Texans Facing Power Structure Questions After Sudden GM Firing
The Texans "rocked the NFL" by firing GM Brian Gaine on Friday after just 17 months on the job, as the franchise is an "organization that takes pride in its front-office stability," according to a front-page piece by John McClain of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. After Gaine's firing, Texans Senior VP/Football Administration Chris Olsen, who "negotiates contracts and oversees the salary cap, was put in charge of the front office on an interim basis." Texans Chair & CEO Cal McNair said that the search for Gaine’s replacement "will begin immediately." Sources said that McNair "did not like the direction the organization was going under Gaine and the general manager’s relationship with coach Bill O’Brien had eroded." Rather than "allow his concerns about Gaine to extend into next season, McNair elected to make the decision Friday." Sources also said that there was "no one incident that triggered the decision and that it was made over time." Texans co-Founder & Senior Chair Janice McNair "signed off on her son’s decision." Sources said that the Texans are interested in Patriots Dir of Player Personnel Nick Caserio "because of his ties to O’Brien although it is unclear if New England would allow him to seek another job" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/8).
WHO IS IN CONTROL? In Houston, Jerome Solomon wrote Gaine "didn’t do anything in his year and a half on the job to indicate he was going to lead the Texans to a Super Bowl anytime soon." Solomon: "So, when is Bill O’Brien going to be fired?" Gaine "was an O’Brien hire," but now the question is "whether Gaine is an O’Brien fire." The Texans are "now Cal McNair’s team." The "bungling of this GM hire/fire shouldn’t make Texans fans any more confident the organization knows what it is doing" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/9). Also in Houston, Brian Smith noted O'Brien has "now been through two GMs" since '14. The Texans "look silly just 18 months after they went through an exhaustive 'search' that was always zeroed in on Gaine" (CHRON.com, 6/7). Smith wrote in NFL terms, Cal McNair is a "literal real-life question mark," as he has "yet to engage in depth with the media." Elite franchises are "aligned and united." The Texans "look like a pushover constantly being bullied by the most intense voice inside the stadium." The franchise "must hire the best GM for the job," not the GM that O’Brien "wants the most" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/9). PFT's Mike Florio said of O'Brien, "At some point as you build up this long list of people that you can't get along with, at some point it's not them, it's you that's the problem" ("PFT," NBCSN, 6/10).
MAN IN CHARGE: THE MMQB's Albert Breer writes the "takeaway from the Texans stunner" is that the NFL is a "coach’s league." The four coaches who played in the conference championships in January -- the Chiefs' Andy Reid, Saints' Sean Payton, Rams' Sean McVay and Patriots' Bill Belichick -- all "carry a big stick in their respective organizations." If a team has a good coach, and the Texans "believe they do, chances are that guy’s voice will resonate." History "tells us sustained winners generally empower their coaches" (SI.com, 6/10).