Who said the Texans offseason wouldn’t have any fireworks? Following the surprise firing of Brian Gaine, the Texans have been in hot pursuit of Patriots player personnel director Nick Caserio. Things appeared ordinary, as the Texans knew they wanted Caserio and were seemingly on their way towards making him their next general manager. Then things went crazy quickly as the Patriots accused the Texans of tampering, Houston got scared and pulled out of their pursuit, and after not hiring a new GM, the icing on the dysfunctional cake is that the Texans face a racial discrimination lawsuit. Nothing out the ordinary for a franchise that seemingly can’t operate efficiently, but how do the Texans move forward as the 2019 season rapidly approaches?
I must have jinxed things nine days ago, when I said the Texans were not dumb enough to give O’Brien more power. It turns out, they are. After the Patriots accused the Texans of tampering, the Texans caved to the Patriots power, electing to not hire Caserio. Raising eyebrows even more, the Texans are reportedly not hiring a general manager at all. Instead, the Texans elect to move forward with O’Brien, and executive VP of team development Jack Easterby handle all roster and personnel decisions. If things go well then perhaps the Texans keep things the way they are; on the flip side, if there is no real improvement, then a whole new set of questions arises as to how the Texans proceed with the front office, as well as the coaching staff.
The funny thing is, Caserio seems genuinely interested in the Texans job and reportedly wants out of New England, but New England does not seem to want to let him go without receiving compensation. My concern with hiring Caserio was the Texans trying too hard to be like the Patriots. Surely Caserio has to be one of the best minds in football, who will finally put the Texans over the top, right? Otherwise what is the point of going through all this nonsense? If there is any positive to look for in this situation, it is that the Texans seemingly have their hearts set on whom they want. The disappointment with Houston has been their lack of fight.
Not having a general manager is the least of the Texans’ problems, as they now face a discrimination lawsuit filed by their former security coordinator Jeff Pope. Though the report states the lawsuit has nothing to do with Gaine’s firing, it could still be a contributing factor. If a judgment for discrimination goes against the Texans, the ripple effect could be far more catastrophic than fumbling with the GM spot. The better and less toxic an organization is to its personnel, the greater the odds of people wanting to work in that organization.
The best way for the Texans to properly address both of these issues is to look like an organization that knows what it’s doing. With the Pope situation, the Texans would be best suited to come to a settlement that makes both parties happy, and come to an understanding of how things were handled and how the organization is represented. As for the GM opening, the Texans seem intent on hiring Caserio, but cannot do so until after the 2020 draft, unless the Patriots let him out of his contract. So really, my fingers are crossed that O’Brien and Easterby know what they are doing, assuming both aren’t fired after the season. If both O’Brien and Easterby are gone because the Texans stunk it up in 2019, McNair would have to line up a new GM and a new Coach in the offseason.
The offseason has not been what most had in mind for the Texans. As for many would believe, winning cures all. If the Texans are better in 2019 than they were in 2018, then they come out of this mess smelling like a rose. If not, the Texans will smell like a skunk and will have to make major decisions next off season.