As reported by ESPN NFL senior reporter Jeremy Fowler on Saturday, the Carolina Panthers are prepared to embark on their search for a new offensive coordinator as they head into the 2022 offseason. And, according to Fowler’s colleague, the groundwork for that project has already begun.
On Sunday, league insider Adam Schefter noted that the Panthers are expected to zero in a few big names for the position. Those targets include former head coaches Bill O’Brien and Jay Gruden as well as current Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.
Carolina’s is expected to target former NFL head coaches Jay Gruden and Bill O’Brien in its search for a new offensive coordinator, per league sources.
Carolina also expected to be interested in talking with Rams’ OC Kevin O’Connell.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 9, 2022
O’Brien, who is now serving under Nick Saban as his offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Alabama, spent seven years at the helm of the Houston Texans organization. From 2014 to 2020, the former Bill Belichick disciple led the team to a 52-48 record with zero finishes amongst the top-10 in total yards on offense.
His fellow candidate in Gruden had bred similarly unimpressive results, particularly in his last three NFL seasons. Between his final two campaigns as head coach of the Washington Football Team and last year’s stint as the offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Gruden’s units ranked 28th, 31st and 28th from 2018 to 2020.
O’Connell, the least known of this reported trio, has served as a coordinator since 2019—including that final stand alongside Gruden in Washington. He paced the Rams offense to an 11th-place finish in 2020 and has them sixth overall heading into Sunday’s Week 18 slate.