So much for the Texans having their house in order. Per Ian Rapoport, the Texans have fired GM Brian Gaine. What puzzles me is why. Gaine was picked by O’Brien to be his guy after a three-year power struggle with previous general manager Rick Smith. The Texans did not have an overly aggressive offseason after an 11-5 season and a division title, but was the offseason bad enough to let go of a guy who only had the job for 18 months? With Gaine out the picture, the Texans’ search begins. Here is a list of potential replacements.
The Texans GM job is easily one of the most attractive openings in recent memory. They have a young franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson, 40 million in cap space, and talent on the roster with potential to be immediate contenders. Three men are worth discussing as potential replacements for Gaine.
1. Joe Douglas: He was a name for consideration, but has been hired by the Jets. Like the Texans, the Jets fired their general manager at an odd time after an impressive free agency. After signing Le’Veon Bell and C.J. Mosley, and after a defense-heavy draft, things appeared to be looking up for New York. Yet they went in another direction, electing to hire Douglas.
It seems the Jets wouldn’t take no for an answer: Despite Douglas attempting to turn them down, New York kept increasing their offer until an agreement was made. My two cents: Before the Texans job became available, the Jets probably would not have gone to extreme lengths to ensure Douglas would take their job over Houston’s. Once Gaine was let go, the Jets were forced to go above and beyond to get their guy.
2. Nick Caserio: Per Adam Schefter, the Texans were denied permission by the Patriots to interview Caserio for the GM job last year. If the Texans are granted permission this time around, Caserio could very well be the favorite to replace Gaine. My issue with Caserio is that he would be yet another former member of the Patriots organization in Houston. Bill O’Brien has been pretty good as head coach with only one losing season, but he has not really taken the Texans beyond where they were under Kubiak.
Sure, if you can’t beat them, hire every one of their guys until someone gets it right. The Texans feel like the Patriots of the South minus the success. Hiring Caserio would be interesting, but if the Texans want to make their own mark and their own legacy, another candidate would be much preferred.
3. Louis Riddick: Riddick’s name is being thrown around all over Twitter by fans who believe he would be a good GM. However, as smart and knowledgeable as Riddick is on ESPN, that does not always add up to success (see Jon Gruden as prime example). To make matters more difficult, despite being interviewed by the Giants in 2017, Riddick has never been a general manager. The last time Louis Riddick was involved with the front office was when he was the director of pro personnel with the Eagles from 2010–13. Hiring a guy with no GM experience can be tricky, even more so after Bill O’Brien and Rick Smith’s war. It is imperative the Texans hire or even promote someone who will work well with O’Brien while also helping bolster the roster.
Executive senior VP Chris Olson right now is the interim GM, but who in the organization is really calling the shots? O’Brien won his power struggle with Rick Smith, then brought in Gaine, who the organization, including O’Brien, thought would be a good fit. If Gaine was not the right fit, then really, who is the right guy to pair with O’Brien?
A year ago, it seemed the Texans finally got their house in order and had taken a step forward towards being a more stable franchise. A year later, having taken a step back, the clock again is ticking on O’Brien to get the Texans to new heights. Otherwise, come 2020, Cal McNair’s franchise could be in the market for another head coach.