The Houston Texans are coming out of a turbulent offseason with low expectations set for this team in 2021. While fans are hoping the future is brighter than the present, concerns raised by agents around the NFL could be a troubling sign of what’s to come.
Criticism of the Texans’ organization isn’t new. When head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien ran the football team, he was blasted by the NFL world for the DeAndre Hopkins trade, mocked for the Laremy TUnsil overpay and routinely critiqued by agents and executives.
When the Texans finally fired O’Brien, many thought it would be a fresh start for the organization. Instead, just a few months after cleaning house and bringing in a new regime, Deshaun Watson demanded a trade and it seems nothing has changed in Houston.
For the second consecutive year, The Athletic’s survey of NFL agents found that many believe the Texans had the most disappointing offseason. A year after O’Brien received the blame, the spotlight is now centered on executive Jack Easterby and CEO Cal McNair.
“Jack Easterby is a trainwreck, and I know a lot of league folks think (CEO Cal McNair) is ‘Tommy Boy,’ which helps explain how Easterby happened. Then there’s Deshaun Watson. … Regardless, nobody trusts Easterby.”NGL agent on Houston Texans’ organizational issues, via The Athletic
The Texans received 11 votes for the most disappointing offseason, far more than the Green Bay Packers (three), Las Vegas Raiders (three) and Philadelphia Eagles (two).
The Houston Texans’ underlying issues
Before the center of attention shifted towards Watson and his legal troubles, a microscope was placed squarely on the Texans’ organization. It was sparked by the star quarterback’s trade demand, the direct result of things going on behind the scenes.
When the Texans began their search for a new head coach and general manager, CEO Cal McNair promised Watson would be involved in the process. But instead of receiving input from the face of the franchise and a leader in the locker room, McNair and Jack Easterby sought out their guys.
McNair ignored the quarterback’s recommendations and didn’t listen to the search firm the team hired. While Korn Kerry recommended Pittsburgh Steelers VP of football and business administration Omar Khan and ESPN analyst Louis Riddick to become the next general manager, McNair hired Nick Caserio. Watson learned about the hire on social media.
Watson encouraged the Texans to hire Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, but he didn’t receive an interview until after Watson’s trade demand became public.
While McNair plays a role in the Texans’ problems, Easterby is viewed as the far bigger problem. A former pastor, he joined the Texans in 2019 and quickly gained power. Easterby ultimately fired general manager Brian Gaine and assumed more say over football operations.
In December, Sports Illustrated reported on Easterby’s sudden climb to power. Many in the organization are skeptical of him, citing issues with mistrust and chaos. Players even compared him to Littlefinger, a character in Game of Thrones, operating as a power-hungry schemer and using tricks to manipulate people.
Amid growing skepticism and concern about Easterby’s authority, McNair said that he would not gain more power and his role would be decided by the next general manager. But when the Texans’ CEO flew to meet with Nick Caserio, Easterby was reportedly on the plane.
Sports Illustrated detailed in January after its original story that Easterby believed negative stories about him were put out by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. As a result, he made several attempts to convince people in Houston that he could be trusted.
While Caserio is the Texans’ general manager, Easterby holds a prominent role and it seems he won’t be going away anytime soon. Based on everything that has happened, that’s bad news for the Houston Texans.