The 2022 Texans, once they finally take the field to do actual football-type stuff, will bear little resemblance to the teams that came before it. With a full complement of drafts and the purging of the once-anointed franchise savior, this team is deep into the rebuild that it was driven into by previous forces.
The rapid decline and fall of the late 2010s (2019-2021) Texans has been well-documented, especially on this site. Should it have ever really happened? Clearly not, but it did. If there is any consolation to watching the flotsam and jetsam of the previous regime, it is that most of the key leaders/drivers of that decline are purged from the organization.
First and foremost, head coach and (at one time) dual-hatted GM Bill O’Brien is one of the latest enrollees in the Nick Saban Rehabilitation Clinic for Recently Fired/Disgraced Coaches. One-time GM Brian Gaine is plying his trade back with the Buffalo Bills as Assistant GM. Former Team President Jamey Rootes is influencing young minds as part of the Sam Houston State Kinesiology Department. One-time franchise quarterback and co-leader with Dan Snyder for most toxic person in the NFL Deshaun Watson is looking to reboot his career in Cleveland.
Granted, Cal McNair is still the team CEO and the McNair family remains in the ownership position. They have not shown any indications that they want to sell. However, with the recent moves, mainly bringing in Nick Caserio as GM and Lovie Smith as (initially) defensive coordinator and (promoted to) head coach, there is a sense that Cal may have gotten some of the boo-birds off of his back. The on-field performance will be a major determinant of whether his stock improves or not.
Yet, in the litany of names of those in the power structure of the Texans’ fall, there is one name we have not mentioned. That would be one-time interim GM and current Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Mr. Jack Easterby. Yes, everyone’s favorite youth-pastor-come-football-super-genius. He is still in the organization. However, his presence in the organization may not be as powerful as it was once reported. Consider:
- Jack Easterby was considered a major advocate for one-time Texans head coaching candidate Josh McCown, he of (as of this writing) still absolutely ZERO NFL or College coaching experience. Without recapping all of that drama, the Texans decided it would rather take its chances with the more experienced (and already-on-staff) Lovie Smith
- Whereas the 2021 NFL draft saw Jack Easterby an active participant in the Texans war room when they made their picks, several key NFL insiders reported that Jack Easterby was not playing any sort of active role in the 2022 NFL draft, with Nick Caserio and Lovie Smith calling the shots.
- With the Deshaun Watson saga, when the Texans were added to the lawsuits filed by Tony Buzbee on behalf of his clients, particularly the language about the Texans knowing about and enabling his activities, suspicion started to turn towards those in power in the Texans organization. That would include Easterby.
Additionally, several news sources and key insiders are indicating that Jack Easterby may not be long for the Texans. In particular, with the end of the 2022 season, there is the expectation for some that Easterby will move on, looking to seek “other opportunities,” which hopefully will not involve him being a GM or team webmaster.
While Easterby could just be getting the 4-5 year itch, there are appearances that his overt power within the organization is waning. He may still maintain his close relationship with Cal (what that relationship looks like is subject to interpretation). Yet, it is not hard to see that if the power you once held in a place is no longer all that powerful, it is likely that you will not want to stick around, especially if there is no signs of things improving.
This is all caveated by the fact that neither Jack Easterby, nor the Houston Texans, have corroborated any of this speculation. Until otherwise noted, a person can search the Houston Texans website and find Easterby’s mug shot listed as the Executive Vice President of Football Operations. That being said, if Easterby’s days are numbered, and he is fated to move on, it is likely that few in Texans’ fandom will mourn his loss. If nothing else, it will show that the team is truly committed to moving on from the disaster that was the 2019-2021 debacle. Perhaps way too late for some, but it will at least be closure for a team looking to move forward toward the ultimate goal of bring the Super Bowl to the Bayou City.