The Houston Texans are sorting out their masthead and giving it a more refined look after what was a rather makeshift season in 2019, where the organization had no general manager in title. That has now changed as the team has announced that head coach Bill O'Brien will assume the role as general manager. Meanwhile, former executive vice president of team development Jack Easterby has been elevated to executive vice president of football operations.
As Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair illustrated in his statement on Tuesday, this appears to be merely a formality as O'Brien and Easterby were working within these roles throughout the year. Now, it's simply official.
"Preparations are underway for the 2020 season and I thought it was important to update titles, roles and responsibilities for Bill O'Brien and Jack Easterby so they more accurately reflect the way we have been operating for the past eight months," McNair said Tuesday.
"I was encouraged by the progress that our team made on the field this year which was due in part to our new structure, operating approach and the leaders within our football operations group. I am proud that we provided our fans with many thrilling victories at home, including a playoff win, and we delivered another double-digit win season. Our fans deserve that, but now it is time for the organization to get back to work toward our pursuit of a world championship for the city of Houston."
O'Brien has been with the Texans since the 2014 season following his two-year stint as the head coach at Penn State. He has a career NFL head coaching record of 54-48, which includes a 10-6 regular season in 2019 that was good enough to earn the franchise an AFC South title. In the playoffs, the Texans were able to beat the Bills in overtime during Wild Card Weekend and for a moment looked like they were going to upset the Chiefs at Arrowhead in the divisional round. They went up by as much as 24-0 in the first half, but the Chiefs surged back to send Houston home for the offseason. While it wasn't a Super Bowl title by any means, McNair seems pleased with the progress made enough to keep this group intact going forward.
With O'Brien and Easterby now officially landing these positions, that puts Nick Caserio, who is currently the director of player personnel with the New England Patriots, out of the running to join the Texans in any of those capacities. For a while, it looked like Caserio-to-Houston this coming offseason. After all, the Patriots against the Texans this past offseason after the organization was allegedly trying to pry Caserio out of Foxborough with Easterby, who was formerly employed by the Patriots, attending New England's Super Bowl LIII ring ceremony at Robert Kraft's home. A day after that event, the Texans fired former GM Brian Gaine, which set some alarm bells off regarding this situation.
Part of the reason why things may not have ultimately worked out between Caserio and the Texans is due to the timing of Caserio's contract expiring with the Patriots. The longtime New England executive's current deal reportedly runs through the 2020 NFL Draft. If the Pats held true on those terms, the Texans (or any team that would want Caserio) would have to be alright with not having their GM not only for the 2020 NFL Draft, but for the start of free agency as well. Not exactly a winning formula heading into next season, if you ask us.
In any event, the Texans have seemingly moved on from that pursuit and are rolling with O'Brien and Easterby in 2020 and beyond.