The Jacksonville Jaguars have requested permission to interview New York Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien and two other NFL assistants for their head-coaching vacancy, various team and league sources said Monday.
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum later confirmed the Jaguars' request to interview Schottenheimer, who has been New York's offensive coordinator for six years and built the NFL's top-ranked rushing attack in 2009 and second-best in 2010. Schottenheimer signed a contract extension through 2012 during the offseason.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said he believes there is a 50 percent chance that Schottenheimer will return to the Jets next season, citing his offensive coordinator's readiness to be an NFL head coach.
The Jaguars also asked for and received permission to speak with O'Brien, a league source told NFL Network's Michael Lombardi. In his first season as the Patriots' offensive coordinator, O'Brien guided the league's No. 2 overall offense. He also serves as the team's quarterbacks coach.
A league source also said the Jaguars have requested an interview with Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, who has emerged as one of the hottest coaching candidates because of his work turning the team from the league's worst offense in 2010 to the No. 5 scoring unit this season under rookie quarterback Cam Newton.
Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey is the third coach the Jaguars have requested to speak to, according to a team source.
Falcons coach Mike Smith later confirmed that the team has "signed off and granted that opportunity" for Mularkey to interview with the Jaguars. Smith said Mularkey's "sole focus" this week is on Sunday's playoff game at the New York Giants.
Mularkey went 14-18 in two seasons (2004-05) as the Buffalo Bills' coach. He has been the Falcons' 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's son, Patrick Mularkey, is a Jaguars scout.
More candidates will be contacted this week.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @JasonLaCanfora.