7 things I don't know for a fact, but just know are true about Nick Caserio

Some important things to consider. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Plenty of fans and media have voiced their displeasure with the hiring of GM Nick Caserio, and their concerns are more than valid. But I wanted to look at this hiring from a different perspective, because my only real concern with this hire has more to do with former NFL team chaplain, Jack Easterby, still being in the building and possibly having input into personnel decisions. So I decided to put this list together and give a tip of the cap to one of my favorite HBO Real Time segments that gave me the idea for this article. So without further ado:

Here are 7 things I don't know for a fact, but just know are true about Nick Caserio.

1) He CLEARLY wanted the job. The Texans tried to hire Nick Caserio in 2019 but failed to do so because they handled the process in an incompetent manner, surprise surprise, which caused the Patriots to file tampering charges against Houston. Fast-forward to 2021 when Caserio interviews for the job in person, unlike several other candidates, when he could have done it over Zoom. If you really want a job, you show up in person for the interview. Especially when there were reports not that long ago stating the Texans might wait a year to hire a new GM and coach when COVID isn't an issue and interviews can take place in person. He read the room, the room being CEO Cal McNair, and got on a flight to Houston and landed the job. Also, he put language in his Patriots contract after the debacle with the Texans that would preclude a tampering issue from occurring again.

2) He won't be overpaying veteran players with big money. Overpaying guys, especially players with only a couple of good years left, is not how he's been taught to do business. Caserio does not seem like a guy that would have offered Whitney Mercilus the boat anchor contract he currently has that's killing the Texans' cap. Countless times we've seen the Patriots walk away from a player one year too early, instead of one year too late. Richard Seymour comes to mind when the Pats were able to get a first round pick for him late in his career and sent him on his way to the Raiders. Tom Brady will likely be another example. Sure Brady had a great season, but next year could be a different story. It will be interesting to see what he does with JJ Watt.

3) He's basically had the GM job in New England for several years. The Texans' other candidates can't say the same. Belichick may have had the final say on the big decisions, but he's the best coach in NFL history. The GM candidates the Texans have already interviewed were the number two or number three guys in their respective front offices.

4) Caserio can bring all three phases of the football building together. You want a guy that can bring together coaches, players, and the front office. This is something Lance Zierlein mentioned in one of our SportsMap videos this week. Caserio has worked in all phases of the organization. Yes, he's known for his experience in New England's front office, but he was also the wide receivers coach for the 2007 Patriots. Brady threw 50 TD passes that year. Caserio also played QB in college for John Carroll University, so he has some experience in all three phases.

5) He knows what he's getting into as far as lack of draft capital and cap space. Caserio's been considering this job for a year and a half, so he would be crazy not to keep an eye on what the Texans have been up to. And let's face it, the national media has been crushing the Texans' decisions for months, so you would have to be living under a rock to not know what's going on in Houston. Plus, whatever you think about Jack Easterby, Caserio has had the opportunity to talk to him and get some information that may not be widely known.

6) He's very familiar with how a great QB can elevate a roster without a ton of talent. This one is easy. The Pats haven't been that great for several years from a talent standpoint, but because of Tom Brady, they were contenders for a Super Bowl every year. This will be extremely important since all the Texans have is Deshaun Watson and a bunch of dudes for the most part.

7) He knows Jack Easterby better than any other GM candidate they interviewed. This one is also pretty simple, and Caserio could win the entire fan base over if he shocks the world and fires Easterby. Clearly, that may not happen. But if he can get Easterby to handle the tasks in Houston like he did in New England where he was actually an asset to the franchise, that would be huge.

At this point as Texans fans all we can do is give Caserio a chance and hope that he hires the right coach, and doesn't let Easterby cause problems in the building. The Patriots are good at managing the salary cap, and he will certainly need that experience since the Texans are currently more than $17 million over the cap for 2021. Sometimes a hiring looks like the wrong move at the moment but ends up working out for the best. Let's just hope this is one of those times.

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Nick Caserio's history of drafting injury prone players has become a problem. Composite Getty Image.

Nick Caserio was hired to serve as the general manager (GM) of the Texans on January 7, 2021. Some saw it as another nod to the organization's obsession with the Patriots. Others saw it as the team finally getting their guy after pursuing him previously. They were even hit with a tampering charge while trying to talk to him about the job. Since he's been on the job, there have been highs and lows.

Recently, the news about Kenyon Green and Derek Stingley Jr put a stain on his tenure. Green was placed on season-ending injured reserve (IR) and Stingley Jr is expected to be placed on IR, likely missing six to eight weeks, per Aaron Wilson. Both guys were Caserio's 2022 first rounders. Both guys are starting to look like busts and have fans a little more than just upset.

Green's case was curious because he was said to have needed surgery before he tore his labrum during the Saints preseason game. He had knee surgery this past offseason. There were knee injury concerns when he was coming out of A&M. Adding to his injuries, Green has played poorly. To make matters worse, the Chargers drafted fellow guard Zion Johnson two picks later. Johnson played all 17 games last season as a rookie at right guard and has moved to left guard this season. The pick used to draft Green was part of a trade back with the Eagles. They used the 13th overall pick to take Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis, a guy at a position this team could desperately use.

Stingley Jr was a highly touted recruit coming into LSU as a freshman. He played as well as any corner in the country that year. Oh, and they won a national title with arguably one of the best teams in college football history. His net two years in Baton Rouge were marred with injuries. Some believed his junior year was more him holding back to stay healthy for the draft. It worked because he was taken third overall, one spot ahead of Sauce Gardner. Gardner went on to be an All Pro as a rookie. While he's surrounded by more talent on the Jets' defense, people will forever link them because Stingley Jr hasn't lived up to expectations. He missed six games last season and is set to miss at least that many this season. When he has played, he's looked okay. “Okay” isn't what you want from a guy drafted third overall ahead of the other guy who was widely considered better than him.

For the 2021 draft, Caserio was handcuffed. He had no first or second rounders, and made a few trades that lessened his draft pool from eight to five picks. Of the five guys drafted that year, only Nico Collins seems to be a player. The 2022 draft was more productive. Although Green and Stingley Jr were the headliners and haven't played up to the hype, the others are carrying the load. Jalen Pitre and Dameon PIerce alone make that draft class dope. This past draft was seen as the one to save the franchise so to speak. Getting C.J. Stroud and Will Anderson Jr got the team a franchise quarterback and edge rusher with picks two and three overall. The price paid to move back up to three was hefty and puts more scrutiny on Anderson Jr. They appear, so far, to have also found a couple other nice players. Tank Dell being the hidden gem of this class.

While people can't, and shouldn't, base Caserio's performance strictly off of the guys he's drafted, one must call it into question. The '21 draft was a wash. The '22 draft looks suspect, but has some redeeming qualities. The '23 draft will most likely be his saving grace. But should it? Former Texans GM Rick Smith nailed almost every first rounder he drafted. Even he was almost run out of town because folks didn't like what he did. Why should Caserio be any different? So what if he cleaned up the mess by the previous regime! That's what he was hired to do!

“Keep that same energy!” That phrase is used when people try to hold others to different standards. Where's that energy everyone had for Bill O'Brien, Jack Easterby, Rick Smith, Gary Kubiak, David Culley, and Lovie Smith? When others weren't performing well, their heads were called for. I see some people holding Caserio accountable. For the most part, it appears as if he's getting a bit of a pass. I'll be interested to see if this continues should the team has another subpar season. If that pick they traded to the Cardinals is another top 10 pick and the Browns pick the Texans own isn't...if Green can't come back and/or Stingley Jr doesn't show any signs of being a lockdown corner...then what? Let's hope none of this comes to fruition. If it does, we'll have to revisit this conversation.

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