Casserly on NFL Network

RICH EISEN: Charley Casserly, that was him at the combine speaking to a lot of the future athletes of the NFL. Charley Casserly is also involved with the competition committee and he also happens to be the general manager of the Houston Texans. Joining us right now on Texans cam, thanks for joining us Charley, you're always very busy we appreciate you making a few minutes for us.

CHARLEY CASSERLY: Hey Rich it's always a pleasure to be with you guys.

EISEN: No problem. So let's start out with this Drew Henson trade first Charley. Were you surprised at how complicated it got?

CASSERLY: Not really because even before we drafted him Rich, we looked into what it was going to take to get it done from a contract point of view and to me, that was going to be the toughest part of it. And we knew all along that would be the last quote "stumbling block" that had to be solved. And obviously it did get solved but it was going to be the most complicated part of it. And it was a complicated deal in the sense of you're taking a player in the sixth round in a sixth round rookie pool, when in reality if he goes back in the draft he was going to be drafted significantly higher than that. So we always knew that was going to be tricky to convince him to bypass the draft and go with the team.

EISEN: Now were you combing the Columbus Clippers box scores Charley to try and see where Henson was in his baseball career before you pulled the trigger in that sixth round?

CASSERLY: Well we did do a little bit of that and you know, clearly he wasn't having a lot of success in baseball there. He was consistently over three years hitting in the 230's, and not having much success in the field either from that point of view. But we did research with some baseball people and some baseball scouts and felt we had some inside information from the Yankees which indicated that they didn't feel he had a future with them. So was it a percentage gamble? Yes it was. I mean we weren't guaranteed he would quit, but we just felt after three years of just really struggling in baseball at some point, he was going to go to football. So really the bet was was he going to do it in that twelve month period, and we took a shot at it and it worked out for us.

LINCOLN KENNEDY: Charley I think you've done a great job keeping a lot of your core guys together being Gary Walker, Todd Washington. How close do you think, keeping these guys together, are they coming to a breakout season. How far do you think they're away? Or do you think you expect a breakout season from these core guys this year?

CASSERLY: Well I think what we're trying to do is make steady progress Lincoln. And a year ago, we won five games, we won four in our first year. But we were a dramatically improved team last year. Of those five wins, of course one of them was against Carolina, we had five other games that we were ahead in the fourth quarter. Four of those we lost on the last play of the game, one which was to New England in over time.

So I think we're making steady progress. We're in the toughest division in football with Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Tennessee. And Indianapolis and Tennessee being probably the two and three best teams in the AFC, but I think we're closing the gap. We lost to Indy and Tennessee on the last play of the game last year the second time we played them and I think we're a better team now then when we entered the season.

KENNEDY: So since you're talking a lot about defense, is it safe to assume that you'll be using your tenth pick this year to go for defense?

CASSERLY: Well you know the first two drafts Lincoln, we were primarily a team that concentrated on offense. And I think what we'd like to do in an ideal world is begin to concentrate on defense in the next two drafts just to balance off the number of young prospects that we have.

EISEN: Charley, a lot has been made of the amount of money that's been spent in this free agent period. And a lot of folks are looking at some contracts wondering why. And one of them is Todd Wade's contract, the one where you signed a fellow to four years in the league a ten million dollar signing bonus. What do you see in this guy that warranted that sort of change?

CASSERLY: Well I think there's supply and demand here. I think this year you saw a number of big money contracts because people had more cap room than ever before, I think ever before. So people had room to make some moves. In Todd Wade we see a young tackle in his prime healthy, who's physical, who's an aggressive player that fills an immediate need for us. And you go back and the Eagles when they signed John Runyan they signed him to a similar contract, and that was four years ago. So you know, I don't think it's something that's unprecedented. It just hasn't happened very often, but it's not unprecedented.

EISEN: Finally we're going to hear from the Competition Committee co-chair, Rich Vekay on Wednesday about what you guys have discussed in huddling up on the competition committee in the past few days in Naples, Florida. What can you tell was what the competition might forward to the ownership on matters such as instant replay A, and B the new hiring practices potentially for assistant coaches to talk to teams while they are actually in the playoffs about head coaching positions.

CASSERLY: Well why don't we do this. I'll let Rich speak for the committee. We'll speak for the Texans in these areas.

EISEN: OK.

CASSERLY: Instant replay, we've always been a strong proponent of it, all the way through our years in Washington, we always have voted for it. So we will support it once again. We'll also support as the Texans organization, the proposal that will come of adding a third challenge if the first two challenges are correct. And in regard to the coaching windows available in the post season, we as a team would support expanding in that first week when teams in the playoffs, teams that have a buy allow their assistant coaches, like New England did last year, to talk to other teams. We will support advancing that window up through the weekend. Last year it closed on Friday, we support letting it go through Sunday. We would not support a second coaching window during the buy preceding the Super Bowl. We would also not support a freeze on hiring coaches until after the Super Bowl. So from a Texan point of view, those are the things that we'll be for.

EISEN: All right Charley thanks so much for joining us. We will see you out in Palm Beach and I know things are in full swing with your off-season workout program. Enjoy all the players back in your midst Charley.

CASSERLY: OK Rich, Lincoln, thanks a lot now.

         EISEN: You bet.
         Charley Casserly joining us on Texans cam.
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