Sean Pendergast

Four Thoughts on the Houston Texans' Hiring Nick Caserio As Their Next GM

It appears that Nick Caserio is now out as a candidate for Texans' GM.
It appears that Nick Caserio is now out as a candidate for Texans' GM. Screen grab from YouTube
When they fired Bill O'Brien after the Week 4 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Houston Texans were able to begin their search for a new head coach and a new general manager, and so before any other NFL teams, as they were the first team to move on from their current situation. They hired a search firm, Korn Ferry, to help compile and do background checks on candidates. They began interviews with candidates as far back as a few weeks ago.

Finally, on Tuesday night, as first reported by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans determined that New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio would be the team's fourth general manager in its history. It's a remarkable hire in that this was the same person that the Texans were accused of tampering in their pursuit of him back in the summer of 2019, on the heels of firing Brian Gaine. That all led to Bill O'Brien becoming the GM, which led to utter misery.

Around the country, outside of Houston, the hire is being lauded as the Texans snagging one of the bright future GM's in the league:
Locally, it's being panned as yet another example of EVP of Football Operations Jack Easterby exerting his hypnotic influences on owner Cal McNair, as Easterby and Caserio are buddies from their time together in New England. So let's start there, with angry Texan fans.....

Does Nick Caserio know what he is walking into, and does he care?
Let's just go ahead and net this out —- Texan fans are not happy with this hire, as demonstrated in this Twitter poll I posted on Tuesday:
I think if you were to do a follow-up survey with the folks who voted their disapproval, it would have more to do with Easterby's involvement and Caserio's upbringing as a former Patriot employee than anything he has done, said, or promised himself. Caserio is likely very capable. However, Texan fans are fatigued from NRG Stadium being infected with some bastardized version of the Patriot Way.

This feels like more of a coronation than a search
The Texans went into this GM search with a robust folder full of candidates from all different backgrounds around the league. Dozens and dozens of candidates on a list assembled by the search firm, Korn Ferry. Ultimately, they interviewed four people for the position from Korn Ferry's list, and then rode up on the private plane to pick up the candidate they ultimately hired:
Not exactly a search, is it? It would appear Korn Ferry's involvement was more about preventing any tampering optics than it was about their actually SEARCHING for and vetting candidates.

What does Deshaun Watson think?
Well, let's go to Twitter and find out....
He doesn't appear happy. Keep in mind that Deshaun Watson has been involved in multiple conversations with owner Cal McNair about these searches. I would imagine he's been asked for his opinion more on the type of head coach he's seeking than the GM, since the head coach is who he will be working with on a daily basis, but the Easterby dynamic colors EVERYTHING, and it's got to be wearing thin on players, too.

So what happens now with the head coaching search?
If you're looking to handicap the search for a head coach, which Caserio will be intimately involved in upon his hiring becoming official, the name that shoots to the top of the heap is Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, who's done a phenomenal job this season, building an offense around the multifaceted Josh Allen. Daboll has ties to Easterby and Caserio, having worked in New England during two different stints as an assistant (2000-2005, and 2013-2016). In fact, Daboll recommended the Patriots hire Easterby in 2013 after spending the 2012 season with the Chiefs, where Easterby was the team chaplain. Additionally, Daboll shares an agent with Easterby and Caserio. This appears cued up for Daboll.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast