Sources: Rhule eyes Jay Gruden, O’Brien for OC

The Carolina Panthers are expected to target former NFL head coaches Jay Gruden and Bill O’Brien in their search for a new offensive coordinator, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Panthers also are expected to be interested in talking with Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell about the vacancy, sources told Schefter.

Carolina enters the season finale ranked 30th in the NFL in total offense and 29th in scoring. Senior assistant Jeff Nixon has been the interim offensive coordinator since Joe Brady was fired last month.

Sources previously told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that the Panthers plan to keep Matt Rhule as their head coach for 2022 and will begin their search for a new offensive coordinator this week.

Gruden, the younger brother of former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, was the head coach of the Washington Football Team for six seasons from 2014 to 2019 and spent last season as the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator. He also was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator for three seasons before being hired by Washington.

O’Brien is the offensive coordinator at Alabama, which faces Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday night.

Also reportedly a candidate for the Jaguars’ head-coaching vacancy, O’Brien spent parts of six seasons as the head coach of the Texans from 2014 to 2020.

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