It’s time to once again salute the Houston Texans, the NFL franchise with the worst-run front office in the sport. The Texans are the most recent NFL team to experience a bevy of embarrassing headlines, stemming from the latest in a long line of embarrassing incidents.
The Houston Texans’ season opener drew a bunch of attention to them, and not just because of their terrible record and overrated quarterback. The team’s team owner, Bob McNair, used a controversial term to talk about wanting to see NFL players “get back in line” and disrespecting the flag. He subsequently apologized, which is nice, but not what anyone wanted to hear.
The Houston Texans are the worst-run franchise in sports. They are also one of the least-successful. What’s gone wrong? Does it have something to do with new coach Bill O’Brien? The front office? The fans? The stadium? The players? When you dig a little deeper, it’s a bit of a mess.
The Houston Texans are the worst-run team in the league. The organization’s current focus is on the future of franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson. However, the issues date back farther. The hunt for a new general manager in Houston was a disaster. The appointment of a new head coach by the Texans was a similar catastrophe. The Watson fiasco is simply the latest example of the organization’s ineptness.
With or without Watson, Houston will have a difficult season on the field. And all indications are that the 25-year-old will never play another down for the club, compounding the problems. But it’s the organization’s off-field, back-room, and front-office turmoil that’s bringing it down. Whatever happens on the field will not improve any time soon if the franchise can’t get its act together upstairs.
The Houston Texans parted ways with Bill O’Brien, and things only got worse.
Houston allowed Bill O’Brien to lead the team from 2014 until the fourth game of the season, when the management ultimately fired him. In six seasons as a head coach, O’Brien had a 52-48 record with two playoff victories. He wasn’t very effective on the field.
The real problems began when O’Brien was given the authority to make personnel choices in addition to his head coaching responsibilities. From 2019 until his dismissal, he served as Houston’s general manager. According to CBSSports, the following were some of the franchise’s movements throughout that time:
- The Arizona Cardinals acquired DeAndre Hopkins in exchange for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round selection, and a 2021 fourth-round pick.
- To replace Hopkins’ performance, the team traded a 2020 second-round selection for receiver Brandin Cooks and overpaid Randall Cobb in free agency.
- A 2020 first-round selection, a 2021 first-round pick, a 2021 second-round pick, and two players were traded for offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil. The haul O’Brien delivered to Miami for Tunsil negated whatever bargaining power he had, and the tackle was eventually signed to a three-year deal for $22 million each season. He became the league’s highest-paid tackle.
- Delay in trading edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney, resulting in a lower return since Clowney would become a free agency after one season in his new club.
All of this occurred before the franchise went completely off the rails.
The Houston Texans have officially been dubbed “sports’ worst-run franchise.”
During a game against the Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson reacts to a play. | Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
Before turning the Texans over to his son Cal, Bob McNair controlled the team. McNair left the majority of the subsequent procedures to Executive VP of Football Operations Jack Easterby (who had worked with O’Brien in New England). According to SI.com, prior to his position of power in Houston, Easterby was the New England Patriots’ character coach and team chaplain. He took a big step.
According to ESPN, McNair hired a search firm to find a new general manager, but he and Easterby ignored the search firm’s finalists, wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process, instead hiring New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio, who had connections with Easterby during his time with the Patriots. The front office gave Watson influence in the decision, but he was subsequently disregarded throughout the process. So started the franchise quarterback’s journey out of town. (It’s worth noting that Watson is now the subject of a criminal investigation by both the NFL and the police.)
David Culley, the new head coach, was the next to be hired. According to NFL.com, Culley was most recently the associate head coach/passing coordinator/wide receivers coach in Baltimore. Houston was his only interview for a head coaching job. Now he’s thrown into the fire with a team that’s in total chaos, is on the verge of trading their franchise quarterback, and lacks skill.
Is there even a future to look forward to?
Tyrod Taylor will be the starting quarterback for the Texans in 2021. Cooks is the team’s greatest outside weapon, while Johnson, who had his best season five years ago, is part of a running back platoon with Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram, who is 31 years old.
After going two seasons without a first-round selection, the team has started to recover the draft money O’Brien squandered. Because of the dearth of quality on its roster, Houston should have early first-round selections in the coming years. However, given the front office that has been put together and the manner in which it has been put together, it seems fair to assume that the Texans will miss on some picks. If Watson is dealt, the compensation will be much below what a club should expect for a 25-year-old top-10 franchise quarterback.
Houston’s front office is completely new and seems to be doomed from the start. The appointment of Caserio was a disaster, and Culley is a complete unknown as a head coach. In recent years, things have not gone well for the Texans. They aren’t doing well right now. And it doesn’t seem like the future will be any better.
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