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Report: Dark Horse Candidate Emerges For Jaguars Job

A general view of the Jacksonville Jaguars stadium.

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 9: A general view of Alltel Stadium as the Indianapolis Colts come into town to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 9, 2003 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jaguars defeated the Colts 28-23. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)

The NFL's coaching carousel is starting to slow down, but while a number of franchises have found new head coaches, the Jacksonville Jaguars are among the teams still conducting their search.

Although the AFC South organization appeared to be nearing a hire last week, a new dark horse candidate has reportedly emerged as a serious contender to land the job.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Jaguars are interested in interviewing Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell. Jacksonville is reportedly seeking a first interview with the 36-year-old assistant.

O'Connell took over as the offensive coordinator for the Rams in 2020 after a three-year stint as the quarterbacks coach and the OC in Washington. He also spent a year each with the San Francisco 49ers (2016) and the Cleveland Browns (2015).

In 2021, O'Connell had the Rams offense firing on all cylinders. Los Angeles ranked in the top-10 in the NFL in total offense, points per game and yards per play on its way to an NFC Championship Game appearance.

Although the Jaguars have reportedly expressed their interest, Jacksonville isn't the only team pining after O'Connell. The Rams assistant is also a candidate to fill the Minnesota Vikings vacancy and is expected to have a second interview with Vikings leadership next week, according to Rapoport.

Jacksonville still has other options outside of O'Connell as of this week, but they're slowly dwindling. Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is still a candidate for the job, but the Jaguars held off on hiring him to make sure that all of their bases are covered.

It's unclear when Jacksonville will be able to schedule an interview with O'Connell, given that the Rams are playing in the NFC Championship this weekend. If Los Angeles were to advance to the Super Bowl, the Jaguars may have to wait a while longer to speak with the offensive coordinator.

Jacksonville should get some clarity on the situation following the NFC Championship on Sunday evening.