The Bill O’Brien firing puts a spotlight on Jack Easterby

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The Texans have fired Bill O’Brien as head coach and General Manager, after an 0-4 start to his tenure in both jobs. The Texans did not fire Jack Easterby as executive V.P. of football operations, after an 0-4 start to his tenure in the position.

That disconnect raises several obvious questions about Easterby’s role in O’Brien’s firing, and in Easterby’s future with the team.

First, did owner Cal McNair make the decision to fire O’Brien with or without Easterby’s input? If McNair sought Easterby’s input, what did Easterby say? Was the idea for the firing initiated by McNair or planted by Easterby?

Remember this: Easterby has had an unusual path to the top of the ladder of an NFL franchise. Some league insiders believe he has thrived based more on interpersonal style than football substance. So if, for example, he were to express opinions on O’Brien’s performance, it’s fair to wonder how Easterby would even be able to properly make those assessments.

Second, did McNair consider firing Easterby, too?

Third, what role will Easterby have in hiring a new coach and/or General Manager?

Fourth, is Easterby accountable for the performance of the football team, like a coach of G.M. would be, or is he insulated from that? His unconventional background could allow him to do what plenty of other NFL executives have done in the past: Take credit when things go well, and run for cover when the crap hits the fan, claiming that he’s not a “football guy.”

Regardless, the fact that O’Brien was fired and Easterby wasn’t raises real questions about Easterby’s role in getting O’Brien fired (if any) and Easterby’s power moving forward. When those questions are answered, more will be known about the direction of the franchise — and the attractiveness of the coaching and G.M. jobs in Houston, since whoever is hired may have to answer to Easterby first and Cal McNair second.

12 responses to “The Bill O’Brien firing puts a spotlight on Jack Easterby

  1. As long as Easterby stays as V.P., which is more of a business position, then I’m fine with it. He has no business with personnel though, and if McNair puts him as GM then that’s even more of a screwup than having O’Brien as GM. Easterby has literally NO NFL personnel experience, at least O’Brien looked at skill and scouting. If Easterby helps with the hiring of the GM and coach, that’s fine – just keep him away from football decisions.

  2. EVP seems like a rather odd target for criticism after a poor start to the season.

    Are the Texans 0-4 because they failed to meet Q2 projections for ticket and merchandise sales? Was their lackluster on-field performance spurred by a poorly conceived marketing campaign? Was the team distracted by contract negotiations to have the practice facility parking lot re-paved?

    The fans demand answers!

  3. This is the not the first time.
    Seattle tried it with Coach Holmgren who takes team to SB, over time he demands have control of the personnel, gets his way, makes GM and team dissolves…seems like it’s similar to Houston.

    Attention to NFL: Coaches shouldn’t be both a coach and their own GM. Doesn’t work. No oversight.

  4. I’m surprised that O’Brien lasted this long. He’s a terrible GM and he’s not much better as a coach.

    When he got rid of Clowney, I could see the writing on the wall. But when he got rid of DeAndre Hopkins, arguably the best WR in the NFL, it was obvious that he was clueless.

    The single biggest reason that Watson has looked good as a QB was Hopkins. Hopkins won most of the 50/50 balls that Watson threw to him. No other WR on the team is as good.

    It’s got to be pretty upsetting being a Texan fan. At least they can have some hope, now.

  5. Check out Easterby’s background. He was a team chaplain and “character development coach” (whatever that means). He was never a scout. Never coached. Never played. He is a smooth-talking Southern preacher who seems hungry for power and has the ear of the Texans owner. He may or may not have been responsible for getting the man who brought him into the organization fired today. If he is placed in a position of power over the new GM or head coach, then Houston… we have a problem!!!

  6. What’s with the antipathy to this guy? It’s the first I’ve heard of him. Is it the newly pervasive, hateful, anti-Christian movement, or actual football fans who know the guy’s lack of experience?

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