The search for a new general manager begins. What's next and who could they Texans target?

Texans fire GM Brian Gaine

Brian Gaine had a decent draft. Houstontexans.com

The Houston Texans announced Friday they have fired the team's general manager Brian Gaine after just one and half years as the team's general manager.

The Texans statement

With the comment in the release about Gaine's high character it seems unlikely a scandal is on the horizon. Chris Olsen is a well-respected cap expert around the NFL and he, along with I assume Bill O'Brien's influence, will run the team with Gaine gone.

Alignment erosion

Bill O'Brien and Brian Gaine often talked about the alignment of the organization, something that seemingly wasn't the case with the team's previous general manager Rick Smith. Unless there is a scandal, as we mentioned above is unlikely, it seems something went south between O'Brien and what was viewed as his hand-picked front office guy in Gaine.

O'Brien hasn't had a poor relationship with any of the players Gaine has brought it, in fact, plenty of the players Gaine drafted played early and avoided the dog house rookies often find themselves in with O'Brien.

Cal McNair is not his father

The new man at the top is Cal McNair after his father passed away. Bob McNair would have never done this. He was one of the most patient owners in the NFL. It was often said O'Brien and former GM Rick Smith would come to a disagreement Bob McNair would make them work together and fix it. Ultimately the situation between those two became so toxic O'Brien was entertaining a return to college and Smith stepped down when his wife became sick leading to Brian Gaine to take over.

What does this mean for Bill O'Brien?

I believe this only further consolidates Bill O'Brien's power within the organization. Gaine was seen as an O'Brien guy so with the timing of him leaving, June has most of the roster building completed, O'Brien is the man in the building who knows the team best. Even if the Texans add a new general manager quickly O'Brien should maintain near full power until he becomes intimately familiar with the team and their process.

With the added power, the pressure is on for O'Brien. If the new ownership will fire an important piece of the front office with over three years left on his contract there is no reason to think O'Brien can't be a victim if he fails in 2019. It wouldn't be shocking to learn there is a level he needs to achieve to maintain his job.

Who is the next Texans GM?

Bill O'Brien could use some fresh voices. He has leaned towards people he has previously worked with in the past but something new wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Nick Caserio is the New England Patriots Director of Player Personnel. He was pursued by the Texans before Gaine was hired and declined an attempt interview. I don't imagine he would be leaving his spot in New England. UPDATE: The Texans announced they will no longer pursue Caserio.

Dallas Cowboys Vice President of Player Personnel Will McClay is one of the best in the business but he is with a pseudo-rival and the Jones family loves him. I don't see how he gets away.

Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas has been in contact with the New York Jets about their vacant GM job. It is unclear the status of their pursuit of Douglas. If he is still available he should get an interview. UPDATE: Douglas has been hired by the Jets.

Browns assistant general manager Eliot Wolf just got to Cleveland but is blocked by John Dorsey. He was well respected in the Packers organization before leaving for Cleveland when he didn't get the Packers general manager job.

Scott Pioli was with the Atlanta Falcons as recently as last month before he resigned his post of the assistant general manager. He was the general manager in Kansas City when Romeo Crennel was the head coach and was with the Patriots going as high as the vice president of player personnel.

Watt weighs in

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THE LEFT TURN

NASCAR: Quaker State 400 preview

Photo via: WikiCommons.

This week, the NASCAR cup series heads to Kentucky Motor Speedway for the Quaker State 400. Built in 2001, this track is a 1.5 mile tri-oval with a dog-leg on the front stretch. The most dangerous part of the track has to be turn three as the corner is flat compared to the other three corners that are banked. This has been a major point of contingency for these drivers as most of the cautions end up being there. Look for turn three to be a hot spot come Sunday. Last year, both the Busch brothers finished 1-2 in one of the most exciting finishes of the season so there will be a lot of hype for this race to live up to.

Last week at Indy, as we all expected the race was a crazy one. Over the course of the race's 160 laps, we saw many horrific accidents including a scary pit road accident involving Corey Lajoe, Ryan Blaney, Justin Allgier, Ryan Preece and others. The wreck started when everyone got stacked up entering the pits and the calamity was on from there. During the wreck Brennan Poole struck Rear Tire Changer Zach Price as he was trying to avoid the wrecking cars in front of him. After the incident fans and media alike all held their breath as they awaited news on his condition. But when the camera panned to him being loaded into the ambulance, there was a huge sigh of relief as he gave everyone a thumbs up signifying he was okay. Another scary moment was both Erik Jones and Alex Bowman's vicious crashes. Both cars had tire failures that sent their cars directly into the wall. Fortunately both drivers were okay but their days were over.

In the end, tire wear would end up claiming one more victim as it took out Denny Hamlin as well. With seven laps to go, the four-time winner this season was in prime position to get his fifth victory until his right front tire blew out, sending him hard into the turn 2 wall. This mishap handed the win to his main rival in the championship, Kevin Harvick, as he went on to claim his third Brickyard 400 victory and fourth win of the year. When it was all over, many questioned why there were so many tire failures and if new owner Roger Penske would make an effort to possibly widen the pit-road after the massive accident on Sunday.

Needless to say, there are a lot of questions on what will be different at Indy in 2021. When I talked to spotter Freddie Kraft on Tuesday, he gave a lot of good insights on both topics. When it came to the tire failures, he talked about how the increasing corner speeds at the racetrack has put a lot of pressure on these Goodyear tires which eventually led to them coming apart. As far as Pit-Road and what they can do to fix that, he talked about how it is difficult to make changes to a track that is so historical. Which makes sense, but he followed this up by saying that maybe it would be wise to give up a little history and move the wall over and make it wider. It will be interesting to see what NASCAR does in the coming months.

On Friday, Associated Press journalist Jenna Fryer revealed a bombshell announcement that 7-time champion and NASCAR's biggest name Jimmie Johnson, had tested positive for coronavirus. As everyone knows, the world is going through the worst pandemic it's ever faced in this lifetime. With the sport coming back and racing again, it was only a matter of time until one of the drivers came down with it. Unfortunately it had to be NASCAR's most recognizable driver. Thankfully, Jimmie made a full recovery and was cleared to return this weekend at Kentucky. This was a big scare for everyone in the NASCAR world, but I have to give a lot of credit to Johnson for being as forthright as he was about his diagnosis with everyone who he works with. It will be good to have Jimmie back on Sunday.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Kyle Busch. While this season has been a disappointment for the defending champion, Kentucky would be a great place for him to turn it around. Ever since the cup series has started going there, Kyle has always been in contention to win. In fact, he won the first cup series race that was run at this track back in 2011. In his nine starts there, Kyle has finished outside the top ten only once and even then he finished 12th, back in 2016. Last season it appeared that Kyle was on his way to a third victory at this track, but he came up one spot short to his brother Kurt in a fantastic last lap duel. After a late race restart this weekend though, I see Kyle redeeming himself and capturing his first victory of 2020. Look for Kyle to get back on track come Sunday.


All stats and information used in this article are brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com, the best websites for all NASCAR stats.

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