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The Jaguars appear to be taking their time finding a new head coach, set to interview a fifth candidate in Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
O’Brien is the third former NFL head coach to land an interview with Jacksonville, joining Doug Pederson and Jim Caldwell. Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore interviewed for the opening Friday. O’Brien will interview following Alabama’s College Football Playoff National Championship game against Georgia Monday.
O’Brien, 52, has 12 seasons of NFL coaching experience, last serving as Texans head coach from 2014-20. Houston made the playoffs four times under O’Brien, but never advanced past the AFC Divisional round. The Texans went 52-48 in O’Brien’s six-plus seasons at the helm.
His tenure is best known for its end, however, when O’Brien was appointed as the Texans’ general manager. That offseason, O’Brien made one of the more head-scratching moves in NFL history, trading All-Pro receiver Deandre Hopkins to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson and two draft picks. O’Brien was fired after an 0-4 start to the 2020 season.
He received a new lease on life when Nick Saban and Alabama came calling. O’Brien replaced Steve Sarkisian as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach ahead of the 2021 season, a move that was puzzling at the time. Like Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin before him, O’Brien’s stock has jolted up after spending time on Saban’s staff.
The Crimson Tide offense has hardly missed a beat under O’Brien. Alabama has the No. 7 ranked offense in the nation, averaging 494.6 yards per game. The Crimson Tide have averaged 41.4 points per game through 14 games. Quarterback Bryce Young has flourished under O’Brien, winning the Heisman Trophy in his first season under center.
A move to Jacksonville would give O’Brien an opportunity to work with quarterback Trevor Lawrence, the 2021 first overall pick. The Jaguars (2-14) will lay their 2021 season to rest Sunday in a divisional matchup against the Colts.
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