For where we are right now, I think everybody feels good about where we are. We're excited about the start of the season here in a couple of weeks and about the opportunity that's in front of us. So we're making progress. I'd say we got a long way to go, we have a lot of work in front of us and nothing's going to happen overnight.” Houston Texans General Manager Nick Caserio
The day after the Houston Texans trimmed their roster to 53 players, General Manager Nick Caserio met with the media to discuss the current state of the team. Here are some of the key takeaways from Caserio's Wednesday press conference.
Caserio outlined several goals the team wanted to accomplish heading into camp. He felt "for the most part" the Texans reached their objectives.
"Teach our players coaching philosophy and teaching the system, give them an opportunity to learn the system, have as much competition as possible on the team and establish a culture and a foundation of what we're trying to do and the things that we believe in," Caserio said. "And for the most part, on the health standpoint, try to stay healthy."
Quarterback Deshaun Watson remains on the roster, but his situation remains "day-to-day".
"Deshaun has been here every day," Caserio said. "He's been in Training Camp every day. He's been in the building. He's been in meetings. He's been around his teammates. And again, we're going to take it one day at a time."
Caserio said there was no finite or definitive answer about Watson's future, but the Texans would do what was best for the organization. Caserio also stated he wouldn't get into speculation of what did or didn't happen regarding Watson's situation.
When it came to numbers on offense (i.e. five wide receivers, five running backs, etc.) Caserio is less concerned with keeping a particular number of a position group and more focused on what personnel grouping matches up with the defense.
"You go through the league and I'm sure you guys have looked at this, 65 to 70 percent of it has become kind of substituted defense and substituted offense, if you will," Caserio said. "So more 11 personnel type teams versus nickel defense. If you're going to be a big three-receiver team and maybe that position has more relevance, maybe if you're not going to be as much of an 11 personnel team, then maybe it's not as important. I'm not saying one way or another is what we're going to be. You have to look at, OK, and a lot of that is game plan-driven and dictated by what the other team is doing."
The Texans five wide receivers on the roster are currently: rookie Nico Collins, Chris Conley, Brandin Cooks, Anthony Miller and return specialist Andre Roberts. One of the surprise cuts was the release of Keke Coutee.
"There's a myriad of things that always go into the decision-making process," Caserio said. "Again, we thought in the end that was the right decision for our team. Keke worked hard. He's a good kid. You know, he's made some plays for the organization. Again, you can't keep. We can't keep everybody on the team. So we kind of have to take everything into consideration.
Miller is making progress after a shoulder injury sidelined him in the preseason, but he is expected back "at some point this season," according to Caserio.
"At some point, we'll probably have a little more information to be able to make a decision."
On the state of the team now, Caserio says the Texans are "in a lot better position" than where they were in February, in terms of cap space, which was near the bottom of the league.
"I think we're in the middle of the league in terms of cap space that's available," Caserio said.
He said it's going to be important to earmark money available now for injured reserve and practice squad players or decide to carry it over to next year.
The Texans had 53 new players in camp this year, many of whom signed deals in the offseason. Caserio said the addition of new players through free agency went "about how we had hoped."
"We understood when we signed as many players that we did, we weren't going to be able to keep all that," Caserio said. "And that's just the process of numbers. I think the players took ownership and they realized that it was a competitive situation and they didn't take anything for granted. And, you know, I think we were able to get the best out of the players. They had the right mindset, the right approach."
Caserio executed several trades for late-round picks this offseason, in camp and throughout preseason. He said using late-round picks to get acquire players is "something we're never going to shy away from."
"I think there was a handful of trades that were done over the weekend, a lot of them were flip of picks," Caserio said. "So that it's really you just moving within slots. I think sometimes people get too caught up in all they gave up a draft pick. Ok, and that's fair. I mean, everybody has an opinion on that. But if that's what it costs to get the player in the building and you feel like you have to your risk analysis, then it makes sense to do. Like we're not going to be afraid to do things. I mean, you're going to miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take."
The Texans open the 2021 regular season against Jacksonville at NRG Stadium on Sept. 12. Kickoff is set for noon on CBS and SportsRadio 610. Find tickets here.