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Texans Hire Nick Caserio as GM

After a very strange courtship, the Houston Texans have sealed the deal with their preferred general manager, former New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio.

A quick, rough timeline of events:

  • The Patriots hire Caserio in 2008. From then until now, he is the most powerful person in the organization except for Bill Belichick.
  • In 2019, the Texans fired then-GM Brian Gaine. They attempted to interview Caserio for the opening but the Patriots filed tampering charges. Houston announced they would not pursue Caserio and instead went through the season without a GM, then added the GM title and role to head coach Bill O'Brien's duties in January of 2020. At the same time, Jack Easterby was promoted from executive vice-president of team development to executive vice president of football operations. Easterby is later rumored to the author of the trade that sent DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona for a song.
  • O'Brien is fired in October of 2020 with Romeo Crennel taking over as interim head coach and the GM position being open until now. 
  • The Texans pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to a consulting firm to recommend GM candidates ... then ignore those results and hire Caserio, Easterby's old buddy from New England ... and they are paying him handsomely.

The entire process has not been viewed kindly by the Houston Texans fanbase.

 

Comments

36 comments, Last at 17 Jan 2021, 10:31am

1 Yikes.

Also the only team to not interview EB. Or Saleh! Despite their players asking!

Still want to be the Patriots I see smh.

2 The track record of…

The track record of Belichick coaches is well known at this point but what are the track records for personnel men from New England.

Dimitrov and peoli are the two names I can remember that tried to take their magic elsewhere. I don't remember everything cuz I don't follow the teams they hired, but my foggy memory says they were hit and miss.

4 Bob Quinn in Detroit, Jon…

Bob Quinn in Detroit, Jon Robinson in Tennessee, and Monte Ossenfort, whose whereabouts I can't recall right now.  Possibly also in Tennessee.  Jason Licht I believe is still in Tampa.

6 Bob Quinn was a big miss. …

Bob Quinn was a big miss.  The Lions actually tried to interview Caserio in 2015, but the Patriots blocked them.  They settled for Bob Quinn instead.  Everyone blames Patricia for what happened the last 3 years in Detroit, but Bob Quinn is the one who hired him after a token search, and his drafting was also pretty bad.

20 I realize you are just…

I realize you are just trying to be funny in an edgy way, but Pioli, Romeo Crennell and others tried to persuade Jovan Belcher to put the gun down instead of running inside the building and running away.  I'm not sure I would have had to courage to not run away in that situation.

26 I impute Pioli more for the…

I impute Pioli more for the poisonous culture he fostered within the Chiefs that got things to that point.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/8550269/flaws-chiefs-gm-scott-pioli-exposed
https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/01/18/league-wont-investigate-haleys-buggingphone-tampering-claims-yet/

The weirdest part of the spores launched by Belichick's fruiting body is that they tend towards cartoonish super-villainy. Weis, Mangini, Pioli, McDaniels, BOB, Easterby, Quinn, Patricia.

Crennel was something of a mediocrity before and after, but exposure didn't seem to change him much either way.

Dimitroff sort of worked out -- Atlanta got good for awhile before stagnating; but even he had a rules-breaking scandal immediately after leaving NE. Flores may work out still, demonstrating that a coin can land on its edge.

5 What did Patriots do in free agency or draft?

It does not look like Patriots draft well or do well in free agency. They had Tom Brady and good culture but not many good players acquired in the last 5-6 years. 
Not clear to me how what this guy did convinced Texans that h they should make him the GM.  

9 But how badly do the…

But how badly do the Patriots draft given that they have been picking in the #25-32 range forever? Would seem like an interesting study for somebody who isn't lazy like me. (Or it's probably already been done).

I mean, the whole point of the draft is to create some parity, and in the Patriots case, over time, it seems like that's what has been accomplished.

(Not trying to defend anybody in the Patriots organization, btw)

 

10 This is spot on…

This is spot on. Historically, draft value declines quite rapidly early on and then starts flatten deeper into the draft.

You add that to the fact that they've been stripped of draft picks in the past and I'm not sure they've done a terrible job drafting.

Calling it all a function of Tom Brady is incredibly lazy as well. Even if you give him total credit for the offense, New England has won games with defense and special teams as well

 

11 No, they win games with…

No, they win games with elite coaching. Just look at the roster. How many impact players do they have on offense? How many 3 down players do they have on defense?  Their lack of talent was exposed this year because of Brady's absence.  Receivers who can't get much separation get exposed when the QB isn't as accurate.  Pass blocking issues get exposed if you're playing from behind often.  Secondary issues get exposed when you can't create a pass rush.  Opponents can patiently execute their planned offensive strategies more easily if they have zero fear that you can score 20+ points.  In addition, they let a fair amount of talent leave in free agency this year and they weren't adequately replaced.  (Of course, the COVID opt outs weren't helpful.)  Getting 7-9 out of this team ranks as one of BB's finest coaching jobs.  Remember, they had a first place schedule and played the NFC West and AFC West.  They could've won 10 games if they had an AFC North schedule (AFC East and AFC South opponents).  

Since it's obvious that Houston's GM search wasn't conducted honestly, I sure hope that the NFL fines them. 

22 Yeah.  As I stated, they…

Yeah.  As I stated, they lost a bunch of people to free agency and COVID opt outs.  Guys like Collins, Roberts, and Van Noy weren't adequately replaced and their losses in the secondary (namely Chung and Gilmore's injury woes) magnified their poor pass rush.  There aren't many coaches alive who can conjure up a decent defense with the 2020 roster, which is why I said that this is one of BB's best cpaching jobs.  If the team was in less capable hands, they would've been bad enough to get a top 5 draft pick this year. 

29 funny stuff

"Guys like Collins, Roberts, and Van Noy weren't adequately replaced "

Hey!  We need three starting LBs, stat!

Belichick's usual pattern is to keep a constant level of talent.  But facing Brady's last season, he decided to invest heavily in short-term contracts knowing that he wouldn't be able to keep everybody, and that the team would not be able to keep the same level of talent down the road.

So, yes, you've nailed it.  The Patriots were not able to maintain the same level of talent as they had when they won three titles in five years.

How does this make them different from any other elite franchise coming off a peak?  

As for LB, the plan was to still have Hightower, who was the best LB of the bunch.  But Hightower opted out.  They were never going to pay Collins and Van Noy the salaries necessary to retain them.  As for Roberts, he's a good run-stuffer but terrible in coverage.  It's not really all that hard to replace such a guy.

25 Last year's defense…

Last year's defense benefitted hugely from a big starting position advantage and the weakest slate of opposing passing offenses in the DVOA era. They were exposed by the mediocrities that were Fitz and Tannehill. (Alternatively, December and later Dolphins QBs actually are their kryptonite)

12 My heart bleeds peanut butter for you

So tired of this argument. The Packers have drafted late in the draft almost every year for the last 25 years and have managed to have winning teams, often getting late into the playoffs. I don't follow other teams as much, but I'm guessing the Steelers, Ravens, and a couple other teams could make similar claims. Sorry you've suffered such a travesty with only six Super Bowls as consolation. 

15 Just shows you that the…

Just shows you that the Packers are just a second-rate franchise. Why don't they have six Super Bowl trophies? And I don't want to hear about all the championships the Packers won in the Stone Age when the league was less competitive than it is now.

17 What on Earth in my post…

What in my post made you believe I am a Patriots fan? (Spoiler: I'm not). Is it really impossible to have a discussion about the Patriots without snark being tossed about?

There's no travesty here, nor am I suggesting so. The draft is designed, in large part, to create parity between teams. If we assume the drafting process in any way efficient, over time, the Patriots have had access to worse players than all of their rivals. And their current roster, in some ways, reflects that. 

30 wow

"The Packers have drafted late in the draft almost every year for the last 25 years and have managed to have winning teams, "

Are we pretending the Packers' level of success in the last 25 years is close to that of the Patriots?  

32 It actually is. You are…

In reply to by RickD

It actually is.

You are under-representing the value of getting a free pass to the divisional round. The NFC North isn’t as easy as the AFC East.

16 Is that really necessary? We…

Is that really necessary? We can just look at how the other players drafted after their draft picks work out for others. 
They pick a WR bust in 19. The next two WRs are Deebo Samuel an A.J . Brown. Tackle in 18 the next two tackles started a lot more games. Sony Michels followed by Nick Chubb and Ronald Jones. 

They don’t have many draft selections but I don’t see much good free agent signing either.

To me it is telling that no one replied with “hey they drafted so and so, or signed up so and so and that was brilliant”

They have no one worthy of mention for pro bowl selections besides Gilmore and some guys who either play unimportant positions, or have been with the team long time. 

18 I've got no dog in this…

I've got no dog in this fight, but you need to come up with a more compelling argument to prove the Patriots drafting ineptitude than two recent cherry-picked examples. I'm sure I could look at almost any team and come up with similar stories. (The tackle they took in '18 was Isaiah Wynn, who has suffered several injuries, but according to PFF when on the field has been a very solid player.)

As a counterpoint, PFF selected Patriots OL Michael Onwenu to their all-rookie team this year. He was a 6th round pick. Tremendous value. JC Jackson had 9 picks this year, and was seen by many as a Pro Bowl snub. He was undrafted! 

 

23 I got no dog in this fight…

I got no dog in this fight either (I am a 49ers fan).

I just looked at the first few selections of the last few years of Patriots. If I am hiring a GM  it is one of the first things I would look at. I don't believe these are cherry-picked examples. I did not even compare them with what ifs (They picked Sony Michels when Lamar Jackson was available for example). Just within the position group of their selection. 

I wish Texans the best. 

 

 

31 judging personnel

The way to judge the personnel is to see how well the team is doing.  

A lot of fans say "Belichick wasted a 2nd round pick on JoeJuan Williams!  He can't get any snaps!"  Of course he's not getting snaps because UDFA JC Jackson passed him on the depth chart and is recognized to be playing at a high level.

The problem with the Michel pick isn't Lamar Jackson so much as it's Nick Chubb.  Everybody underestimated Lamar Jackson.  But the reasoning behind taking Michel over his teammate Chubb is thin and it's not surprising that Chubb is the better pro.

Belichick has had some great draft picks and some weaker drafts.  And critics of his drafting are very fond of cherry picking data.  For many years, the complaint was that he cannot draft TEs.  Then he drafted Gronk and Voldermort the same year.  Then it was that he cannot draft defensive backs.  Now it's that he cannot draft wide receivers.

The sheer number of position groups implies that some groups will look better than others.  If we look at the complete body of work of the Patriots' drafting, it's clear that the team has done well.  The only way to criticize it is to cut off dates and restrict attention to sub-groups.  ("His second-round picks in the secondary are terrible!" is sadly a very common criticism.)  I don't know what to say to criticisms like this.  They're just wrongheaded.  

 

21 And yet - they have had a…

And yet - they have had a great defense as recently as last year. I don't think they draft well, but I don't think its as poorly as you think + they aren't big players in free agency because they rightly see it as an inefficient salary tradeoff. And this whole draft and free agency judgement appears to be recency bias. They've unearthed gems in Shaq Mason, Rob Gronkowski, Hernandez + Moss +Welker+ Dillion were brilliant acquisitions. 

Maybe if the Patriots had profiled as some version of the Colts - perennially dependent on a pass first offense, I would agree with you. They did at one portion of their run, but that was not the norm. And they've nearly always had an efficient run game + special teams - things that have eluded the Chargers, Saints, Colts, and Packers despite having their own dominant QBs at the time. 

And btw

24 I was specifically talking…

I was specifically talking about the last 5-6 years, So not sure why you are bringing up Gronkowski, etc. I would not hire somebody for what they might or might not have done 10 years ago when there are more recent examples. We have no idea how much of the success/failure of draft/free agency belongs to Nick Caserio. 

I would not have risked hiring someone from Patriots which does not seem to have done a great job on personal recently, especially a person, whose role is not even clear on how much he is responsible for what I see as unsuccessful and you see as successful. But that is me.

 

27 Sure but you're cutting…

Sure but you're cutting sample sizes down. I would prefer a longer sample of events even if it's introducing stuff that no longer applies. A 5 sample of draft picks can produce almost any outcome due to random chance alone

13 What happens if enough…

What happens if enough Texans players walk out that they can’t field a legal roster?

14 They have until at least July now.

Given that their season is over now, it's pretty much a nonissue in terms of having enough players.  The question is not going to be finding players, it's going to be finding players good enough to make them competitive.

28 Obvious Watson trade — who blinks first?

As Watson is upset at the Texans, for good reason (NOT because he should have been consulted, but because of the cronyism and avoidance of process reported in the GM hiring), what about Watson to the Dolphins for Tua and the Dolphins’ two first round picks (one of which comes back to the Texans in a Draft Day like scenario).  Which side says no, and first?

36 I'm using this thread to…

I'm using this thread to comment on the latest Texans' insanity.  Apparently it's come out publicly that Watson wants out (the actual details are vague, so perhaps the Texans can save this).  However, Easterby is threatening to sue SI for defamation because they quoted Belichick saying Easterby isn't a personnel person, and then went off on the Kraft family.  My primary source is Yahoo news, maybe not the best source, but this sounds insane to me, almost to the level of a beat reporter stalking a GM's kid (Manish Mehta).