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ESPN has three former Raiders head coaches as candidates for vacant Texans job

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Jeff Gross

The Houston Texans fired their head coach, Gary Kubiak, today after the team has lost 11-straight games this season. He becomes the first head coaching casualty this season and therefore the Texans open the discussion about which head coaching candidates are out there to take the job.

Today, ESPN's John Clayton, speculated a few names that could be strong candidates to take over the job in Houston. Among those names are three former Raiders head coaches -- Jon Gruden, Tom Cable, and Mike Shanahan.

Here is a screen shot as tweeted out by Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk:

Some interesting names here. Most of which seem like guys who were just tossed out there.

Earlier this week, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden said in an interview that he had spoken with Jon Gruden before hiring Steve Sarkisian as the team's head coach. He said Gruden turned down the job because he wants to coach in the pros. This, of course, immediately thrust Gruden back into the picture as a top candidate for any head coaching opening. A couple months ago there were rumors swirling that Gruden would be most interested in coaching either the Falcons or the Raiders should either job open up.

Tom Cable is a curious name. Speaking of USC, Cable got the job in Oakland when Al Davis gave Lan(c)e Kiffin the boot. He finished his second full season as Raiders head coach with an 8-8 record but was fired in favor of head-coach-in-waiting, Hue Jackson -- a name you don't see on this list. Cable is currently the offensive line coach for the Seahawks.

Shanahan is actually still a head coach so his inclusion would suggest Clayton thinks he is not only on his way out of Washington but would land squarely on his feet in Houston. Somehow the flaws in Shanahan's teams are never his fault.

The top candidate on this list for the job is Lovie Smith. He was fired after a 10-6 season in Chicago and is the odds on favorite for that job. I also tend to believe he is the number one choice with the others being considered only if Lovie turned it down.