Houston breathes a sigh of relief as Texans punt controversial front office VP

Houston breathes a sigh of relief as Texans punt controversial front office VP
The Texans showed the fans they care on Monday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

Whatever words you want to use - “dismissed,” “fired,” “parted ways,” “resigned” — ding dong, Jack Easterby is gone as executive vice president of football operations for the Houston Texans.

A collective sigh of fans’ relief spread across Houston when intrepid ESPN reporter Adam Schefter broke the story of the controversial and roundly despised Easterby’s departure early on Monday, October 17. Relief followed by good riddance and what took the Texans so long?

Easterby joined the Texans in 2019 and quickly gained power through his friendship with team owner Cal McNair. Easterby was roundly criticized for weaving religious fervor in his role as head of football operations. According to the Texans website, Easterby was “responsible for the vision and oversight” of the team.

Let’s review: during Easterby’s tenure, the Texans went 9-29 on the field, the team’s star quarterback went on a rampage of sexual misconduct with 20, or 22, make that 24 female masseuses (and counting), traded perhaps the most talented receiver in the NFL for a broken down running back and a handful of magic beans, hired and fired coaches to where the Texans currently are paying three different head coaches, and watched fans abandoned going to games.

Only a few years ago, the Texans had a waiting list in the tens of thousands for season tickets. Now the stadium is half-empty and seats can be had for pocket change on secondary ticket sites. The Texans are 1-3-1 this season, in last place in the AFC South.

For years, Houston sports talk hosts and writers pleaded for the team to unload Easterby. That could be one reason that Easterby lasted as long as he did. NFL owners ain’t about to let the media dictate how they run their teams.

Today, we’re hearing comments like “there’ll be rejoicing throughout the organization” and “a pox on the team is gone.”

My football buddy Ed said, “you can’t call him a cancer on the team because cancer kills you, the team is still around. He was more like an STD that lingered.” (Don’t scratch, that only makes it worse.)

Easterby avoided the media like a biblical plague. In the few glimpses we got of him, he came off like, as Jimmy Buffett would describe, a conniving “television preacher with bad hair and dimples,” the only difference being Easterby had no hair.

A Sports Illustrated exposé on Easterby revealed that he brought a “culture of mistrust and constant chaos among staff and players,” arranged for illegal team practices and flouted safety rules during COVID, and reportedly hired private eyes to follow players during their off-hours.

Easterby, 39, started as an academic tutor at the University of South Carolina, then an entry-level intern with the Jacksonville Jaguars, became team chaplain for the New England Patriots, then character coach, before his meteoric and totally baffling rise to head of football operations with the Texans.

The S.I. piece pinned Easterby with backstabbing other executives and decision-makers, breaking NFL rules, pushing the trade of Hopkins, and generally leaving the Texans organization a $4.7 billion dumpster fire.

The Texans released this statement on Monday afternoon from McNair:

“I met with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Jack Easterby and we have mutually agreed to part ways. For the remainder of the season, effective immediately, his responsibilities will be absorbed by our Football Operations staff. We acknowledge Jack's positive contributions and wish him and his family the best in the future.”

As fans are gleefully and sarcastically note on talk radio and online discussion boards: “He won’t be missed.”

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The Texans are releasing corner Shaq Griffin. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images.

One of the big factors that led to the Texans' loss to the Jaguars on Sunday was the secondary. Multiple flags for pass interference gave Jacksonville more opportunities to pick up first downs and score points.

So it's no surprise that DeMeco Ryans is making some changes to his defense this week. According to several reports, Texans corner Shaq Griffin has been cut.

Nickel corner Tavierre Thomas was flagged for PI more than once on Sunday, and was burned badly by Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley for a touchdown.

DeMeco was asked after the game if he considered replacing Thomas with Desmond King or Shaq Griffin. Ryans didn't give a definitive answer, but it looks like we got one today.

One has to wonder if Desmond Kings' experience playing nickel was the reason for his promotion to the active roster and why Griffin was released. If Thomas continues to struggle, King looks like the next man up to replace him.

The Texans also made some other adjustments to their roster on Wednesday, per Aaron Wilson. Linebacker Denzel Perryman returns from suspension, kicker Matt Ammendola and linebacker Garret Wallow join the practice squad. They also released Gerrid Doaks from the practice squad.

The other big piece of news involves left guard Tytus Howard. He heads to injured reserve, ending his season after hurting his knee against Jacksonville.

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