Monday, November 21, 2005

Charley Casserly: dead man walkin'?

If you're a fan of the Houston Texans, you probably know the story about how Charley Casserly landed the job of becoming the first general manager for the new Houston NFL franchise.

Casserly, who had been let go in Washington, wrote Bob McNair a handwritten-letter offering advice on what the new owner needed to do to get his expansion franchise off the ground. McNair hired him -- 30 months before the team played its first game.

Now that the Texans have established themselves as the worst team in the NFL in a season in which they were expected to make their first legitimate playoff run, the Casserly critics are coming out of the woodwork, saying, `See, I told you.'

On the website Pro Football Talk, they say Casserly has managed to escape intense media criticism by being a regular leaker to sportswriters, who feel beholden to him for giving them not-for-attribution scoops. It's the same thing politicians do to the media in Washington and Austin.

Anyhow, all bets are off now that it's become virtually impossible to ignore Casserly, given the Texans' huge flop.

"How long before people figure out Casserly?" asked one high-level league source who has been following Casserly's career closely since he became the General Manager of the Redskins in 1989.
Our source believes that Casserly's strategy of serving as a regular off-the-record source for many key members of the media has resulted in Casserly being insulated from criticism of any kind, even as the team that he built falls apart.

Tackle Tony Boselli, Casserly's first selection in the expansion draft, was "one of the biggest mistakes in NFL history," said the source. Boselli retired in 2003 due to chronic shoulder problems and never played a down for the team.
"Casserly had all the time and resources in the world to get that right, physical and everything, and he blew it."
But let's not just consider Casserly's history with the Texans. His draft record with the Redskins is hardly stellar. Heath Shuler in 1994. Desmond Howard in 1992.
Coincidentally, in the same season that Casserly and the 'Skins wasted a first-rounder on Howard, they gave up on a 12th-round pick from 1991 named Keenan McCardell.
"The media has created the legend of Charley Casserly, but what has he done?" the source said. "The draft record and win record speak for itself."
We've always believed that the head coach and the G.M. should have equal accountability. Either both stay, or both go. So in the Texans' case, if the team is bad enough to prompt McNair to fire coach Dom Capers, McNair also should poop-can Casserly.
Based on the fruits of his five years of labor, it hardly could be characterized as undeserved.

[pro football talk]

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