Takeaways from Houston Texans General Manager Brian Gaine's Opening Press Conference
Patrick D. Starr
The new Houston Texans general manager is in place as Brian Gaine was introduced to local media on Wednesday. Gaine addressed multiple topics ranging from his return to the Texans to Bill O’Brien to the roster, including Deshaun Watson, Jadeveon Clowney, and much more.
Below are the key takeaways and what we learned from Brian Gaine’s first Texans press conference.
Philosophy of Brian Gaine
A clear look at what Gaine’s mentality and what he is looking for to build a roster.
Key Words Used
Collaborative, Philosophically Aligned, Texans (Draft) Picks, Partnership
All of these words were used by Gaine in regard to his decision-making processes for the team and organization. Gaine states that everything he will do as a general manager will be in lockstep with coach Bill O’Brien. O’Brien’s name was mentioned often by Gaine throughout the press conference. Gaine praised the coaching job O'Brien has done to this point and, more importantly, the vision the two share on the team.
He Wants to get Help for Deshaun Watson
Anyone who watched the Texans last season saw an overmatched offensive line, particularly after Deshaun Watson was lost for the season. Gaine made it a point of emphasis on going out and getting Watson help on the offensive line to surround the franchise’s cornerstone quarterback with talent.
“When you have a quarterback in place that you believe in, that you think can help you win a lot of football games, you’ve got to start to put pieces around him and pieces in place to help him succeed on the field. That’s not just with the perimeter players and the skill players, that’ll be with the offensive line.”- Brian Gaine
It appears Gaine is willing to exhaust every avenue to put a better offensive line in front of Watson and help the running game.
Jadeveon Clowney Long-Term Deal?
There are ongoing evaluations but it looks like a new contract could be looming for Jadeveon Clowney. Gaine spoke highly of the All-Pro edge player and said of the long-term extension, “ It’s certainly on the horizon.”
Bill O’Brien has a Defined Role Heading into the NFL Draft
Brian Gaine let it be known that the upcoming draft is a collaborative effort with O’Brien and Gaine shared a clear vision of O’Brien's role concerning personnel. The Texans will continue to allow the coaching staff to be part of the evaluation process leading up the draft. That means they will help interview, grade, and work out players. That information, along with what the scouts will put together, provides a clearer picture heading into the draft.
Gaine discussed a key step in the process.
“….And then as we move through our meetings in February and April, it’ll be my job and Coach (Bill) O’Brien’s job to consensus build that information and the evaluation process so that when we put a grade on a guy, we put a ranking on a player, that’s a Texans grade, that’s not a coaching grade, that’s not a personnel department grade, that’s a Texans grade.”
It appears that O’Brien will be working with Gaine to build the draft board heading to the NFL Draft. That part of O’Brien’s job duties was never revealed before or whether he even had that duty with the previous general manager. Either way, O’Brien is going to have a heavy hand in helping Gaine build the organization’s draft board.
Gaine Wants to Improve Special Teams
Special teams have been a mess for several seasons and Gaine wants to improve the entire unit with better-suited personnel. Gaine will be looking at day-three prospects and college free agents to help build a better group.
The Texans and O’Brien will be hiring former Oakland Raiders special teams coordinator Brad Seely to run the group.
Gaine will be looking for players with dominant traits in height, weight, and speed to turn the special teams around.
Everything is on the Table
Gaine is going to explore every option to improve the roster and his recent experience in Buffalo could provide a view of how they plan to accomplish these things. Gaine was part of a Buffalo organization who traded away key players to get back players in positions of need along with draft capital to build a roster the ultimately ended a playoff drought in 2017.
Gaine will exhaust every avenue to build this roster and search practice squads, injury settlement players, free agents, drafts, and any other means to find players. Time will tell but it appears that Gaine could have a different view on how to acquire personnel.
What We Have Heard
Gaine has a jump start on the draft class with the work he did with the Buffalo Bills where he scouted players in person and uncovered out pertinent information. Now that Gaine has put the work in himself and brought that knowledge along to the Texans, this information will aid in continuing to build the big picture heading into the 2018 draft.
Considered a blue collar worker who will push his personnel groups to all be on the same page, Gaine wants all of his staff going in the same direction that he and O’Brien are headed with their vision.
On the other hand, Gaine is known to be a no-stone-unturned type of personnel guy. Paying attention to every aspect of players hitting the waiver wire, keeping keynotes on players' timetables of injuries and when they could potentially come available is an asset for Gaine and his style of doing things.
There was plenty of chatter regarding the new direction of the team but also some concern that Gaine is nothing more than a “yes” man to O’Brien. There is a clear connection at the hip with O’Brien and this will be a clear extension of O’Brien’s vision for the team.
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