- The Washington Times - Monday, January 23, 2017

Matt Cavanaugh was first hired when Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden realized he needed to delegate.

Gruden had tried to call offensive plays, fix the quarterbacks and run the team in his first season in Washington. The result was not good. The Redskins finished 4-12 in 2014.

Gruden turned play-calling over to the since-departed Sean McVay the next season. Cavanaugh was hired to nurture the quarterbacks’ room. Gruden’s system imported from Cincinnati remained in place, he just had multiple hands overseeing its execution.

When McVay was hired to coach the Los Angeles Rams two weeks ago, Gruden needed to find the second offensive coordinator of his tenure in Washington. He decided Monday to promote Cavanaugh to the spot. The Redskins also brought in Kevin O’Connell to be quarterbacks coach.

Cavanaugh’s hiring is not a surprise. He has expansive NFL experience, having worked as an offensive coordinator three other times. Cavanaugh also spent 12 season in the NFL as a quarterback and has tutored others since.

Hiring Cavanaugh also allows Gruden to keep consistency on Washington’s offensive side. It finished third in total yards last season after finishing 17th in 2015. Cavanaugh has a rapport with quarterback Kirk Cousins after being part of the process to elevate Cousins from backup to team-record-setting starter.

With Cavanaugh in place as the new offensive coordinator, the question is who will call offensive plays. Gruden could well return to the role since it is his offensive system. In the past, Gruden explained that he relinquished play-calling duties to McVay because he wanted to better focus on the team as a whole. Gruden was not available to the media Monday.

O’Connell, 31, joins the Redskins after spending the 2016 season overseeing special projects for the San Francisco 49ers, who were dismal. In 2015, he worked as quarterbacks coach for the Cleveland Browns. Prior to coaching, O’Connell spent time with the New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers during his five-year NFL career (2008-12). O’Connell was New England’s third-round pick out of San Diego State in 2008.

The Redskins also announced other personnel moves on Monday. They re-signed long-snapper Nick Sundberg and promoted assistant strength and conditioning coach Chad Englehart, 31, to head strength and conditioning coach. He replaces Mike Clark, who was not retained after the season. Englehart had worked as the Redskins‘ assistant strength and conditioning coach for the last seven seasons.

Taking Englehart’s place as assistant strength coach is Kavan Latham. Latham, 28, returns to the Redskins after working as a strength and conditioning intern for the team in 2013. He spent the last three seasons with the New York Jets, interning with the team in 2014 and serving as an assistant strength and conditioning coach from 2015-16.

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