Texans take field for mandatory minicamp

O'Brien addresses GM situation, Watson talks retooled offensive line


HOUSTON – The Houston Texans hit the practice field Tuesday for the start of mandatory minicamp, but they did so without a general manager

The team relieved Brian Gaine from his duties last Friday after only 17 months on the job, a shocking move to almost everyone in the organization. Head coach Bill O'Brien said the move came after owner Cal McNair conducted a "thorough evaluation" of the team.

Tuesday, O'Brien was asked about the change, only days after reports surfaced he and Gaines' relationship had deteriorated over time.

"Cal did a thorough evaluation of what goes on in this building on a day to day basis," O'Brien said. "It didn't stop with just coaching and scouting. Every area got evaluated."

The move to terminate Gaine left many in the organization surprised, including players like star defensive end J.J. Watt, who took to twitter soon after the news surfaced.  

"Its a tough business, but that's a decision that is much higher than my head," Watt said. 

Third year quarterback Deshaun Watson echoed those sentiments. 

"Just like everyone else, I was caught off guard," Watson said. "I think its just one of those things that goes down as business."

Speaking of Watson, the Clemson product gave his thoughts on two of the Texans early draft picks in first round selection Tytus Howard and second round selection Max Scharping. The duo was brought in to bolster an offensive line that gave up a league-leading 62 sacks in 2018. 

"It's something that everyone knew about and it was a position of need for us," Watson said. "Those two guys have done a good job of coming in and rotating in and putting in good work for us."

Watson said he's also pleased with the progression of the team's receiving corps. Keke Coutee had a strong finish to 2018 and has emerged as a nice complement to the talented tandem of Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller. 

"These guys are really confident. They're able to line up and be efficient with the play call and signals, so being able to be on the same page with me has been great," Watson said. "It's creating depth at that position and once we get the two dogs back (Hopkins and Fuller), it can take that position to another level. 

Houston returns to the practice field tomorrow morning at 11 a.m.