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Red Zone Play: And The New Houston Texans General Manager Is...

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A long list of candidates, but there can be only one.

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Super Bowl LIII Opening Night Fueled by Gatorade Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

With the abrupt termination of the Houston Texans’ third general manager, Brian Gaine, the rumors are running rampant of what happened, why it happened, who made it happen, and how it will wrap up.

Anyone following the Texans for any amount of time knows that the school age crush on the New England Patriots’ way of doing things is clear. With that, it’s no surprise many believe New England’s Director of Player Personnel, Nick Caserio, is Houston’s main target in the search for Gaine’s replacement.

Houston allegedly asked permission to interview Caserio last Friday night, but no word has leaked out whether New England has granted it as of this writing. Here’s what others are saying/writing about the Texans’ search:

MMQB

here’s how the NFL’s personnel handbook defines a high-level club employee (e.g. GM) on the football side: An individual who is the primary football executive for the club and who has: (i) the primary authority over all personnel decisions related to the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the college draft, trades and related decisions; and (ii) the primary responsibility for coordinating other football activities with the head coach. Final authority regarding the composition of the 53-player roster is not a requirement. If someone lacks that responsibility in one place, and would interview for a job that entails it in another, his team can not preventing him from going. So if the Texans job fits that description, the Patriots cannot stop Nick Caserio from going for it.

The Texans do, however, have to ask for permission—which they already have. What the Patriots can do is waffle on granting that permission over what the job really is in Houston (since the language is a little vague) to buy time to try to convince Caserio to stay. It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s happening now.

Former Cleveland Brown general manager Ray Farmer was scheduled to interview with Texans’ brass this past Saturday. Martin Mayhew, the San Francisco 49ers vice president of player personnel, interviewed on Sunday.

NFL.com

San Francisco 49ers vice president of player personnel Martin Mayhew is in Houston to interview for the Texans GM vacancy, sources told Good Morning Football’s Peter Schrager on Sunday.

A former Detroit Lions general manager, Mayhew has been with the Niners for the past two seasons. The Lions went 41-79 and made the postseason twice during Mayhew’s seven-plus-season tenure as GM.

Mayhew is the second candidate confirmed to be interviewing for Houston’s general manager vacancy. Former Cleveland Browns GM Ray Farmer interviewed for the gig on Saturday.

Others allegedly interviewing or possibly targeted, or already having done so, are ex-Oakland Raider GM Reggie McKenzie, former Kansas City Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, and a few other names that have floated through the ether. Exactly which man lands the gig will tell us a lot about new owner Cal McNair’s intent for the future of the Houston Texans. The variable in all this focuses on a rather unorthodox hire Houston made a few months ago in Jack Easterby.

USA Today

Easterby... was hired in 2013 and spent five seasons in New England, where he was a part of three Super Bowl championships. Though Easterby’s official title was team development/character coach, he assumed a number of duties, including meeting and motivating coaches and players, throwing passes during practices to defensive linemen and even offering counsel when the team was making personnel decisions.

Easterby was brought into the organization to help the locker room recover from the fallout of former tight end Aaron Hernandez being charged with murdering Odin Lloyd in June 2013.

Prior to his time with the Patriots, Easterby served as the team chaplain of the Kansas City Chiefs, where he helped the team cope with the suicide of Jovan Belcher in December 2012 after the former linebacker shot and killed his then girlfriend.

Easterby first broke into the NFL in 2005 with the Jacksonville Jaguars as assistant director of football operations, where he helped with salary cap issues.

MMQB

O’Brien and Caserio (offensive coaches together in 2007, O’Brien’s first NFL season) are very close. Easterby and Caserio are very close. And here’s one thing I found interesting—three guys that know all involved well told me over the weekend that they saw O’Brien as good a fit for Caserio as a coach as Caserio’s college teammate, Josh McDaniels. Or maybe an even better fit.

• Easterby’s whereabouts the day before Gaine’s firing? Brookline, Mass., for the Patriots’ ring ceremony. Caserio and Easterby hanging out there isn’t huge news, because, again, they’re good friends. But it certainly stands to reason that Caserio’s future may have come up as they.

Connecting all these dots seems to paint a picture of the further construction of the “Patriots South” blueprint many of us are very familiar with in the post-Gary Kubiak era Texans. However, since New England head coach Bill Belichick is arguably the most calculating man in NFL history, if he truly sees great value in Caserio, he’ll do everything he can to keep him in Boston—ultimately fracturing the plan to duplicate his way of doing things in H-Town.

But what if Cal McNair is going in a different direction altogether? What if he’s more intent on breaking up the Boston Boys Club and has his sights on, say, Reggie McKenzie, the guy who brought Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Marshawn Lynch to Oakland to help turn them back into a playoff contender? If that happens, it’s a good bet Bill O’Brien has been put on notice that this is his last year of excuses and J.J. Watt better get a shot at a Lombardi this year or else.

No matter what happens, odds are we’ll have an outcome within a week’s time, so the new GM can be around for mini-camps, hopefully right after he locks in Jadeveon Clowney long term.

In the meantime, all we can do is speculate. Here’s your chance to give us your prediction.

Poll

The Houston Texans New GM will be...

This poll is closed

  • 42%
    Nick Caserio
    (271 votes)
  • 7%
    Reggie McKenzie
    (45 votes)
  • 0%
    Martin Mayhew
    (5 votes)
  • 46%
    Scott Pioli
    (294 votes)
  • 1%
    Chris Olsen
    (7 votes)
  • 2%
    Other - tell us who in the comments
    (14 votes)
636 votes total Vote Now

The idea of having Easterby and Caserio to help O’Brien does bring with it a level of excitement for the future, but only time will tell what’s going to happen. What do you think of all this? Tired of talking about general managers? Just happy Rick Smith is still gone? Reminiscing about the Charley Casserly days? Just want them to play ball? Give us your thoughts in the comments box.