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Jets interview Jim Caldwell, Kliff Kingsbury as head coaching search heats up

Team expected to meet with Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken on Tuesday.

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell on the

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell on the sideline against the Green Bay Packers during an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. (Rick Osentoski via AP Images) Photo Credit: AP/Rick Osentoski

The Jets’ coaching search is heating up.

Team officials interviewed two candidates Monday: former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell and ex-Texas Tech coach and current USC offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury.

USC had been declining NFL teams’ requests to interview Kingsbury, who joined the school in December. But multiple reports said Kingsbury interviewed with the Jets and Cardinals on Monday.

Kingsbury and Caldwell are the fifth and sixth known interviews the Jets have done to find Todd Bowles’ successor. That number should grow very soon.

Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken is expected to meet with the Jets on Tuesday. Former Temple and current Baylor coach Matt Rhule also is on their radar.

Rhule, a native New Yorker, spent a season working for Tom Coughlin as the Giants’ assistant offensive line coach. There are reports that the Jets already have spoken to him about their vacancy.

Jets CEO Christopher Johnson promised a “thorough” search and has made it clear that the ideal candidate is a coach who has developed a young quarterback. Finding someone who can bring out the best in Sam Darnold is driving this search. All but one of the candidates in whom the Jets have expressed interest have an offensive background.

The Jets are looking for the next Sean McVay, the young Rams coach who brought passion and an innovative offense to L.A. and helped turn around that franchise almost immediately.

Kingsbury, 39, has become a hot candidate because of that. He was only 35-40 in six seasons at Texas Tech, but he is considered a bright offensive mind with a good track record with quarterbacks. He has worked with Johnny Manziel, NFL MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield, a Rookie of the Year candidate.

Jets safety Jamal Adams already is on record that he wants Kingsbury to be the next coach of the Jets. After it was reported that the Jets were interviewing Kingsbury, Adams tweeted, “Yessssssssssiiiiiiirrrrr.”

The Jets also have interviewed Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy; Adam Gase, who was fired last week after three years as the Dolphins’ coach; former Packers coach Mike McCarthy and Cowboys secondary coach and defensive passing game coordinator Kris Richard.

Richard is the only candidate with a defensive resume. McCarthy, Gase and Caldwell have worked with all-time great QBs.

McCarthy had Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Gase was Peyton Manning’s offensive coordinator in Denver in 2013 when he threw for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns.

Caldwell, 63, who went 62-50 as a head coach for Indianapolis and Detroit, spent 10 seasons with the Colts from 2002-11. He was their assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach for seven years and head coach for the last three.  Caldwell spent two seasons with the Ravens as offensive coordinator and helped them win the Super Bowl in February 2013. He took over in Detroit in 2014, helped develop Matthew Stafford and reached the postseason in two of his four years with the Lions.

The Jets could pick their coach after these interviews or bring in their top choices for a second meeting.

Reports: Packers hire LaFleur. One vacancy was filled Monday. The Packers reportedly will hire ex-Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur as their coach.

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