Is Liam Coen next Rams offensive coordinator who will become an NFL head coach?
Three of coach Sean McVay’s former assistants on offense parlayed their success with the Rams into NFL head coach jobs.
Will Liam Coen be next?
Coen, the Rams’ new offensive coordinator, has yet to run a meeting or help McVay design a play for the Super Bowl champions.
But Coen, a former Rams assistant who was Kentucky’s offensive coordinator last season, is aware that Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur, Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor and Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell all saw their career trajectories soar after working closely with McVay. Chargers coach Brandon Staley is a former Rams defensive coordinator.
“If those opportunities come at some point, then great,” Coen said Wednesday during a videoconference with reporters. “It’s obviously the pinnacle of your career in terms of this profession, is getting to be a head football coach in the National Football League. And to say that wasn’t a goal of mine or isn’t a goal of mine, I’d be lying.
The Rams were not looking to add an inside linebacker, but said they could not pass when a talent such as Bobby Wagner became available.
“But that’s not why ultimately you come take this job. ... Sean and this staff and this organization is just always adapting, always evolving, and that’s something I want to continue to be a part of.”
Coen, 36, first joined McVay’s staff in 2018 as an assistant wide receivers coach. He served in the same capacity in 2019 before becoming assistant quarterbacks coach in 2020.
Coen took many of the Rams’ concepts to Kentucky, where he designed the offense and called plays for a Southeastern Conference team that finished 10-3.
When the Vikings hired O’Connell, the Rams’ offensive coordinator the last two seasons, McVay brought back Coen.
“Loved my time at Kentucky, in the SEC, in college football again,” Coen said, “but this opportunity was too good to pass up.”
McVay said last month that Coen was somebody that he “leaned on heavily” before Kentucky hired him. And the two coaches remained in contact.
“I really love the way that he sees the game,” McVay said. “We see it through a very similar lens, and he’s got a great understanding.”
Coen, a Rhode Island native, played quarterback at the University of Massachusetts and in the Arena Football League before starting a coaching career that included stints at Brown, Massachusetts and Maine before McVay hired him.
Coen said he monitored the Rams last season and used their game film to instruct Kentucky players. He said he remained in contact with several Rams assistants and players. He also attended the Rams’ NFC divisional-round playoff victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Just to feel the love when I did go back down to Tampa for that game … really felt like home again,” he said. “Didn’t have any idea of any of this kind of coming to fruition at that time but it was nice to kind of go back to that experience after a year away from this place.”
In regular-season overtime, the game still ends if team scores a touchdown on first possession, but in playoffs both teams now are assured possession.
As he prepares for his sixth season, McVay remains the play-caller and the main architect of an offense that is led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and features receivers Cooper Kupp and new addition Allen Robinson, among others.
Coen said his main role would be assisting McVay in devising game plans and leading meetings when McVay’s varied responsibilities pull him in different directions.
“Being a sounding board for Sean,” Coen said.
O’Connell was one of six assistants that left the staff after the Rams defeated the Bengals in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium.
Coen was among the new hires, and McVay also promoted and gave other assistants new responsibilities, ostensibly to strengthen their resumes.
Thomas Brown, assistant head coach last season and the running backs coach the last two seasons, will coach tight ends. Ra’Shaad Samples replaces Brown as a running backs coach.
Zac Robinson is the pass-game coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Chris Shula, linebackers coach last season, will coach defensive backs and serve as the defensive pass game coordinator.
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