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Report: Panthers target Bill O’Brien, Jay Gruden as next offensive coordinator

The Bucs are comfortably in the playoffs, and Mike Florio sees them using their Week 18 game against the sinking Panthers as a tune-up for the postseason.

Word on Saturday was that the Panthers plan to bring head coach Matt Rhule back for a third season and that his first order of business will be finding a new offensive coordinator.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Panthers are targeting former Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and former Washington head coach Jay Gruden for the job. He adds that they are also interested in speaking with Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell, who would get a chance to call plays in Carolina that he doesn’t have with Sean McVay running the offense.

The Panthers fired Joe Brady during the season and running backs coach Jeff Nixon took the job on an interim basis.

O’Brien is currently Alabama’s offensive coordinator and he is set to speak to the Jaguars about their head coaching vacancy this week. Interest from the Panthers gives him two potential avenues back into the NFL ranks.

Gruden was the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator in 2020, but was fired at the end of the year and is currently out of coaching.