Being a Texans fans translates into a multitude of meanings for thousands of people. Within the NRG Stadium hallways, their actions continue to instil distain & divide the fanbase on a range of issues, whilst the on-field remains secondary to the self-created side-show. With eyes on the future, that all seemed to be waning until this week.
The arrival of Nick Caserio, the subsequent arrival & departure of David Culley, has been an undoubted period of limited progress with a nagging sense of familiarity. In part, due to the perseverance with the now removed Tim Kelly’s tedious offence but most is borne out of the resentment towards Jack Easterby. His continued “meddling” within any willing faction of the ball club will continue to cause on-going consternation.
In the space of a week, many had felt a growing sense of ease about his role, despite Nick’s articulation containing a mis-representation of Easterby’s duties prior to his own arrival. But nonetheless, with a list of viable head-coaching interviews, progress was palpable. Then the perceived bomb-shell of Josh McCowan being interviewed for the consecutive year emerged.
In the climate of digital sports media being structured to derive clicks, the Texans perceived dysfunction and anything related to the former character coach will deliver that. It’s important to not live and die with every churn of the news cycle and see things objectively, over a greater time span than the here and now. It’s also important to not take a perception of a few comments on whatever social channel as general views. As many who buy season tickets, merchandise and travel with this team, pay little attention to these mediums.
Whether you view this team from a “global view” or tailgate every Sunday, conversing views heard on local sports radio, personal perception will override or sway your thoughts. Considering much of the NFL’s media’s narrative is placement by shadowed figured (agents) to create a perception, regardless of validity. In the absence of wins, the Texans continue to provide a perfect storm for commentary.
Whether you label it as media bluster or genuine criticism, that will never dissipate with Jack Easterby as an executive. The McCowan interview showed further disregard for outside commotion. In some cases you could say, rightly so. But in this particular case, considering the protagonist, it required a more careful approach.
Rather than a public flaunting of his interview, what stopped them quietly picking up the phone to McCowan? It would have made zero material difference to the process of constructing this next coaching staff. Similarly to announcing they’d spoken with Hines Ward, he and McCowan are both in stark contrast to the calibre of Brian Flores, Jonathan Gannon, Joe Lombardi and Kevin O’Connell. But Ward wasn’t oddly hired in the final year of his career, standing at the podium outwardly lavishing Jack Easterby’s supposed vision for this club. McCowan did. Moreover, these actions contradict the GM’s comments, only days earlier.
As a position-coach, there aren’t many more qualified, as back-up QB is effectively a coaching role. After eighteen years of learning, developing and teaching younger quarterbacks on 12 teams, McCowan was even given play-calling duties during Philadelphia’s pre-season. His experience & credentials are there in abundance but not for the top job. Furthermore, the optics how this translates in football-circles could be very counter productive for a club trying to build back.
Regardless of how this plays out, it begs the question: who would want to take this job, if McCowan is on the staff? Would you take your first dream job, at the pinnacle of the profession, with someone over your shoulder, who’s uniquely placed next to a controversial figure with a track history of having people axed? Once more it’s a self-made problem. How real is that issue? We will only know once the next head coach is announced.
The Texans and Caserio have a chance this off-season to give this team an identity and that is typically created through the head-coach. There’s been a stern fixation of Caserio’s role and how he appears to be the dominant partner in the GM-HC relationship. Whether his approach & Easterby’s influence will continue to be so public, remains to be seen. But it’s clear that the incoming coach will have to accept both those facts as conditions of the role.
Gannon appears to the perfect fit when considering their current structure. Surprisingly, Jerrod Mayo or Josh McDaniels have yet to be called upon, whilst Gannon is reported to be set for a 2nd interview. So if Caserio is about to pleasantly surprise many by abandoning the Patriots guard-rails. Then that may be first step, in a long, long time that we can even feel a sense of progress and footballing normality.
But we all know it won’t be that simple.