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

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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 are also expected to be interested in talking to Ram’s offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell about their vacancy in the position, sources tell Schefter.

Carolina enters Sunday’s season finale in 30th place in the NFL in total offense and 29th in scoring. Senior assistant Jeff Nixon has served as the Panthers’ interim offensive coordinator since Joe Brady was fired last month.

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

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

O’Brien is currently working as an offensive coordinator at the University of Alabama, which meets Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game Monday night.

O’Brien, who was also reportedly a candidate for the Jaguars’ vacant head coach, spent parts of six seasons as head coach of the Texans from 2014-2020.

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