Mike Shanahan, Lovie Smith, Kevin Sumlin on Texans' radar

For more news and notes from Jason La Canfora, tune into The NFL Today Sunday at noon ET on CBS.

The Houston Texans have begun their coaching search having fired Gary Kubiak on Friday, and while owner Bob McNair has talked about NFL experience being a prerequisite for the job, several league sources maintain he still has a strong affinity for Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, who himself has strong ties to the city of Houston. Sumlin has agreed to an extension at the college but the extent and amount of his NFL buyout is unknown and McNair could still pursue the coach.

The Texans are expected to interview former Bears coach Lovie Smith for their opening and Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, a former head coach in Arizona, could end up on McNair’s radar too.

However if Mike Shanahan is let go by the Redskins, he would be a strong candidate in Houston. Kubiak’s offensive system -- its calls and language and concepts -- are a direct extension of Shanahan, so there would not have to be wholesale changes there or big adjustments for the veterans on offense. The running game and block schemes and the chores of say, star receiver Andre Johnson or star running back Arian Foster, would remain the same and ditto for the duties of the offensive line.

Mike Shanahan wasn't real happy about the Robert Griffin III film rumors.
Mike Shanahan could be in line to bring his familiar offense to Houston. (USATSI)

Texans GM Rick Smith worked on Shanahan’s staff in Denver and those two have long had a good relationship. With McNair thinking he has a Super Bowl-ready team, and Shanahan having already won two Lombardi’s, he meets the owner’s veteran-coach criteria. Shanahan’s son. Kyle, already had success in Houston on Kubiak’s staff before he joined his father in Washington, and the situation with the Redskins could easily become untenable. Shanahan is in the final year of his deal and highly unlikely to get an extension. He’s also staring at an uncomfortable situation with ownership whereby he could be asked to give up some personnel control, fire his son and make other sweeping staff changes and also coach out his contract in his lame-duck year.

Texans’ defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is now their interim head coach but he is not expected to garner any real consideration for the head coaching job. The Texans are in line to procure the top pick in the draft and are likely to draft a quarterback and are to likely pursue an offensive-minded head coach. 

Headhunter Jed Hughes is running the search. He already reached out to several prominent former head coaches over the weekend, several of whom were not interested in the opening.

CBS Sports Insider

Before joining CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora was the Washington Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post for six years and served as NFL Network's insider. The Baltimore native can be seen every Sunday... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories
    24/7 Scores, News, Highlights