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How much do the Los Angeles Rams love having Kevin O'Connell as their offensive coordinator? A ton, considering head coach Sean McVay confirmed last March that he blocked O'Connell from interviewing with the Chargers about their OC job. 

Sound familiar? It's exactly what Mike Zimmer did to Kevin Stefanski following the 2018 season, when Pat Shurmur wanted to interview Stefanski about the OC job for the New York Giants. One year later Stefanski was hired as head coach of the Browns. O'Connell is following a similar blueprint, reportedly the Vikings' choice for head coach, though nothing can be announced until after the Super Bowl. 

Perhaps the biggest question facing O'Connell in Minnesota will be how he handles the play-calling duties. Will he take a page from Jay Gruden during his year with Washington and his time in L.A. alongside McVay and be the play-caller and head coach? Or will he delegate the play-calling responsibility to whomever the Vikings hire as offensive coordinator?

If O'Connell makes the calls, it'll be his first time doing so in the NFL. A first time head coach calling offensive plays for the first time is a lot of meat on the bone for a 36-year-old former QB. And it's a giant leap compared Matt LaFleur going from the same non-play-calling OC role under McVay in L.A. to the play-calling OC role under Mike Vrabel in Tennessee, and then off to Green Bay where he calls the plays as the head coach.

But it's a very similar path to the one Zac Taylor took on his way to leading the Bengals to the Super Bowl this season. Taylor was McVay's QB coach in 2018 before the Bengals hired him as head coach in 2019. The only coordinator role he had before that was calling plays for five games with the Dolphins in 2015 and at the University of Cincinnati in 2016. 

The Sean McVay coaching tree is quickly becoming a thing of beauty in the NFL, and if anyone is going to put worries about O'Connell calling plays to bed, it might be The AP's Greg Beachum, who raved about O'Connell in an chat with the Denver Broncos last month. 

"He is the most important part of the offensive brain trust that develops the Rams' game plans, designs their plays and then implements all the details necessary to make it work on Sundays," Beachum said. "It's the biggest role on the offense that doesn't belong to Sean McVay. Kevin is in charge of making sure everything works, and Sean likes him in the role so much that he blocked Kevin from interviewing last year to be the Chargers' offensive coordinator when Brandon Staley moved across town." 

If O'Connell works out in Minnesota like LeFleur and Taylor have in Green Bay and Cincinnati, hiring play-callers with zero or little experience as head coaches might become the new norm in a league where everyone is looking for the fastest route to Super Bowl contention. 

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