AFC Notes: Colts, Texans, Deshaun Watson


Colts HC Frank Reich arrived in Indianapolis as a backup choice after the team was spurned by Josh McDaniels. But his first three years have been strong, with double-digit wins and playoff appearances two out of his three seasons despite the shocking retirement of QB Andrew Luck. While the Colts have often been a step behind the contenders in the AFC, and face another measuring stick game as the No. 7 seed against the No. 2 seed Bills, Reich believes in what the Colts are building. 

“I do think we’re on track because, with every day, we’re further establishing the kind of people we’re going to be and the way we’re going to do things,” Reich said via the Athletic’s Stephen Holder. “That builds a foundation that grows. And, as the foundation grows deeper, the building can go higher. In 2018, I used the illustration of a Chinese bamboo tree. For the first four years, you see very little growth above the ground. But in those four years, it grows roots that are really deep. And then in that fifth year, it grows 90 feet.”

“So, are we on track? Yeah, I believe we are,” Reich added. “Are we satisfied? No. We’re not satisfied. The goal is to win championships. But we also understand that the goal is to climb Mt. Everest. It’s to summit the mountain and summit it more than one time. But to summit the mountain, you have to love climbing.”

Deshaun Watson

On Friday, Texans owner Cal McNair addressed the reports that QB Deshaun Watson is unhappy with how the team has handled their GM and coaching searches by not following through on seeking his input. 

“I’ve come to understand that it’s been reported that Deshaun feels left out of the process, but he and I had several visits and I understood his point of view before meeting with candidates,” McNair said, via “I’ve reached out to Deshaun about Nick’s hire, and I look forward to him getting back to me when he returns from his vacation.

New Texans GM Nick Caserio made it clear that they plan to have Watson in place as their starting quarterback moving forward.

Once we have an opportunity to spend some time together, we’ll further our discussion,” Caserio said. “Can’t tell you how much respect and admiration that I have for him for who he is as a player and what he means to this franchise.

  • According to Albert Breer, Texans QB Deshaun Watson advocated for the team to hire Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy as their next head coach, but they never even reached out to Bieniemy.


Regarding the rising issues with Texans’ management, owner Cal McNair said Houston has always operated with “integrity, character and a winning mentality.”

“Our culture has been repeatedly under question this season. We are an organization committed to excellence on and off the field. We operate with integrity, character and a winning mentality,” said McNair, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. 

McNair called Texans’ new GM Nick Caserio one of the most respected personnel executives in the league. 

“Nick is one of the most widely respected personnel executives in the National Football League. Nick is intelligent, an incredibly hard worker and believes in doing things the right way,” said McNair, via Wilson.

  • McNair adds that Watson and DE J.J. Watt, who has a year remaining on his contract, are both “in alignment” with their plans for Caserio: “In regards to 4, 99, they’re valued members of our team. Those are in alignment with bringing Nick aboard.” (Wilson)
  • McNair believes hiring Caserio away from the Patriots speaks highly of the Texans organization: “It says a lot about our organization that [Nick Caserio] chose to be a Texan.” (Sarah Barshop)
  • Caserio confirmed that he has a “special relationship” with Texans executive Jack Easterby after working together for six years in New England: “Jack and I have had a really special relationship. He’s helped me a lot personally. He’s someone I’ve always leaned on.” (Wilson)
  • Caserio indicated that “football decisions” will be between himself and Texans’ next head coach: “As it pertains to football decisions, those are ultimately my decisions in conjunction with the head coach.” (Reiss)
  • Regarding the Texans’ decision to keep Easterby in their front office, McNair said the executive effectively filled in for former HC Bill O’Brien on their personnel decisions, which was something Easterby did not push for after O’Brien’s dismissal: “We moved on from the coach (Bill O’Brien). I needed someone to step into that spot, not something Jack pushed for or wanted. I’m really grateful and he took a lot of heat for it. It’s hard to operate without a general manager.” (Wilson)
  • McNair added that Easterby will revert to normal roles as Vice President of Football Operations, while Caserio will oversee the roster, NFL Draft, and free agency: “Jack (Easterby) was there and now ready to step back into some of his earlier roles. Nick has the roster, draft, free agency. Nick will be supported by me. I want Nick to succeed here. It will be collaborative, cooperative.” (Wilson)
  • Aaron Wilson reports that the Texans are not planning on interviewing Patriots OC Josh McDaniels for their head coach job. However, Houston’s new GM Nick Caserio is expected to have a “wide-ranging” search of candidates. 

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