I do not believe there is a single ardent fan of the Houston Texans who is surprised by the news this afternoon that Bill O’Brien is now officially the Texans’ general manager.
Texans have given coach Bill O'Brien the GM title and promoted Jack Easterby to executive vice president of football operations.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) January 28, 2020
The Texans’ head coach had unofficially been pulling double duty as coach and GM since the organization suddenly fired Brian Gaine back in June. After a botched run at luring Nick Caserio away from the Patriots and to Houston ended shortly after Gaine’s removal, the team’s position was that O’Brien would be part of a multi-person effort to fill the GM vacancy, but it soon became clear that O’Brien was undoubtedly the lead voice in personnel matters. In that regard, today’s announcement of a promotion for O’Brien is little more than making an informal arrangement formal.
Here’s what Cal McNair had to say about the move:
A statement from Houston Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair on title changes for Bill O’Brien (Head Coach and General Manager) and Jack Easterby (Executive Vice President of Football Operations):— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) January 28, 2020
» https://t.co/KjfeVTXtEY pic.twitter.com/vABMYlSC2L
Interestingly, John McClain reports that the new titles won’t come with any additional financial compensation for O’Brien or Easterby.
O'Brien has been the GM without the title since last offseason. Easterby is his right-hand man. Neither is getting an extension or more money.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) January 28, 2020
If anyone had dreams of Caserio or someone else decamping to Houston in the next month or three to give the Texans another voice on the subject of roster management, those dreams are now dead. If there was ever any question that the Houston Texans are Bill O’Brien’s team, there shouldn’t be any longer.
In fact, the ongoing removal of Texans employees who were not hand-picked by O’Brien continues unabated, right down to the pro and college scouting administrative assistant. According to Lance Zierlein, more current employees will likely be told to seek work elsewhere after the 2020 NFL Draft is over.
Look for more after the draft too. https://t.co/F6PnLy9vIr— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) January 28, 2020
If it wasn’t already, the success or failure of the Houston Texans on the field is now almost inextricably linked to that of Bill O’Brien. The coach can’t blame the general manager for not getting him enough talent, and the GM can’t blame the coach for failing to fully develop the talent he has. For better or worse, all fingers point in one direction.