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Here's why trusting Nick Caserio to push the right buttons for Texans is complicated

We're going to learn a lot about Caserio in the coming weeks. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Many times when a franchise is in serious flux, it's because of a few reasons: an all-time great has retired leaving the team looking for that person's replacement, one or several key players have suffered serious/career-threatening injuries, or said player is getting ready to retire. Rarely is it the case the Texans are dealing with in which a player like Deshaun Watson (their 25-year-old franchise quarterback) is allegedly demanding to be traded.

Nick Caserio undoubtedly took the Texans general manager job thinking he had a franchise quarterback in the fold and re-signed to an extension. However, he quickly found out that wasn't the case. As the Watson drama continues to drag out, Caserio is also faced with the difficulty of reshaping a roster with salary cap issues that's more mangled than a hand caught in a garbage disposal.

Every day, we're watching the headlines waiting for the next shoe to drop. Will Fuller wasn't franchise tagged, so he'll be a free agent. Nick Martin was released, along with a few others. The house cleaning needs to continue. When David Johnson was brought back into the fold, I was a bit shocked. His deal will pay him anywhere from $4.25-6 million, but that money could've been better spent somewhere else. Which begs the question: can we trust Caserio to push all the right buttons to bring this franchise back to being a playoff contender?

The Easterby factor

Some will say they don't trust him to do what's right because he's a first time general manager who's in the back pocket of Jack Easterby. Caserio spent two decades in New England learning what to do, and not do, from Bill Belichick. Easterby plucked him from that situation because he knew Caserio would owe him if he got the job. Given that Easterby did so and apparently has ambitions to run a football team, one would think Caserio would be totally beholden to Easterby's desires and let him make decisions. Looking back at the moves Bill O'Brien made with Easterby in his ear, we see this isn't the most wise thing to do.

On the flip side, I think Caserio will do well. Despite the Watson drama, I expect him to come out smelling like roses. He's already taken the "we're not trading the player" approach. All the leaks about Watson's demands appear to be coming from his camp and not off Kirby. Taking this approach will not only create mystery, but it'll also drive up the price. I love how he's getting rid of the dead weight as well. Being in cap hell isn't easy, but I think he's doing the best he can given the situation. As I mentioned previously, he spent 20 or so years in New England learning under Belichick. That type of experience is unmatched. Some will say he didn't make any major decisions there. I'd counter that by saying he absorbed enough knowledge to know what he'd do differently if given the chance.

Ultimately, I think Caserio will right this ship. I also think he'll get a great haul for Watson if he trades him. He hasn't done anything too terrible yet to say he's worse than any previous regime, although re-signing Johnson was quite puzzling. Trading Watson and what he makes of those draft picks will define his legacy here. I think he will do okay. Will he hit homers on every pick? No, no one ever does. But will he make the right moves and put this team back together and into playoff contention? I believe so, and it'll happen within the next two years. Mark my words.

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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