The Jacksonville Jaguars are beginning to identify the candidates they would like to interview for their head coaching vacancy. It's looking as if they'd like a coach who has a background in running an offense.
A league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Jacksonville also asked for and received permission to interview New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. However, sources have told ESPN that O'Brien is a leading candidate for Penn State's vacancy.
In addition, the Jaguars have requested permission to interview Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski a league source confirmed to ESPN's Schefter, and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, a source told ESPN.com's John Clayton.
Falcons coach Mike Smith said Atlanta has granted the Jaguars permission to interview Mularkey. The Jets also have granted the Jaguars permission to interview Schottenheimer, general manager Mike Tannenbaum said.
General manager Gene Smith is leading the Jags' search for a new coach. New owner Shahid Khan officially takes over Wednesday and insists money will not be a factor in assembling the right staff. The search has been kept tightlipped, although there has been speculation that former Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher and Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden will garner consideration.
Outgoing owner Wayne Weaver fired coach Jack Del Rio on the same late November day that he announced he was selling the team. Interim coach Mel Tucker took over and made significant changes, cutting starting receiver Jason Hill, firing receivers coach Johnny Cox and reassigning quarterbacks coach Mike Sheppard.
The Jaguars (5-11) went 2-3 under Tucker, probably not enough for him to get the full-time job. Coaches were told they had to be out of the building by Friday.
Mularkey's Falcons face the New York Giants on Sunday in a wild-card playoff game.
Smith said Monday that Mularkey's "sole focus" this week is on Sunday's playoff game.
He previously was a head coach with the Buffalo Bills, where he went 14-18 before being fired after the 2005 season. He has been Atlanta's offensive coordinator since 2008, helping mentor quarterback Matt Ryan. That could help his chances in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars are trying to get more out of rookie Blaine Gabbert.
Mularkey interviewed with Tennessee and Cleveland last season.
Schottenheimer has been the Jets' offensive coordinator since 2006 and came under fire for his play calling in 2011 as the Jets stumbled to an 8-8 finish.
Chudzinski joined the Panthers this year and took the Panthers from ranked dead last in the NFL in total offense to seventh this year. The Panthers finished with a team-record 6,237 total yards, the most in franchise history.
McCoy has been the Broncos passing coordinator since 2009 and has been instrumental in getting Tim Tebow in position to win seven games as a starter this season. He's worked with Kyle Orton in a passing offense last year and used a creative running offense with Tebow this season.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, ESPN.com senior writer John Clayton and The Associated Press was used in this report.