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Best five options to replace Liam Coen as offensive coordinator

Liam Coen is leaving for Kentucky. Who could replace him?

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Liam Coen is heading back to Kentucky. According to Chris Mortenson of ESPN, has opted to return to the college ranks after one season with the Rams. This comes after the Rams also lost Ra’Shaad Samples to Arizona State.

In all but one season with the Rams, Sean McVay has needed to make a change at offensive coordinator and that will be no different this offseason. Here are some names to keep an eye on as potential replacements.

1. Zac Robinson, Asst. QB Coach/Passing Game Coordinator

Robinson seems like the most logical option if the Rams want to stay in-house which is typically what McVay has done.

After losing Matt LaFleur in 2017, McVay opted not to have a coordinator in 2018. However, in 2019, he promoted Zac Taylor who was coaching quarterbacks. Kevin O’Connell was hired from Washington after Taylor left and he also had a background coaching quarterbacks. Coen was the assistant quarterbacks coach in 2020 with the Rams before leaving for Kentucky. The Rams brought him back last offseason.

Robinson has that same background and has been with the Rams since 2019. It’s possible that McVay didn’t think that Robinson was ready last offseason which is why he hired Coen and promoted Robinson to pass-game coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The next step for him would be offensive coordinator

2. Thomas Brown, TE/RB Coach, Asst. Head Coach

If the Rams want to stay in-house, assistant head coach Thomas Brown would be another great option. The Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings both requested to interview Brown last offseason. He’s one of the top up-and-coming coaches in the NFL and becoming a coordinator would be the next logical step.

Last offseason, McVay moved Brown from coaching running backs to coaching tight ends so that he would have more of an impact in the passing game. McVay moved from coaching tight ends to becoming the offensive coordinator in Washington. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Brown make that same jump.

3. Jay Gruden, Offensive Consultant

Last August, the Rams hired Jay Gruden as an offensive consultant. At the time, McVay said that Gruden would work remotely for the team. Gruden was the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville in 2020 and the Jaguars ranked 27th in offense DVOA.

Gruden and McVay are very close and the former Washington head coach knows what type of offense McVay wants to run. After going to the college ranks with Coen last offseason, McVay could opt for someone with more NFL experience in Gruden.

4. Garrett Riley, TCU OC/QB Coach

Garrett Riley is the brother of Lincoln Riley and was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at TCU this season. Riley led the Horned Frogs were to a top-25 offense and sixth ranked scoring offense. Quartberack Max Duggan also led the Big 12 in passing yards and passing touchdowns. This is after also having success at SMU.

McVay has gone to the college ranks before and given his respect for Lincoln Riley, hiring his brother Garrett wouldn’t be out of the question. If Riley wants to make the jump to the NFL, a job with the Rams and McVay would set him up for immediate success.

5. Dan Pitcher, Bengals QB Coach

Pitcher as been on the Cincinnati Bengals staff since Zac Taylor took over in 2019. However, he’s been with the Bengals since 2016. He’s only 35 years old and is a riser in the NFL ranks. Pitcher has been a part of an offense that is very similar to Sean McVay’s and could come to the Rams in hopes of becoming a head coach within the next few years.

Pitcher is considered to be one of the top offensive minds on Zac Taylor’s staff. While the move would hurt Cincinnati, this is a move that could make sense for the Rams and McVay.

Honorable Mentions

Frank Reich was just fired by the Indianapolis Colts, but has been one of the best offensive minds in the NFL. The issue here is that the Rams offense is the McVay offense. Reich likely wouldn’t get as much of a say in the scheme as he would elsewhere which is why this may not be a fit.

Kliff Kingsbury is an interesting name to keep an eye on. Klingsbury and McVay are close and the Cardinals could make a change at head coach after the season. Klingsbury knows offense, but may not be head coach material yet.

Greg Olson If McVay wants to go with a seasoned veteran at offensive coordinator, Greg Olson would make the most sense. McVay and Olson go back to their Tampa Bay days.