ESPN report names ESPN’s Jon Gruden as a possible Texans coach

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Every time a new report surfaces connecting Jon Gruden to a coaching job, the company line at ESPN is that Gruden is committed to remaining in the Monday Night Football booth. And so far, every time the company line has been right.

But the latest report to link Gruden to a coaching vacancy appeared on ESPN, where John Clayton reported today that Gruden could be one of the candidates in Houston. An on-screen graphic accompanying Clayton’s report put Gruden atop a list of candidates that also includes Lovie Smith, Mike Shanahan, Ken Whisenhunt, and Tom Cable.

That’s an interesting list. Smith’s presence on it isn’t exactly news, considering that Texans owner Bob McNair specifically mentioned that he plans to interview Smith for the job. Whisenhunt’s presence isn’t surprising, either, as Whisenhunt had some success during his tenure as head coach of the Cardinals and is having a good first year as the Chargers’ offensive coordinator.

The other two names are a little more surprising. Shanahan already has a job in Washington, so if Clayton thinks McNair will be interviewing Shanahan, he also must think Dan Snyder will be firing Shanahan. And Cable had an uninspiring tenure as head coach in Oakland, although his work as the offensive line coach in Seattle the last three years may have rehabilitated his image enough that some team will give him a second chance.

But Gruden’s name is the one that will raise eyebrows. Perhaps Gruden can address his colleague’s report on Monday Night Football.

127 responses to “ESPN report names ESPN’s Jon Gruden as a possible Texans coach

  1. Why would he want that job?
    Of all the Gruden rumors in recent years, he takes the Texans gig?

    I dont see it.

  2. All of these guys sound great but do you ever really know for sure? No! I like Gruden. Don’t like Cowher. But Mr McNair hasn’t asked for my opinion so I’ll trust him to make the call.

  3. I dont understand people’s fascination with Gruden. He won with Tony Dungy’s team, hes proven that he sucks a coach.

  4. Gruden loves QB projects, not QB trainwrecks. He wouldn’t set foot in that wasteland called Minnesota unless it was to embarrass them on their own field.

  5. I don’t want Gruden to leave MNF. I’ll miss hearing things like “Mike, I just love watching big bodies bang!”. Or “I put pork chops in my pot roast!”.

  6. I wish he would go back to coaching and stop haunting me on TV. I’m on the side that does not like him on MNF or his dag gum QB show. But…. doesn’t his ESPN/MNF gig pay more?

  7. Best job offer he can possibly get . For the last few years no talent teams been the only ones lookong for a head coach. Texans have talent . With the right coach and number 1 pick next year . They can make something happen

  8. Gruden will stay at ESPN. Whisenhunt would be an excellent choice. Did a good job with the Cardinals. GM Graves was the problem.

  9. thepftpoet says:
    Dec 6, 2013 7:25 PM
    He would want to join a historic & talented one like the Vikings.
    Did they legalize weed up there in Minnesota?

  10. 1. Someone PLEASE hire Gruden so we can stop the speculation.

    2. Why the Texans? They are a talented franchise that could be poised to compete in their division every year.

    3. I guess since Mike Shannahan won’t let assistants interview until after the season he won’t let himself interview either right?

  11. Gruden may appear a bit erratic and over the top but, one thing for sure he is NOT stupid. He’s a really smart guy. Smart enough to stay away from a spot where they are all hat and no cattle.

  12. Gruden isn’t going to say “yes I’m interested in the Houston job” on air, because it’s gonna create the impression he doesn’t want to be on Monday night football.

    Cable’s last season in Oakland ended in an 8-8 record, which is pretty hard to do in Oakland. So that’s not a totally ridiculous option.

  13. Oh puleez! Has there been a coaching opening in he past 5 years that ESPN hasn’t aid Gruden is a candidate for? They don’t have any more clue than the average fan.

  14. I don’t understand why Cable doesn’t get love. I mean it’s known the raiders have been terrible, maybe the worst franchise and teams since 2003 so how is it Cable goes 8-8, 7-9 during those terrible teams and isn’t considered a genius? Those players gave everything for him and do still in Seattle. His presence is obvious with the entire team. Nasty smack you in the mouth football. Guts spilled. Cable should be a coach again.

  15. I love it how people always say Gruden won with Dungy’s team. But no one ever mentions how Bill Callahan took Gruden’s team to the show! Stop with this!

  16. Nick Saban……….or maybe Lou Holtz. For that matter it could be SpongeBob Squarepants and any would be possibilities according to ESPN….

  17. logicalvoicesays

    The best head coach is football is in DC?

    Are you sure about that? Because I could have sworn the last time Shannahan was actually relevant is when John Elway was his QB.

    I’m just talking logically and factually.

  18. tom cable college coaching record:

    11 wins – 35 losses

    8 wins – 16 losses in conference games

  19. Tom Cable? Wasn’t expecting that at all!

    On another note, Jon Gruden is like the Chris Petersen of the NFL — not in terms of winning percentage — but in the sense that he seemingly gets mentioned for every single NFL head coaching job that opens up (and some college gigs as well).

  20. The texans were a very talented team just two years ago and some of that talent still remains. I think grudens would be smart enough to see that and possibly jump on it. I would go d or oline first and second round and take a qb sleeper in the third. Get a place holder veteran qb for two years and let the rookie learn and progress naturally, you know like they used to, and in two years they could be very competitive again. I could understand kinda in the past before rookie wage scales making a true rookie go out and earn his ridiculous contract, but now I just don’t understand the rush to make guys preform at unreasonable levels in their first year. Even Brady sat for a year and a half and learned how to play, and when he did play what happened? Rings.

  21. Maybe I’m missing something here, but I really don’t know why would Mike Shanahan be considered, and I mean that apart from the fact that he’s under contract with the Redskins.

    Like, why would you consider him for a head coaching job? Yeah, he won two Super Bowls, but honestly he was just along for John Elway’s last rides and basically lived off the teams that John Beake assembled. Once Elway and Beake left, Denver was an average team with a couple of good seasons. Pat Bowlen stuck to Shanahan for way too much time.

    That’s why it always amazed me that there was this huge speculation on who would land Shanahan. Almost made it as big as The Decision. I mean, yeah, he’s good at finding good RB’s in the later rounds, but why do some people think he’s some kind of guru. He’s in no way in the top tier of NFL head coaches and I don’t think he ever was.

  22. He can’t leave ESPN. Who else can give us his insight like his list of 37 players who are a top-5 player in the National Football League and who is else is gonna give you such unique analysis on a play where the WR was clearly out of bounds: “Mike at was such a pretty catch they should rule it complete.” ESPN thinks Gruden is a star in the booth. No one else does.

  23. Instead of hiring a coach who’s failed elsewhere, why not hire one of the best coordinators in the league?

    As a fan of the Bengals, I’d hate to lose him, but Mike Zimmer is a stud defensive coordinator. Wherever he’s been he’s turned in a top ten defense, and done so with players reclaimed off the scrap heap.

    I have no idea why no one has hired him yet, (honestly I’d take him over Marvin Lewis as the HC) and whoever finally does will be getting one helluva coach.

    Or if not him, try the other Gruden, and OC Jay who’s actually coached this decade.

  24. Tom Cable wasnt ready when he had the job here. He’s never been part of winning program before so there was no way he could teach the Raiders how to win. Hue Jackson had to do it by teaching the Raiders the Ravens’ way.

    Cable is ready now that he’s been part of a winning program. I think Cable would a good Head Coach for a franchise now. He still can’t protect a QB though, but Keenum could run for his like like Gradkowski and R Wilson so it won’t matter much.

  25. With the money Gruden is making, only Dallas and perhaps the Giants will get his interest. I think he awaits Dallas.

  26. One of our local High Schools had their football coach retire this year. Is Gruden a candidate for that too? Because it sure seems like there is some law that he must be mentioned as a possibilty for every open position at any level. Yawn.

  27. The Texans would have to offer Gruden literally a mountain of money to join them-about the size of the one the Joker lit on fire. He’s a darn fine coach, no question. But still Its gonna take ol Chuckie at least 3 years to turn it around. The Texans are a complete mess. How many have they lost in a row? 11 or something unheard of like that? Remember, it took him a full three years to turn around the Raiders and we were pretty darn close to as bad as the Texans are now.

  28. Players have a Honeymoon period with Head Coaches, then they have to want to play for you, Kubiak lost his players when he went all in with Schaub. Cowher is the best choice but with what QB?

  29. I dont understand people’s fascination with Gruden. He won with Tony Dungy’s team, hes proven that he sucks a coach.

    Does mrs gruden know about his affinity for sucking a coach???

  30. Some of the names on the list?
    Tom Cable ? His work as an O-line coach? Is that why Russell Wilson was running for his life most of this season?

    Mike Shanahan? Come on. He hasnt been fired, would be outright tampering at this point.

    Ken Whisenhunt? really, really?

    Lovie Smith? I guess so, if you want Mr Plain vanilla offense with the bonus of a perenially bemused expression on the sidelines.

    What all this really says is the list of coaching candidates are really underwhelming.

  31. The only reason the window was partially open for the Texans was because Peyton was hurt and the signed with
    Denver. Two easy division champs and now nothing because Schab wasn’t the answer.

    It goes back to the draft where Houston passed on Vince Young and Reggie Bush. Some teams (management) just never get it.

  32. “I dont understand people’s fascination with Gruden. He won with Tony Dungy’s team, hes proven that he sucks a coach.”

    A team Dungy couldn’t win with, so you’re admitting that Dungy wasn’t as good as Gruden?

    Good I agree

  33. If there is any truth to that list then Texans fans should be worried. It is possible to hire someone new. Shanahan? Why would any team want him as their head coach?

  34. Chucky wouldn’t be caught dead coaching ANY team in Texas.

    First, and most importantly: there isn’t a single person living in Texas or has EVER lived in Texas that knows the first thing about football. Its a football graveyard, the whole state. And anyone who’s ever seen it on a map knows anyone from Texas couldn’t tell a soccer ball from a football. I’m just stating facts. Texans are ignorant about most things, but particularly useless about football. Its sad how many teams they think are good, because they don’t know the game they pretend to know about. At all.

    That said, Chucky lives to salivate over college player ESPN tells him to salivate over. He can’t evaluate, he loves everyone willing to appear on camera with him.

    As such, he’d be a great fit for any fans of ANY team that plays in Texas (college or pro), because he’d fit right in with all of them, all of which have literally no functional knowledge of American football. Any other teams, the rules of the game, what a touchdown is. No one in Texas could answer these questions, because they are ignorant Texans. And any Alabama team would each their lunch. Even an elementary school ‘Bama team would destroy ANY Texas college team, in any sports. That’s how bad all Texans are at anything athletic. Children from Alabama, humilating Texans who are at least 10 years older.

    Embarrassing. LOL!!

  35. Somebody please get this guy off TV. Tired of watching him make stupid mean faces at the camera. His act is tired, always talking about why he loves every QB. Sorry, but there is nothing to love about Blaine Gabbert or Christian Ponder.

  36. Won’t it make Gruden’s broadcasting job more difficult if ESPN lists him as a candidate for this job? I would think that players and coaches he speaks with in pre-Monday night football interviews would be more strained if other players and coaches see him as a potential rival next year

  37. The Texans should be able to attract an experienced and quality coach. They have; above average talent base, great facilities/mild weather, good owner, likely top pick of draft and of course, no state taxes.
    A good off season and the Texans will be good enough to lose in the playoffs again.

  38. odessabucs says:
    Dec 6, 2013 8:53 PM
    With the money Gruden is making, only Dallas and perhaps the Giants will get his interest. I think he awaits Dallas.
    With Jerry Jones as GM??? #ChildPlease

  39. I think the Texans job is one of the most coveted job opening in the NFL in over a decade.

    1. State of the art facilities
    2. Hall of famer in Andre Johnson. Defensive player of year in J.J Watt and multiple pro-bowlers.
    3. Ownership who stays out of the way.
    4. Ownership who gives a long leash.
    5. Good fanbase who supports the team win/lose
    6. Hosting the Superbowl in 2017
    7. Not overwhelming strength within the division
    8. Very possibly the #1 OVERALL pick in the draft. Along with their 2,3,4,5,6,7th pick.

    If the Chiefs can turn it around, the Texans can too.

    If I were the Texans, my wishlist would be.
    1. Jon Gruden
    2. Lovie Smith
    3. Tony Dungy
    4. Bill O’Brien
    5. Art Briles
    6. Ken Wisenhunt

    It will be an exciting offseason in Houston.

  40. Hey Jon, A. P. here. I have about 4-5 yrs left, come on up here and I’ll stay right where I am. Let’s go win this thing a couple times.

  41. One thing you can take to the bank: McNair ignores any candidate that refuses to make Case Keenum starting QB.

    Keeping David Carr was the way that Kubiak got hired.

  42. He makes way more as espn man then he will as coach n puts in less time plus still flies first class why would he leave that for texans I wouldn’t

    If he loved coaching o much he could of went back already since jobs are always open

    Texans might want to trade wr he’s 32 I believe n still producing but get something for him since u don’t have a qb or rb

  43. Why does everyone keep saying the Texans are talented? look at their roster for cying out loud….beyond Johnson and JJ Watt they have a bunch of nothing no LB’s worth their salt on CB and no safeties, 3/5 of a Denver OL one RB one WR and now no QBs worth a damn….Talented my ass!!!!

  44. I don’t understand why people think this teams that far off. They have a true #1 Wr, best defensive lineman in football, best RB in football, above avg LBs, don’t know enough about them to say the Line is great but they just are coached by a predictable coach that does no in game adjustments. They won the division just last year and started 12-1. Think K.C. But even more talent. And if you think they have No QB…Well they will have the #1 pick in a QB heavy draft. This seems like a dream job to come into and look like a savior

  45. I’m tired of hearing about how all Gruden did was win a SB with a team Dungy built. So why didn’t Dungy win with the team he built?… Dungy did finally win one after years of having #18 under center, while Gruden won with Brad Johnson, who was then on his third team.

  46. logicalvoicesays:
    He is such a fraud. Tony Dungy won’t be there at his next gig to lob him a softball this time.

    Totally true. Gruden wouldn’t have accomplished half of what he did without Dungy to set him up.
    BUT, with the talent on offense and defense i could see him pursuing the Houston job

  47. I love how people on here keep bringing up that Gruden won with Dungys team, Tomlin won with Cowhers team, I guess when he gets fired that should be brought up everytime his name pops up for a job too.

  48. Nah. Gruden will come take the Detroit job after this year and inherit Stafford-to-Johnson.

  49. Texans job is like chiefs job last year.
    Lots of pro bowlers on the team but no qb and poor head coach. They got watt, foster, AJ, cushing, Joseph etc. If they can either draft a good qb or get someone like cutler they should be a play off team.
    Even bucs have enough talent on roster to be s good team with a good qb and head coach.

  50. Gruden will return to the sidelines. It is in his D.N.A.

    However…. Jon is going to pick the lowest hanging fruit. The sweetest, plump, ripe for success, franchise that is ready to go to market.

    The Texans are not the lowest hanging fruit.. Or even plump for that matter.

  51. I don’t get the infatuation with these guys who have been out of football for years. Gruden, Cowher, and Dungy were good coaches and have stayed involved with game, but do they really have a handle on coaching a 2013 NFL franchise?

    I also don’t get why these guys would want to come back. They all had long enough coaching careers to be financially comfortable plus they’re all currently employed in lucrative t.v. gigs. I’m sure they all love the game and coaching, but do they want to give up their current jobs and work 90 hours a week again?

  52. ESPN leaks this to ESPN, to make an ESPN commentator seem still relevant.

  53. sportnorcal says: Dec 6, 2013 7:26 PM

    Why would he want that job?
    Of all the Gruden rumors in recent years, he takes the Texans gig?

    I dont see it.

    I’m not a Texans fan, but I see it just fine. Texans have some good pieces on defense. They have Andre Johnson at WR. We’ll have to wait and see who, if either, they keep at RB. Oh, and right now I think they are in position to have the #1 overall pick in the draft, meaning they’ll have their choice of prospective QB. Also, McNair has shown that he’s willing to stick by his head coach, perhaps too long. That means Gruden would have time to get the team set up how he wants it. One last note: it’s not exactly like that division is stacked with dominant teams at the moment. That increases his odds of success early on. All in all, not a bad opportunity.

  54. Tom cable is a pretty good offensive coach, a lot of creative plays the hawks run are cable plays from oakland(yes I know he’s not the o.c). I’d give him a shot over those other coaches, throw in an attacking defence and they’d be back in the mix next year.

  55. This would be a perfect fit for him and it’s a fail proof opening that fits his MO of taking over a team that is already there.

    Just like he did in Tampa when they fired Tonny Dirtball. Jon is a decent coach as long as he doesn’t need to build your team.

    All this team has to find is a quarterback.with a top pick the quarterback looks to be upgraded. The big challenge will be to hold on to Wade Phillip and get everyone healthy for next year.

  56. Cable was a joke in Oakland with a sub .500 record a team that had three straight 3rd place finishes. It was so bad that even Al (who was clearly losing it) saw that he had to get Tom out of there.

    Tom Cable has NEVER had a winning record as a Head Coach. Oh yeah, give me some of that!

  57. Manning is 37, Brady is 36. ?Phil Rivers, ?Alex Smith or Flacco and Rothlisberger playing with rebuilding defenses and average weapons. ? Ryan Tannehill.

    Besides Andrew Luck who just happens to be in your division which would be a pain the AFC is still dominated by 2 QBs who must reach their decline in 2-3 years. Age is inevitable.

    If you rate Bridgewater or any other college QB as a certain top line QB in waiting and available at your draft pick then why not step in now. Or you could rate a free agent QB (?Cutler if you’re crazy enough), draft Clowney and team him up with JJ Watt and see who’s good enough in the AFC to beat you. That way it doesn’t really matter if you can’t coach defense, you might not have to worry too much if JJ and Clowney are out there.

  58. Warren Sapp said it best when Gruden won in Tampa. Sapp said, “Tony Dungy was baking a cake. Jon Gruden served it.” Gruden has two strikes against him.

    First Gruden won with TONY DUNGY’S TEAM! Gruden played no role in assembling that team, and that team would have won with Dungy at the helm had the classless Glazers not fired Dungy the year before. How successful has Tampa been since firing Dungy, and what did Dungy do in Indy.

    The second part is history. No coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different franchises. No coach ever won with one franchise and later coached another to a Super Bowl title. Bill Parcells and Mike Holmgren are the only ones to win with one and later coach another into the Super Bowl. Parcells won with the Giants and lost with the Pats while Holmgren won with the Packers and later lost with Seattle (Don Shula lost with the Colts FIRST then won with the Dolphins, and Dick Vermeil lost with the Eagles and later won with the Rams).

    To continue the history against Gruden, Lombardi, Stram, Flores, Ditka, Parcells, Seifert, Jimmy (THE SNAKE OIL SALESMAN) Johnson, Holmgren, Shanahan, and Vermeil all coached other teams after winning with one franchise, and all didn’t win the Super Bowl. Only Dick Vermeil and Don Shula lost a Super Bowl with one team and went on to win with another. Vermeil later coached the Chiefs after winning in St. Louis and didn’t even get to the game.

    Gruden needs to stay in the booth where I can continue to hit the MUTE button because he should give his ring to Tony Dungy!

  59. Haha Shanahan? Texans going to trade their draft stock for the next 3 yrs to move up 3 spots for Johnny Manziel? Don’t do it Houston, keep this guy in Washington along with the rest of the losers

  60. No one is ever hiring sorry Tom Cable to be a head coach again. Hue Jackson is the only recent Raider hire who would even make anyone’s list, and I doubt he could get into this conversation either.

  61. Gruden is a cartoon character – Dallas isn’t changing coaches except dumping Kiffin at year end and Garrett moving Marinelli into DC.

  62. Dolfan72 there are plenty of good reasons not to hire Gruden but the two you’ve listed are pretty weak.

    Of course Tampa was built by Dungy and he led the defense. But it was Gruden who got the offense up to scratch to win the superbowl. How successful was Tampa after Dungy left – very – they won the superbowl! What did Dungy do in Indy – he built a very good defense to go with a QB who doesn’t need offense coaching.

    Reason 2 of history is silly as well. History is a great pointer for a lot of things but not hiring a SB winning coach because they won makes no sense. No coach has ever won a SB with 2 different teams because they are incredibly hard to win. To win a SB you have to develop a great roster and then have a lot of luck as well. Just because it’s hard to get that twice doesn’t mean you hire someone else. In the last decade how many coaches have won the SB, well its 7. And how many have been fired? 50, 60, 80? That tells you how hard then are to win. And how many superbowl winning coaches have been hired by another team in that stretch? The answer is 0. 6 are with their team and 1 is retired. If Bilichick, Payton, Mike Tomlin, John Harbaugh, Coughlin and McCarthy all went and started coaching new teams next year you don’t think that as a group they wouldn’t have good records and there wouldn’t be a decent shot at one of them coaching a SB win?

  63. IF The Raiders fire Dennis Allen 100% for sure Gruden will be back as HC . Especially if they move back to LA . Gruden lit the eternal flame for Al Davis so he is welcomed back in Oakland. Remember the Raiders have close to 70 mil coming off the books in dead cap money and they have Matt McGloin playing well as a rookie QB. Gruden goes back to Oakland and Rich Gannon is McGloin’s QB Coach. BOOK IT !

  64. logicalvoicesays says: Dec 6, 2013 7:26 PM

    He is such a fraud. Tony Dungy won’t be there at his next gig to lob him a softball this time.
    Has any coach ever done less with more than Dungy in the post season?

  65. gavriloprincip33 says:
    Dec 7, 2013 1:05 AM
    Chucky is too smart to take this job; the booth is better until Jerruh fires the Ginger…

    Too smart to take to take over a team that won the last two AFC South division championships, was picked by some to go to the Super Bowl this year, and had more Pro Bowlers than any other team in the NFL?

    If he thinks going to work for Skeletor is a better job than that, than “smart” is not the word I would use to describe him.

  66. Has it ever occurred to anyone else that ESPN is the one putting Gruden’s name on all of these lists for marketing reasons? It certainly doesn’t hurt your product to have everyone think that every team in the NFL looking for a coach is after your lead analyst.

  67. realitypolice says:
    Dec 7, 2013 10:42 AM
    gavriloprincip33 says:
    Dec 7, 2013 1:05 AM
    Chucky is too smart to take this job; the booth is better until Jerruh fires the Ginger…

    Too smart to take to take over a team that won the last two AFC South division championships, was picked by some to go to the Super Bowl this year, and had more Pro Bowlers than any other team in the NFL?

    If he thinks going to work for Skeletor is a better job than that, than “smart” is not the word I would use to describe him.


    I was wrong about the Pro Bowlers point, before everyone jumps on me about it. I heard that somewhere, but should have fact checked it.

    But I still think this is a much better job than the Cowboys.

  68. Being one of the candidates and wanting the job are two different things. Alessandra Ambrosio is a candidate to be my wife…but it’s not going to happen.

  69. Chuckie isn’t going anywhere…..yet.

    To think ESP of N would have the nads to report something silly as this – I’m guessing they’re just pimping Gruden from the commentator aspect and NOT the next HC of some sorry franchise down there in Houston.

    Someone posted earlier that Texans (of the residentiary status – not the football team) don’t have a clue about football. As much as I cannot stand any denizen of the Lone Star State, they DO know football. It’s just that they forgot about the 21st century, the Constitution, racial equality and common sense.

    But yeah – they DO know football.

  70. “It goes back to the draft where Houston passed on Vince Young and Reggie Bush. Some teams (management) just never get it.”


    Are you somehow implying they should have drafted either one of these guys?

    VY is a total bust.

    Bush, while not a total bust is more like the Alex Smith of number 1 picks in the first round. Not a bust but would have been better as a number 1 pick…………………… the second round.

  71. Nope, Steelers Fire current coach, and hire Chuckie.

    Jon Gruden doesn’t fit the Houston, he is the perfect coach for the Steelers and their fans!!

    Chuckie in Black and Gold.

  72. McNair’s competency should be called into question if Mike Shanahan is even a candidate for the job. Why would you fire Kubiak and then consider hiring a guy he worked side-by-side with for 12 years? Kubiak and Shanahan are basically the same guy.

    It’s hard to have any faith that the Texans front office will get the team turned around when they continue to make mistakes in evaluating head coaches and quarterbacks.

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