After the Houston Texans parted company with Bill O'Brien, there was widespread hope that this marked the end of the 'Patriots 2.0' era down at NRG Stadium.
Of course, the Texans then went on to hire yet another Bill Belichick protege in Nick Caserio as general manager. But SI's Albert Breer believes that despite his history in New England, he's far from another typical Belichick disciple.
"Caserio has told people that he believes you need a different type of coach, more of a unifier, to reach players and build the right culture, than you did in generations past," said Breer.
"That’s what (head coach David) Culley is, to be sure. So I do think, at least in one early example in his tenure, and with the biggest decision he’s made to this point, he’s shown that he can veer from the path that was laid out for him over his first couple decades in the NFL."
Coach Belichick is, of course, notorious for his no-BS approach to management. By reputation, it's mostly his way or the highway, no room for middle ground. And as we've seen with the likes of O'Brien, Matt Patricia, Josh McDaniels, and Nick Saban, this style rarely works outside of Gillette Stadium.
Thankfully, both Culley's appointment and Caserio's recent history should give Texans fans reason to believe that amidst the chaos Caserio has inherited in Houston, at least he should be able to steady the ship - with Deshaun Watson's situation perhaps being the exception for now.
"Caserio has shown signs he’ll be more inclusive with his scouts and coaches than New England was in the draft and free-agent process," said Breer.
From Breer: "Caserio oversaw a department in Foxboro that dealt with an exodus of rising stars who didn’t feel involved enough working for the Patriots. And while he was there, those around Caserio saw him evolve from a guy who was uptight and hyper-concerned with carrying himself as a Patriot, so to speak, early in his time as the scouting chief (2009 to ‘11) to someone who was far more comfortable in his own skin and a little less Belichickian, at the end. I’ve maintained all along that Caserio, for all else that went wrong, was a really good hire. And, of course, given the situation brewing around Deshaun Watson, he’ll have to prove he was."
It's hard to remain optimistic at this point in time when it comes to the Texans, considering that everything they touch seems to catch fire.
That being said, while the hires of Caserio and Culley may not have been what many wanted, the fan base can have some hope that this is going to be something more than just "Patriots South.''