Report: Jon Gruden Tops List of Candidates for Houston Head Coaching Vacancy, Lovie Smith, Tom Cable Among Hopefuls

It’s not clear who’d like to see Jon Gruden get the Houston job more: Gruden himself or the occasionally annoyed Mike Tirico.

After Texans owner Bob McNair fired Gary Kubiak for what the owner called an “unacceptable” string of losses, two of which came against lowly Jacksonville, reports are surfacing of potential long-term replacements for the Houston head coaching position. Defensive coordinator Wade Philips has assumed the spot in an interim capacity, but according to ESPN’s John Clayton, the Texans are actively searching for outside help.

Gruden tops the list of potential candidates to right the already-sunk ship down in Houston. The former Tampa Bay coach won a Super Bowl with the team in 2003. When a spot on an NFL sideline has opened up over the years, Gruden’s name has repeatedly popped up, but the Monday Night Football analyst has stayed put at ESPN. Gruden last helmed the Buccaneers to a 9-7 record in 2008.

Interestingly, Mike Shanahan is the only currently employed coach on Clayton’s list, which could point to some bad information or an indication that Shanahan will soon be available on the open market. Considering Washington’s massively disappointing 3-9 record so far this season, perhaps he’s not long for D.C.

McNair has already stated that he plans to interview former Bears coach Lovie Smith, currently out of work, and Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith lays out the ongoing rehabilitations of Ken Whisenhunt and Tom Cable, former coaches with Arizona and Oakland, respectively, who’re rebuilding solid reputations with other teams. Whisenhunt is currently the offensive coordinator for San Diego and Cable is the offensive line coach for Seattle.

Just as it’s hard to place all the blame on Kubiak for Houston’s nosedive, no coach McNair hires will single-handedly resurrect this team from the depths of the AFC South.  It’ll take hard work, dedication and maybe a Gruden Grinder or two.

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