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

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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The Astros are back in action Friday night against Seattle. Composite Getty Image.

The Astros were a season low 12 games under .500 (12-24) on May 8th but were able to turn things around and entered the All-Star break with a respectable 50-46 record.

The turnaround can be attributed to better performances on the field by a multitude of players, but there are still things that could be improved to ensure a successful second half of the season.

As it currently stands, Houston is only one game behind the Seattle Mariners in the American League West division race, and the Astros should have key players returning from injury to further bolster their playoff ambitions.

The return of the King

Kyle Tucker has been on the injured list with a shin contusion for six weeks now, and looks to return in the near future.

The Astros have done surprisingly well without their three-time All-Star outfielder thanks to contributions from guys like Joey Loperfido, Jake Meyers and Marcio Dubon in the outfield. Plus, Jose Altuve, Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman, Yanier Diaz and Jeremy Pena carrying the offense while King Tuck is away.

Before getting hurt, the 27-year-old was hitting .266/.395/.584 through 60 games. Houston already has one of the best offenses in baseball, and adding Tucker back would give the Astros another high-quality bat to further bolster their lineup.

The latest update is Tucker has been playing catch and could start a rehab assignment soon if all goes well.

Fix the rotation

Starting pitching has been a major issue this season due to a multitude of injuries.

Cristian Javier, Jose Urquidy and J.P. France have all been lost for the year with various surgeries and guys like Justin Verlander and Luis Garcia are trying to work their way back from their injured list stints.

Garcia was recently pulled from his rehab assignment and won’t pitch again until he is ready. Meanwhile, Verlander could be closer to his return and is throwing bullpen sessions as of July 14. Getting both of these pitchers back at some point this season will be a huge boost to this roster.

The current Astros’ rotation consists of Framber Valdez, Ronel Blanco, Hunter Brown, Spencer Arrighetti and Jake Bloss. Although not a bad rotation by any means, the starting pitching depth is getting pretty thin and Houston can ill afford another injury to their staff.

Astros general manager Dana Brown has been vocal about his desire to add starting pitching, and could have some options heading into the trade deadline. Players like Jack Flaherty, Garrett Crochet or Yusei Kikuchi, just to name a few, could be low risk high reward pitchers the Astros could acquire to add depth to their rotation.

Another option would be to call up A.J. Blubaugh from Sugar Land. The 24-year-old has a 6-2 record with a 3.46 ERA in 71.1 innings pitched this season for the Space Cowboys and could be a necessary depth piece to add to the rotation.

Play Astros baseball

The Astros have been playing better baseball as of late and have won 18 of their last 23 games. With players like Kyle Tucker and Justin Verlander potentially returning soon, there is reason to believe Houston can make the playoffs for the 8th consecutive season.

The 'Stros will try to take sole possession of first place in their division from the Mariners when the two teams meet for three games at T-Mobile Park starting on Friday night.

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