By Will Brinson
Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski's probably the hottest coordinator name in the NFL right now and at least one team has contacted the Panthers to seek permission to speak with "Chud" about their open position, Ron Rivera confirmed on Monday.
According to Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer, that team is the Jaguars. Person also notes that Rivera intimated at his year-end press conference the possibility of getting Chudzinski a raise and an extension.
In 2011, the Panthers finished a shocking seventh in the NFL in total offense (389.8 yards per contest) after ranking 32nd in the NFL in offense in 2010, and won six games almost entirely on the strength of their offense and the amazing performance of rookie quarterback Cam Newton. Chud is getting the lion's share of the credit for Newton's success, and rightfully so.
Back when Jack Del Rio was fired, we listed Chudzinski as a possible candidate to fill JDR's shoes.
The logic is pretty obvious: Newton's quick adaptation undoubtedly is appealing to a team like Jacksonville, who struggled mightily on offense with rookie Blaine Gabbert (the second-rated quarterback, behind Newton, on most draft boards) at the helm.
The Jags were dead last in offense in the NFL in 2011, posting just 259.3 yards per game. The question will be whether or not the talent level in Jacksonville appeals to Chudzinski. As Panthers tight end Greg Olsen told Person, Chudzinski will become a head coach at some point "whether it's tomorrow or two years from now."
Gabbert's shown talent as a young quarterback, but he's clearly not the rarified athlete that Newton is. The Jaguars lack any wide receiver talent, although Marcedes Lewis could appeal to Chudzinski, who's shown an ability to develop tight ends since he was at Miami University.
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