Almost right on schedule, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have found a replacement for Dave Canales as offensive coordinator. On Friday the Bucs hired Liam Coen, a name that wasn't on too many radars and might come as a bit of a surprise to fans who had been looking at lists of more notable names over the last week.
The problem was none of those coaches wanted the job in Tampa Bay, but the Bucs might have once again lucked into a perfect candidate who we could be looking at in a year as a home run hire.
Coen spent last year serving as the Kentucky Wildcats offensive coordinator, but it's what he was doing before that which is his key interest. Before going to the college ranks, Coen was on Sean McVay's staff with the Rams, serving as Los Angeles' offensive coordinator in 2022.
That means he brings to the table something that we've all hoped Canales' replacement would -- a prior relationship with Baker Mayfield.
Coen worked with Mayfield during his brief stint with the Rams, which is something the quarterback mentioned when reacting to the news after it broke.
Baker Mayfield comments on Bucs decision to hire Liam Coen as offensive coordinator
It was perfect timing to get Baker's thoughts on the hire, as he was speaking to the media at the Pro Bowl on Friday morning when everything went down. He didn't go into great detail, but it sounds like he's a fan of the hire.
"Out of all the names they interviewed, all the names I saw there were a lot of good options. It's kind of hard to understand how that thought process goes," Baker said, "Got to work with [Coen] in LA, and he's a great guy. A really, really great guy."
It's a similar system or the same system with some different terminology in how he wants to call things," Baker said. "There's something to say about that with continuity between the offense for skill guys and the offensive line. It's important to have."
This is huge, as the entire process seemed to be built around finding a hire who would help grease the wheels for Baker's return to Tampa Bay next season.
That's why candidates like Zac Robinson and Alex Van Pelt were so intriguing, as it offered the continuity that Baker mentioned when talking about Coen. Van Pelt was perhaps the most interesting as he is the only coordinator to have worked with Baker for more than one season.
When Canales boltes to Carolina, it set up a situation where Baker was going to be working with his eighth different offensive coordinator in seven seasons. That changes now with the hiring of Coen, who didn't work with Mayfield long but has a relationship with him which is big time.
Not for nothing, but Coen worked with Baker at what could be pinpointed as the very beginning of his renaissance. Lest we forget that incredible first game he had with the Rams against Las Vegas, something Coen helped orchestrate and should serve as an appetizer for what might be in store next season for the Buccaneers.