The Houston Texans have (reportedly) found their general manager in former employee Brian Gaine. I know two things about him. He was the Director of Pro Player Personnel while he was here, helping to bring in the prestigious class of [name redacted], Lamar Miller, and Jeff Allen, and when he left for Buffalo last spring, nobody cared.
I’ll talk about myself before I hear from you. I have a few quick thoughts on the hire. These thoughts are a lot of tea leaf reading. They’re inferences based on the little bit of information that was available to us.
First, I think the Texans struggled to find candidates to interview for the general manager vacancy for a variety of reasons. I think that was the case because of the following:
--You don’t pay money for an outside search firm, interview two guys (both of whom you already knew quite well, with one of them being a current employee and the other being a guy who was here for years before leaving less than a year ago), and then offer Gaine the job.
--Rick Smith is going to be here in some fashion. In his press conference, he never officially said he was done being the general manager of the Houston Texans. You can claim he won’t have an impact on personnel decisions, but he will probably be breathing down Gaine’s neck once when he comes back to work next year.
--According to multiple alleged sources, Bill O’Brien has been in a power struggle with Smith for the last two seasons, and at a minimum, probably has a reputation of being difficult to work with. That’s not exactly a great reason for someone who doesn’t have a prior relationship with OB to hitch his wagon to him in Houston.
--Although the team may have a franchise quarterback and a couple of star players, it’s still a difficult job. The new GM has to rebuild the offensive line and secondary by picking through a weak free agent class, especially without their two first two picks in the 2018 NFL Draft.
--Both the Patriots and Eagles denied requests for Houston to interview their employees. I’m sure the Texans could have gauged interest without a formal interview. If there was strong mutual interest, the Texans would have hung around and waited before they made their hire.
Second, I really don’t know if this is a good or bad hire. Aside from what I mentioned earlier, there isn’t anything I know about Gaine. Good? Bad? Who knows? It just seems like Houston couldn’t find anyone else or wanted to get started planning out how they are going to improve the roster this offseason.
Third, Bill O’Brien is probably going to get a contract extension. There are plenty of coaches who fail to get the minimum number of wins out of the talent they have. Dirk Koetter and Hue Jackson come immediately to mind. O’Brien has been better than them. He’s been able to get the bare minimum out of a talented roster. They hung out at 9-7, won a bad division twice, won a playoff game because Derek Carr was injured, and then cratered this year. Those were talented teams, though. O’Brien’s decision-making and quarterback evaluation closed the contention window opened by a great defense and wasted J.J. Watt’s prime. It’s worth keeping O’Brien around in 2018 for the final year of his original contract to see what can happen after a full offseason with Deshaun Watson as the starter. Extending O’Brien after the six-game stretch he had with Watson in 2017, though? That’s dumb. There is no reason to extend O’Brien’s contract. Wait and see how this year goes and move from there. The Texans could very well pay O’Brien to sit on the couch after this upcoming season.
And fourth, there’s a disgusting part of me that’s dying for the absurd to happen. This goblin wants to see Houston go 6-10 in 2018, everyone get fired, and Rick Smith comes back as the general manager in 2019. It would be the funniest thing to ever happen.
Overall, I’m indifferent to the hire of Brian Gaine. I don’t think Houston was able to do a fully exhaustive search because of Smith’s ghost wafting around. Gaine could be good or bad, I don’t know. Extending O’Brien is a bad decision.
That’s enough from me. What are your thoughts? Do you like the hire? Do you hate it? Answer the poll and sound off in the comments below.
What do you think about the Brian Gaine hire?
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