Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski has been viewed as an emerging head-coaching candidate for his fine work with Cam Newton.
According to two NFL sources, Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Gene Smith flew to Charlotte on Thursday and interviewed Chudzinski as a potential replacement for Jack Del Rio, who was ousted last month.
Newton passed for 4,051 yards and 21 touchdowns without the benefit of any offseason program. Chudzinski adapted his scheme to highlight Newton, who also rushed for 706 yards and 14 touchdowns, and the passing game excelled with only one experienced wide receiver in Steve Smith.
According to one of the sources, Smith may meet with four or five more candidates before the Jaguars begin whittling down their list of candidates. The Jaguars are reportedly interviewing New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer today. The NFL Network reported the Jaguars are also interested in Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. A third source said earlier this week that Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey could be a frontrunner for the job.
The Florida Times-Union reported Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy will also receive an interview. The Jaguars have also met with Mel Tucker, who finished the season as the interim coach.
It's pretty evident the Jaguars are looking at offensive coaches with an eye toward developing first-round draft pick Blaine Gabbert.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune