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How the Texans could benefit from potential Rooney Rule amendment

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The NFL instituted the Rooney Rule to encourage teams to include minorities in the hiring process for head coaches and general managers. The rule states teams must interview at least one minority candidate in their hiring process before making a hire. This was presumably to be done in good faith. However, teams have found a myriad of ways to make a mockery of the rule and its intentions. To pour salt in the wound, there's a disproportionate amount of minority head coaches and GMs in the league.

Given the great racial divide, the NFL has tossed around the idea of giving teams the incentive of moving up in the draft if they hire a minority head coach (six spots) and/or GM (ten spots). Those changes have to be voted upon. However, there are other changes that will be in place starting this point forward. They include: teams must interview at least two external minority candidates for head coaching positions, at least one for coordinator positions, and at least one for senior-level front office positions (females were included in the front office positions).

So how could the Texans benefit from all this? Where could they stand to improve their team? Here's how I see it:


Bye Bye Bill O'Brien!

About two months ago, I made my case to be Bill O'Brien's replacement. The Texans must've ignored my plea because I haven't gotten a call or email yet. A week later, I gave a realistic exit for O'Brien. Depending on how this season goes, that plan may be executed in the offseason. I've previously stated my hope for Chiefs' offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy to be hired as head coach given his tutelage under Andy Reid and what they've done for Pat Mahomes. ESPN's Louis Riddick is a very sharp guy who'd be a good GM hire given he's served in front offices previously, and he's pretty talented evaluating talent on television. Bringing back Rick Smith would be another front office move I could see Cal McNair doing. Getting out from under the dictatorship of buffoonery should be priority number one.

Draft position improvements

Looking at the Texans' lack of draft picks could present an unattractive task to any incoming regime. Couple that with the piss-poor contract extensions that have been handed out, I wouldn't be surprised if the organization had to overpay and over-promise. The potential to maximize the minimal draft capital the Texans have could help entice candidates. Knowing you're without a 1st or 2nd rounder, but have a greatly improved position in the 3rd and possibly 4th rounds helps. That, and number four is under center is a nice carrot to dangle.

Quality replacements

Quality minority candidates are out there. Anthony Weaver is the new defensive coordinator on Kirby and replaces an aging Romeo Crennel. Many questioned his hire. How do you find the next hot coaching prospect unless you give them a shot no one else was willing to give? This applies to minority candidates. I was shocked Bieniemy didn't get hired this offseason. When Sean McVey's assistants got hired after one or two good seasons, you'd think Bieniemy would've been a shoo-in. The Dolphins hired minorities at head coach and GM last offseason. After fleecing the Texans for numerous draft picks and flipping other players into more picks, they used said picks to stockpile young talent. They also spent their cap space wisely to bring in veteran talent and are well on their way to contending for the AFC East in the post-Brady era.

The Texans are in an unenviable position. Number four makes this job a lot more attractive despite the other obvious flaws this organization has. One thing an incoming regime could take solace in is job security. The McNairs are notoriously slow to pull the trigger on organizational changes when it comes to head coaches and GMs. They'd come in knowing they'd have at least four to five years to build something. The first one or two years may be difficult given the shape the organization is currently in, so that job security looks even better. Do I see the McNairs being the type of folk who'd actually go through with an idea this radical? Not really. But what better way for Cal to take charge and put his own stamp on this organization's future than with a total reset under this potential rule change. It could also help set a trend and that's something this team is not known for. In the meantime, we wait. The jackassery on Kirby can't last forever.

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The Texans have a big decision to make. Composite image by Jack Brame

The last few weeks have brought us some very interesting episodes of "As Kirby Turns." Cal McNair has admitted he hasn't spoken with Deshaun Watson and has also doubled down on his affinity for Jack Easterby by saying he's staying around. The franchise's only member of their Ring of Honor, Andre Johnson, came completely out of character by tweeting his support for Watson to "stand his ground" in what most assume is his desire to play elsewhere. Newly hired general manager Nick Caserio has the hardest job in the NFL because he's basically a one leg man in a bleep kicking contest. National and local media are all floating rumors and opinions about Watson's status with the team. Meanwhile, Watson himself has been cryptic and hasn't come out and said one thing either way about his status with the team.

My opinion is that he won't be traded and this is his way of using the leverage he has to get some things done his way to ensure more of his career won't be wasted. Once they hire a head coach he approves of and they talk, he'll be back in the fold and blow things over by saying he never demanded a trade and was only upset about some things due to miscommunication. Blah blah blah. However, where there's smoke, there must be fire. I'll examine some pros and cons to a potential trade of Watson.

Bad news first. This franchise has waited its entire existence for a franchise quarterback like Watson. Finally getting one and having to deal him amidst the bumbling owner and charlatan right-hand man would be a big blow to overcome. This coming year is shaping up to be difficult as it is, but doing so with Watson wearing a different jersey could prove to be a near fatal blow. It would take an additional year or so to recover. The only way this timeline is expedited, is if they get a quarterback back in the trade or with one of the draft picks that they feel can be the man moving forward.

The bright side. Watson is this team's most attractive asset as it looks to rebuild. There are teams in the top five of this year's draft who need quarterbacks, and a couple of them have multiple first round picks. The Jets, #2 and #23 overall in the first round this draft, are the most intriguing destination because they may be bad next season with Watson if you get that pick in the trade as well. Throw in Sam Darnold, who's still young and salvageable, and this could be a hard reset that may not take as long. The Dolphins, #3 and #18 overall this draft, also have a lot to offer. Rumor has it Watson would like to go to Miami in a deal that includes Tua Tagovailoa, who was a guy Caserio liked when entering the draft. Again, another potential hard reset that may not take long if either young quarterback pans out. You could also trade back from those top slots to acquire more picks to help fill some of the many holes you have.

I reiterate, I do not believe Watson will be traded. I'm not even sure his no trade clause is applicable since he's still under his rookie contract and his extension hasn't kicked in yet. The new CBA rules call for stiffer penalties for players who refuse to report, so a holdout is highly unlikely. I'll be glad when they hire a coach Watson likes, and we get the happy family press conference introducing him, so this soap opera can move on to its next episode.

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