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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Charley Casserly: Scapegoat or Satan?

The following discussion was recorded earlier today between an admitted Casserly apologist (Scott) and a bitter Texas Ex (Tim):

Tim:

Scott,

After reading the Chronicle this morning, I was inspired. The new poll on H-Town Sports should give people a chance to choose the move they will remember Charley Casserly the most for. My choices?

A. Drafting David Carr with the first overall pick in franchise history.
B. Trading a second and third round pick for the corpse that is Phillip "Showtime" Buchanon.
C. Drafting an undersized, part-time collegiate back named Domanick Davis in the fourth round.
D. Crapping upon an entire city's hopes, dreams, and collective intelligence by taking Mario Williams first overall in last month's draft.
E. Tony Boselli. 'Nuff said.

Scott:

Tim,

That would not be quite as fun as you like to think. Would you rather have had Harrington than Carr? No way any expansion team is going to draft a defensive lineman with their first overall pick. Carr was the only pick. The Buchanan trade was an unmitigated disaster, but understandable when you consider how terrible their secondary is. Plus, P-Buck may breakout this year and reach his potential. The undersized, part-time collegiate back of whom you speak has averaged > 1000 yards per season in his 1st three years in the league, despite horrendous offensive coaching. Mario Williams was the correct pick, since Bob McNair was not going to allow Casserly to get rid of David Carr. Tony Bosselli is and was one of the greatest O-lineman in history, and you also got Gary Walker and Seth Payne by agreeing to gamble on Boselli. Clearly, that was a no-brainer as well. Face it, Cassery built a team that steadily improved year over year until last year, when one of the worst coaching jobs in the history of organized sports dragged the team to the depths of ineptitude. Casserly’s built winners all over the NFL, Capers has not won as much as a Monopoly game and McNair is a fool with an open wallet.

Tim:

Scott,

Relax, big guy. The purpose of the poll was to offer people the chance to opine on what move they will most remember Casserly for. It does not mean to suggest that all the choices were bad moves. Some of the choices were absolutely the right call.

For the record, Carr was the right move in 2002. Boselli was the right move as well; the Texans picked him as part of a handshake agreement with the Jags that taking Boselli off their hands would result in them leaving both Walker and Payne unprotected (instead of pulling one back). And on the off chance that Boselli can anchor your line for the next five years, you make that move in a heartbeat. To say that Boselli was one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history, however, seems rather ridiculous. Lay off the Casserly kool-aid.

His professional statistics have shown that Davis in the fourth round was a great pick. No one can argue that. Giving up a second and third round pick for a DB coming off a horrific season is inexcusable, and Buchanon's complete worthlessness since the trade has only compounded the mistake. Easily the worst move of Casserly's tenure. Well, maybe not. Time will tell if taking Super Mario over VY and Bush was the disaster I think it is. It's too early to string Casserly up for that, although I think it very well could dwarf the Buchanon trade as the albatross of his career in Houston.

Finally, "Casserly's built winners all over the NFL..." Unbelievably ridiculous statement. He's worked for two teams--Washington and Houston. He built a winner in Washington and did not do so in Houston. Period. "Capers has not won as much as a Monopoly game..." Didn't he reach the NFC Championship Game in his second season as a head coach? He didn't get the job done here, but the guy has won a playoff game or two. Try as you might, you cannot blame everyone but Casserly. He is just as responsible for the team's shortcomings as anyone.

Scott:

Casserly must be culpable to a degree for the team’s failure simply because of his position in the organization. I agree. From hearing McClain talk about the splits in the organization and the degree to which the coaches were given personnel decision-making authority, I really get the picture that Casserly was squeezed out. My take is that slowly but surely, Capers and Fangio got McNair’s ear and convinced him to approve certain moves and decisions (the Greenwood signing, the Babin trade) that Casserly felt were incorrect, but Casserly’s a class act and refused to go public with his complaints. Then came the Dan Reeves hiring, and eventually I think that Casserly realized that the Texans’ GM position was possibly the most powerless in NFL history, so he told McNair to find someone else.

I certainly don’t think Casserly’s infallible, but I do think that it is difficult to point the finger at him when you had a 7-8 team going into the Browns game in 2004 that appeared to be on the cusp of contending for a wildcard slot that suddenly spirals downhill the next year into a laughingstock. That’s got to be coaching, to me, because the personnel changes were not all that significant and there were no massive injury outbreaks, unless the 2004 Texans played out of their skulls, which I don’t believe to be the case. I get the impression that there was a pretty big disconnect between Capers and Casserly, and McNair sided with Capers, which proved to be an ill-fated decision. Then McNair brought in Reeves, who told McNair that Capers was the one to blame for the bad decisions on and off the field (for the most part), and then McNair had no choice but to fire his main man Dumb. Then Casserly smirked at McNair, agreed to stay on through the draft and follow McNair’s orders (a/k/a keep Carr) and then depart for another job after the draft under his own terms.

The biggest thing that I can’t believe at the end of the day is the irony that the Texans were publicly blowing up their coaching staff and front office but chose to pass on VY, which seemingly would have been the easiest, most understandable ‘starting over’ decision that a pro sports team could have ever made.

1 Comments:

Blogger Ted Bosquez said...

First, you guys bicker like either an old married couple or two guys having a drink and flirting at Oil Can Harry's. Frankly, given Tim's dating history, I am not surprised.

Second, and more to the point, I think you are both right. I think it is hard to argue that both Casserly and Capers owe an apology to the city of Houston for giving their children nightmares every Sunday evening.

Between the two of them, the Texans(1) took an expensive risk and lost on Boselli - regardless of Payne and Walker (2) failed to address the offensive line since the inception of the program (3) failed to secure a legitimate 2nd receiver to compliment Johnson (4) drafted Travis Johnson in the first round (5) passed on Derrick Johnson in the first round (6) signed Marlon "Missed Tackleman" Greenwood to an overpriced contract (7) signed Phil "Butter on my Toast" Buchanon to an overpriced contract (8)failed to take either Young or Bush and (9) failed to enlist the aid of a professional to address Carr's mental issues and nightmares.

Many of these decisions remind of the dark years prior to the Tuna when Jerry Jones and his lackeys (aka Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, and Dave Campo) made a mockery of the free agent market and draft. I see many of the same self-destructive tendencies in your once-proud...wait...what am I saying...never proud and constant embarrassment of a program.

I hope a new era begins in Houston, because watching you all fight among each other is just so Aggie-like … which I guess is appropriate given your new coach.

Good luck ladies - The Tuna!

Thu May 11, 03:03:00 PM  

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