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BRB Group Think: Reaction To Brian Gaine Hiring

The BRB masthead lets loose on how they feel about the Houston Texans’ newest General Manager, Brian Gaine.

NFL: DEC 31 Texans at Colts
Is this man finally happy?
Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After interviews with just two candidates, the Houston Texans chose their general manager in former Texans Director of Pro Player Personnel Brian Gaine. In this week’s BRB Groupthink, the masthead joins together and shares their feelings on the Texans’ most recent hire.


Bob McNair: So, Brian (Gaine), you were able to find the stadium just fine?

Brian Gaine: Yes, Mr. McNair, I used to work here.

McNair: Well, I’m done. Welcome aboard, Brian.

For several years, I’ve joked on Battle Red Radio that it seems like we often make personnel decisions based upon people’s ability to find the stadium. In other words, we’ll just recycle people and players who the team is familiar with. That seems to have also been the plan to “replace” Rick Smith.

So, Gaine was respected by the team for the three years he was here? As reported by UT, this was just said today and is real:

”Tom Cable has been one of the best teachers/coaches in my life on and off the field. Whoever hires him is getting a grinder.” ~Breno Giacomini

Yeah, let’s go out and hire Tom Cable now, k? That’s how meaningless “he’s respected by the team” type quotes are.

We don’t know how Rick Smith’s decision making was influenced by Gaine. Maybe Gaine is a brilliant man with lots of well thought-out, practical, ideas and will ensure the financial security of this team for years to come. Or, maybe not.

When you look at the personnel decisions from 2014 to 2016, they aren’t...impressive. The 2014 to 2016 drafts aren’t impressive, either, and directly lead to the poor roster quality aside from the very top. Right now, Gaine looks like Rick Smith Part Duh. Muddying the waters even more, does this mean Gaine keeps his job and responsibilities once Smith returns?

All this said, it’s nice that there are now clear lines of demarcation for personnel responsibilities. In addition, Gaine and Bill O’Brien are likely to play better together than BOB did with Smith. These should, theoretically, lead to improvements, and that’s at least a start for a team that badly needs major talent infusions at multiple positions.

Rivers McCown:

Post an undesirable job.

Get an undesirable GM for a year.



Uprooted Texan:

The hiring of Brian Gaine is as inspiring as it is unexpected. But then when you’ve so publicly muddied the waters about Rick Smith’s status within the Texans organization, these are the kinds of results you’re going to get.

I would like to believe that maybe this will be a turning point for the franchise, I really would. This just feels like more of the same. From the people who brought you [UNPERSON], Jeff Allen, Xavier Su’a-Filo, and Tyler Ervin comes...Brian Gaine.

::single clap in the distance::

Mike Bullock:

Number one concern: Is Gaine going to act as a mouthpiece for Rick Smith? Head butting O’Brien with “Well, Rick wouldn’t want it that way” nonsense? Or is Gaine his own man, held back by the shadow of “Uncle Rick, the third McNair.”

Neiher option elicits the kind of excitement Raider Nation is seeing with Chucky returning to Oaktown. Even Nick Caserio would have brought some level of excitement since he’s Darth Belichick’s right hand of doom. Having Caserio working with O’Brien and Romeo Crennel would seem to be a perfect match for the Texans staff’s desired “alignment”.

Hopefully Gaine proves us all wrong, but like others have said so far, it feels very lather, rinse, repeat.

Luke Beggs:

I think it’s going to be awhile before we can get a measure of Brian Gaine, mostly due to the feature most associated with team building (the NFL Draft) will be a muted part of the Texans offseason.

It will be interesting to see how Gaine handles free agency and how he deals with the most pressing issue for the Texans right now, which is the re-signing of star defensive player Jadeveon Clowney. Once those are all done, we can start trying to analyze what kind of front office this is going to be going forward.

Brett Kollmann:

Bill O’Brien wanted his own version of the Patriots’ Nick Caserio, and now he’s got one. Bringing in Brian Gaine, at least to me, is O’Brien’s way of asserting more control of the roster. He wants a front office that thinks like him, values his opinion, and at the end of the day will look for the same types of players that O’Brien looks for. This move is all about reducing this organization from two voices to one, and from two ways of thinking to one. Whether it works or not is anyone’s guess, but I’m glad to see that everyone should be on the same page now.

Matt Weston:

I don’t know enough about Gaine to really care one way or the other. What I do know is that Bill O’Brien hasn’t deserved the amount of control and influence he has over this team. This whole team is strange.

Kenneth L.:

I feel like this is a sideways move. A hamster stuck on its wheel. Two steps forward and an ankle roll.

Gaine is a solid front office person, but how well will he be able to confront and disagree with O’Brien on player decisions? I am not sure if this is a move that does not muddy the waters for a potential Rick Smith return. If Smith does return, how positive will the chemistry be if Smith now has to work under Gaine instead of vice versa?

I also do not know why we needed to hire a search firm to go with the guy the Texans wanted all along. Maybe it’s a way to avoid all of the criticism the Raiders are enduring. With Gaine in charge, he will be at the helm for the deconstruction and rebuilding of this secondary and offensive line.

Capt Ron:

As others have stated, the hiring of Gaine puts the power of this team fully into the hands of Bill O’Brien. Clearly the bipolar power struggle formula we have witnessed the last four years hasn’t worked, but I’m not convinced O’Brien is ready to be Bill Belichick. My preference would have been for McNair to bring in a senior adviser type like Jacksonville did with Tom Coughlin, and then let that person direct which GM to hire to move this franchise forward.

I suspect O’Brien will be given a two-year extension to the remaining one year on his contract, taking the contractual relationship through 2020. That realistically means that O’Brien has 2018 and 2019 to show an upward trajectory toward bringing Houston a championship.

At the very least, there will no longer be any ambiguity about who is responsible for the roster composition or product on the field each game.

Jeremy Brener:

The Gaine hire shows that the team did not want to make a drastic change. He’s familiar with the vision and the goals of the Texans, which means the team still believes in its players, which I think is important. There are still many players on this team that can be a part of a championship.


This is a Bill O’Brien hire. His relationship and comfort level with Brian Gaine is well known. In his presser after Rick Smith announced his leave of absence, O’Brien spoke of the need for alignment within the organization, and the decision to name Gaine general manager reflects that desire. If ever there was any question about who would ascend to power once Rick Smith was out of the picture, it’s been answered. Bill O’Brien is the captain at NRG Park now.

There’s no reason to think Gaine will be bad at this job, particularly without any knowledge of how much or how little a hand he had in running things when he worked under Rick Smith. There’s also no reason to be convinced Gaine will knock it out of the park, as he doesn’t have anything approaching a track record of sustained success elsewhere. We have to let it play out.

As an admitted fan of Bill O’Brien, I will say this: I would have preferred bringing in someone with more of a perspective on how the Eagles, Packers, or another successful non-Patriots franchise do things, or at the very least interviewing those executives, before simply hiring Gaine. The way this process unfolded smacks of a cram-down. I can only hope that the relationship between Gaine and O’Brien is one where each can challenge the other when the situation warrants it instead of one cowering to the guy who got him his first GM job in the NFL.

Many a Texans fan has complained for years that Rick Smith needed to be replaced. Now he has been. Time will tell whether the Texans made a good decision in choosing his replacement.