Rams coordinator Kevin O’Connell gained knowledge as Tom Brady’s teammate

Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell shouts instructions.
Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell was once Tom Brady’s teammate with the New England Patriots.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

His approach was simple: Be a sponge. Be seen, not heard.

That was how rookie quarterback Kevin O’Connell navigated his way in 2008 after he was drafted by the New England Patriots and became teammates with Tom Brady.

Twelve years later, O’Connell, 35, is the first-year offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Rams. Brady, 43, is in his first season as quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after winning six Super Bowl titles in 20 seasons with the Patriots.

The Rams (6-3) play the Buccaneers (7-3) on Monday night at Tampa Bay.

O’Connell, a third-round draft pick from San Diego State, played one season for Patriots, but his time with Brady resonated.

“To be around him in the quarterback room and be around him through the offseasons and into training camp was really something special for me,” O’Connell said. “So many countless things that I’ve learned, obviously not only being around him for that year-plus but just watching him play over the years.”

Fresh off a standout game against Seattle, the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey on Monday will face a Tampa Bay offense that features Mike Evans, Antonio Brown and more.


O’Connell had stints with four other NFL teams before beginning his coaching career in 2015. He worked for the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers and Washington before joining coach Sean McVay’s staff with the Rams.

“We’ve definitely talked a lot about his experiences and kind of whether it’s Tom or just how [the Patriots] operated, and I think all of your experiences shape your perspective,” McVay said.

Brady’s ability to decipher defenses, his footwork and his pocket presence are skills O’Connell said he has attempted to integrate into his coaching.

“So many quarterbacks and so many players across a lot of positions have really taken a lot out of just watching him, either as a teammate or from afar as an opponent,” O’Connell said. “Just the type of respect you have for him and how he’s been able to do it so long and now with the new team — you just can’t say enough.”