After interviewing nine head coaching candidates, the Carolina Panthers have narrowed their search.
The Panthers have concluded their first round of interviews, according to a Tuesday report, and will begin a second round of interviews with finalists this week.
The franchise will preferably target experienced head coaches, but Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore also "impressed" the team, according to ESPN's Ian Rapoport.
Moore became the ninth coach to be interviewed for the Panthers' vacancy on Tuesday. He joins the likes of Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, former Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell, former Indianapolis Colts coach Frank Reich, former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka, Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks and Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen.
Moore's offense led the NFL in scoring and total yards in 2021. It ranked third in the league in total touchdowns (55) this season.
The 34-year-old most recently caught criticism for his final play call of the Cowboys' divisional-round matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, when the Cowboys trailed by a touchdown and had the ball on their own 34-yard line.
With running back Ezekiel Elliott lined up at center and all five offensive lineman out wide, the play ended quickly and brought the end of the Cowboys' season with it.
Moore was an NFL quarterback from 2012 to 2017 and played for both the Lions and Cowboys, who hired Moore as the quarterbacks coach in 2018 and promoted him to offensive coordinator in 2019.
If the Panthers focus on past head coaches, Reich and Wilks are most suitable, as noted by Rapoport. But Moore may have stood out enough to overcome his lack of experience.