Buccaneers Hire Liam Coen As OC

SATURDAY, 10:30am: The two sides have reached an agreement, per Greg Auman of Fox Sports.

FRIDAY, 8:05am: As coordinator dominoes continue to fall, Liam Coen is set to head to Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are nearing an agreement with the Kentucky OC to take over their offensive coordinator gig, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

Once in place, the deal will allow Coen to return to the NFL game after his second stint in charge of Kentucky’s offense. Between his college stints, he spent time on the Rams’ staff working with the team’s receivers and quarterbacks, along with OC responsibilities in 2022. Coen did not call plays when he was part of Sean McVay‘s staff, but he will likely do so under Todd Bowles.

Tampa Bay enjoyed a relatively successful run on offense during Dave Canales‘ one-year run as OC. His quick career ascent recently included taking the Panthers’ head coaching position, creating a vacancy at the offensive coordinator post for the second straight year. Now, the team has a replacement on tap.

With Canales on the HC radar, a report listed Tampa QBs coach Thad Lewis as a name to watch with respect to a promotion. Amidst interest from several other teams, Lewis did indeed interview for the Bucs’ vacancy. That meeting did not produce an agreement, however, and it will now be Coen making the jump back into NFL circles to take on his second pro coordinator gig.

The latter worked alongside Baker Mayfield during his Rams audition period in 2022, and the pair are believed to have a strong relationship. For that reason, it came as little surprise when Coen joined the list of Tampa Bay candidates with his interview yesterday. Mayfield is a pending free agent, but this hire could help the chances of a new contract being worked out.

Tampa Bay is seeking a multi-year Mayfield agreement, though talks on that front have not started. The former No. 1 pick had one of his most productive seasons under Canales in 2023, a coach with which he did not have a previous working relationship. Having a familiar face in place could be beneficial, although the Mayfield-Coen Rams pairing did not last long in the closing weeks of the 2022 campaign. That season, the injury-riddled Rams finished last in the league in total offense and 27th in scoring.

Improvement in both categories will be the goal in Coen’s second opportunity to lead an NFL offense. The 38-year-old will inherit a unit which ranked 20th in scoring in 2023. Struggles in the ground game continued from past years, and taking step forward in that regard would be a welcomed development moving forward. Questions remain, however, about the future of Mayfield and wideout Mike Evans.

Tampa Bay conducted one of the most wide-ranging searches in this year’s hiring cycle, and the team waited until many others made their hires to reach agreement on their own. Coen nonetheless represents an intriguing addition to the NFC South winners as they look to repeat this year’s success.

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