‘Punch bag’: Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio defends ‘hot topic’ executive Jack Easterby

For the past two years, the name of Jack Easterby, executive vice president of football operations for the Houston Texans, has been dragged through the mud.

It seemed that whether it was personnel changes, dodgy contracts, poor results, Deshaun Watson’s crumbling relationship with the team, you name it, it was all ‘Easterby’s fault – something GM Nick Caserio doesn’t buy.

“Jack has been a hot topic for a lot of people,” Caserio told SportsRadio610. “I would honestly say that some of the criticism has probably been unfair.”

A well-known Easterby ally since their time with the New England Patriots, Caserio joined him in Houston last January when he was chosen to replace Bill O’Brien – the man who lured Easterby from the Patriots. in 2019.

Described as “godless” by Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, Easterby’s role in the organization, as well as his level of control, have come under intense scrutiny over the tumultuous past years in Houston. .

Since Caserio’s arrival, he has endeavored to make his control over all football matters crystal clear.

“Not many people probably really understand the inner workings of (Easterby’s role),” Caserio said. “But when you actually get the chance to hang out with Jack, I think I realize it’s probably not as bad as everyone makes it out to be.”

“Jack has an important role from an operational and logistical point of view,” Caserio said. “(But) everything related to decision-making in football, whether it’s players, contract signings, scouting, draft analysis, it’s all within my purview.”

In his role as general manager, Caserio hired and fired a head coach in the form of David Culley, drafted five players who all had strong rookie years, and rebuilt the roster pretty close to zero – something that he will largely have to redo this year with 28 players ready to hit free agency.

But through it all, when it comes to social media, Easterby has remained a divisive figure — look no further than Texas legend Andre Johnson’s comments last April.

“Jack’s been a punching bag ever since he got here,” Caserio said. “Some of that, I think quite frankly, is a bit unfair.”

Jessica C. Bell