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If Rams hire Liam Coen, he could be on fast track to NFL head coach

Is Coen the next Zac Taylor?

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-Training Camp Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the hottest job opening in the NFL is not a head coach position at all. Maybe for the majority of assistant coaches, the best “next job” is simply working for Sean McVay. Especially on offense.

After losing former offensive coordinators Matt LaFleur and Kevin O’Connell to head coaching positions, and former quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor to the Cincinnati Bengals, McVay has become closely associated with promotions. Throw-in Chargers head coach Brandon Staley and a number of offensive and defensive coordinators around the NFL, and the list of former McVay assistants to be generally controlling Sundays is growing beyond comprehension.

That’s probably why Kentucky offensive coordinator Liam Coen is considering a return to the NFL just one year after leaving the Rams for the Wildcats. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Wednesday that there was a “very real possibility” that Coen would be hired back by the Rams this year, probably to replace O’Connell as the next offensive coordinator.

Coen, 36, was LA’s assistant wide receivers coach from 2018-2019 and assistant quarterbacks coach in 2020. Prior to that, he worked various offensive roles in college, starting at Brown in 2010 and culminating in a two-year stint as the offensive coordinator at Maine; Coen was a quarterback at UMass for four years, later becoming their pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2014-2015.

At the moment, anyone associated with the offenses for McVay or Kyle Shanahan, and by proxy LaFleur or Taylor, seems to be on the fast track towards being an NFL head coach. Mike McDaniel was hired by the Dolphins after working as the OC for the 49ers; Nathaniel Hackett was hired by the Broncos after working as the OC for the Packers under LaFleur; Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan could be one of the hottest names in the circuit by 2023.

Greg Olson, who was the Rams’ offensive coordinator from 2006-2007, and the quarterbacks coach in 2017, has also been rumored to be in consideration as the next offensive coordinator. Olsen spent the last four years with the Raiders under Jon Gruden in that same role. Thomas Brown, expected to interview with the Vikings on Friday, could also be in consideration.