly very close and it’s not an unusual thing to see coaches poach assistants from their former teams.

When Vic Fangio was hired to be the Broncos head coach, he brought Staley to be the outside linebackers coach in Denver. We also just saw new Jets head coach Robert Saleh bring San Francisco’s passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur with him to be his new OC in New York.

Many have already painted Staley as a “defensive genius,” not unlike in the manner the NFL still currently views Rams head coach Sean McVay.

The Rams’ offense has been heavily predicated off the wide zone run scheme, utilizing dynamic running backs to make single North-South cut in order to maximize yardage on a per down basis to stay ahead of the chain as much as possible. They also love their play-action game. McVay and company has worked wonders in developing an offense that gets the ball to their best play-makers consistently while also giving them the opportunity to gain an immense amount of yards after the catch.

In 2020, Rams wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods finished fifth and 10th and in the NFL in YAC with 533 and 486, respectively. The Rams were joined by the duo of J.D. McKissic and Terry McLaurin as the only other team to have a pair of players finish in the top 10 of that statistic.

Former Chargers OC Shane Steichen also heavily utilized play action, despite the lack of success running the football, and one could say things still panned out fairly well for Justin Herbert in his rookie season. On paper, the match seems to be close to perfect, but until a decision is made, I don’t think Steichen could be ruled out as an option there. The Chargers retained Ken Whisenhunt through the hiring of Anthony Lynn, so we know this front office already has a thing for cherishing continuity with its’ quarterbacks.