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BRB GroupThink: You Don’t Know Jack

On this week’s GroupThink, the masthead bands together to discuss Jack Easterby.

New England Patriots Vs. Houston Texans at NRG Stadium Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

There’s a growing rumbling that Jack Easterby isn’t an issue for the Houston Texans. The issues he caused were because Bill O’Brien was in over his head, and that this is Nick Caserio’s ship.

Have your thoughts on Easterby changed at all? Is he still a distraction, or detriment to the team? If he still is, do you think the Texans will ever fire him, to free us from this world?

These are the questions I asked the masthead. These are our responses:

MATT WESTON:

The Houston Texans were always an underperforming team with Bill O’Brien as the head coach. Rick Smith banked first round draft picks. The team had top talent year in and year out, but were let down by the quarterback position, hamstrung by Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, NAME REDACTED, Tom Savage, and others, thanks to the decisions Smith and O’Brien made together. Then they traded up for Deshaun Watson and all that changed.

The Texans should have been a Super Bowl contender with Watson on his rookie contract. Smith lost the power struggle and step down once his wife was diagnosed with cancer. Brian Gaine didn’t go all in on free agency when he had the chance to. O’Brien ran a run heavy offense, that did what it needed to win to win games at times, with the occasional great gameplan that took teams by surprise, but overall, it was lackluster and never limited the talent they had on the roster. All in all, they went up 24-0 on Kansas City, blew it, and that was the furthest height they hit.

Jack Easterby entered the picture in 2019. He arrived to run the culture of the team and the football operations. The following offseason D.J. Reader and DeAndre Hopkins were out of there, and in came Brandin Cooks, David Johnson, and Eric Murray. General manager Bill O’Brien didn’t have the time to be a head coach and the general manager, so things like contract management, and personnel decisions, were shared by their flat organizational structure. In came the ruination of the team. 0-4 to 4-12. Watson wanting out before the sexual assault allegations. 4-13 this past season.

The Texans found themselves in this mess because of the summer of 2019. Easterby met with his old New England Patriots buddies, and spoke to Nick Caserio, reportedly about the Texans general manager position. This came from one of two Sports Illustrated articles. The Texans fired Gaine, tried to hire Caserio, and were hit with tampering charges, rescinded the offer, which forced O’Brien to play the role of the general manager.

After O’Brien was gone in 2020, the Texans hired Caserio to be the general manager. The same man who was attempted to be lured by Easterby the year before. So this is where we are at. Easterby is still here as a Vice President of Football Operations. Caserio is the general manager. Watson is on the roster. And the Texans are trying to find a new head coach.

I can’t imagine this era of the Texans without Easterby in stow. He’ll be here as long as Caserio is here, and probably vice versa. Caserio defended Jack in his last press conference, has never really explained what he does or doesn’t do, and was the one who worked to get Caserio the job. The Texans will try to win, and win in the right way, with the right players in the meantime, which will limit the talent pool available to them.

For this reason, it’s impossible for me to care about Easterby anymore. If I did, I couldn’t watch, or care about the team, until his dismissal comes around. In the meantime, we’ll watch and see if it works or not, creating playing chances for Rex Burkhead, Jamie Collins, and Devin McCourty in the meantime.

BIGFATDRUNK:

Jack “Rasputin” Easterby has been running a publicity campaign for a couple of months now to make himself and Bill O’Brien (for some reason!) look better. It absolutely pains Easterby that most people with functioning brains do not consider him to be a football person first and foremost.

Thus, in order to make himself look better, he has been willing to smear proven professionals such as Amy Palcic, Jamey Rootes, DeAndre Hopkins, and J.J. Watt. Could you ever imagine abasing yourself to help spread unfounded rumors to make those four look bad and turn Easterby, along with BOB and #Failson, into superheroes? Well, it’s happening.

In addition to trying to save his job, this is all maneuvering to give himself a greater say in the day to day operations of the Houston Texans. It’s working. The mere fact that somebody like Easterby’s BFF, Josh “The Wrong” McCown, is being considered seriously as a head coach by the team completely blows up the idea that Nick Caserio is running the team.

Easterby has #Failson and Hannah’s ears, not Caserio.

Aside from being a street corner preacher or a failed 1984 stand-up comedian, I’m not quite sure what Easterby is professionally qualified to do. He is not a “football guy,” as he so desires. He’s definitely not fit to run an NFL team. Yet, here we are.

No matter how many VICTORY VICTORY VICTORY tweets he does, Jack Easterby is an unqualified, manipulative lickspittle who is damaging the Texans every day he goes to Kirby to work.

RIVERS MCCOWN:

lol why would you ask this

L4BLITZER:

That I even know Jack Easterby’s name is bad enough. Unfortunately, you cannot discuss the state of the Texans in the past couple of years without seeing his name. There was hope that with Caserio taking on the role of being a GM, and perhaps being the first person qualified to actually do GM-type things since the end of the Rick Smith era, Easterby would fade into the background. While he would still be a power within the organization, at least with him out of the GM office (officially), he would not continue the bad personnel decision-making and stay in the Executive Vice President of Football Operations...out of the spotlight and with less impact on my fandom. Whether he is really qualified to be an Executive Vice President of Football Operations is another debate for another time (I think we know the answer to that one).

However, recent developments with the Head Coaching search are bringing Easterby and all of his baggage back into our consciousness. Justified or not, the Texans sacked Culley. The expectation was that with Caserio as GM, the team would then sift through the various Patriots alumni phonebooks to find the next head coach, perhaps the one that Caserio really wanted (or needed). They have reached out to a few. Yet, some other names started appearing on the list, names that had little connection with the Patriots Way or really any true consideration/qualification for a NFL head coaching gig. In particular, Josh McCown’s name began circulating as a legit candidate for the Texans Head Coaching job. The same McCown who has an extensive collection of team jerseys from all of his NFL employers...and absolutely zero years/months/weeks/days of NFL (or college) coaching experience of any kind. Apparently, his best qualification for the job, if reports from multiple sources have any credibility, is that Easterby is enamored with him as a leader and individual.

I am certain that McCown is a genuine good dude and could evolve into a good coach (would be good with him coming in as a QB coach working with the new OC), but you don’t just take a guy with zero coaching experience and let him helm an NFL team. The last guy at least had decades of NFL coaching experience, even if only as a positional leader. If the Texans are truly serious about making McCown the head coach, and there are multiple scenarios where this could play out, then that would mean that Easterby is still a driving force in personnel decisions. As if his experience as a co/acting GM wasn’t proof enough of how bad he is at that type of work, the team would double down on a potentially worse bet.

Sadly, until the McNair family relinquishes control of the team, and Cal is doing something else with his inheritance, Easterby is not going anywhere. This likely means that the head-scratching personnel decisions with predictably bad results from the team are also likely to continue. This also means that the Texans will continue to do the impossible: make football fans in the football-mad state of Texas apathetic about a pro-football team.

MIKE BULLOCK:

First off, I’m with Rivers... why even ask this?

There’s a common mantra among politicians as they grow in their experience and “skill”. Say what people want to hear and do whatever you want. People pay far more attention to what is said and repeated publicly than what you actually do if you have a good PR firm to spin it.

That’s EXACTLY what’s coming out of NRG right now.

Nick Caserio has a press conference where he tries to spin Jack’s deleterious impact on the team, and soon thereafter Houston interviews Jack’s best friend for a role he’s clearly not qualified to hold.

At this point, I’m far more inclined to believe Andre Johnson, the guy who takes money from his own pocket every year to take kids Christmas shopping, among his other charitable exploits, than a guy who took his ‘NFL OWNER WHISPERER’ skill and parlayed it into a paycheck and promotion in a role FAR above his competency. And then uses it to make himself and his friends rich, instead of doing what’s right by the hand that feeds him.

Easterby should have been promoted to ex-Texan when O’Brien went out the door. Nothing that’s happened since then changes that fact.

Let’s turn it to you. Have your thoughts about Jack Easterby changed? If so, how do you feel about this organization with him in his current role?