Texans debut new web series, ‘Building the Texans’

While the franchise continues to make national headlines, image management seems to be at top of mind

FILE - This is an Aug. 17, 2020, file photo showing David Culley of the Baltimore Ravens NFL football team. David Culley has been hired as the coach of the Houston Texans, a person familiar with the hiring told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday night, Jan. 27, 2021, because the hiring hasnt been announced. (AP Photo) (Uncredited)

HOUSTON – The Texans have debuted a web series titled, “Building the Texans.”

On the team’s website, Texans writer Drew Dougherty described the series as a “peek behind the curtain” of the franchise.

The series comes at a historical time for the Texans. The future of Deshaun Watson is in question. Superstar J.J. Watt just departed for Arizona, and the controversial Jack Easterby has been on the forefront of national and local media headlines.

The team and its executives have never faced as much ridicule and criticism as they are currently, and the backlash from fans has been building steadily for months now.

So far, episode one is live on the team’s website, titled “Let’s Get to Work.”

Credit where it is due; the Texans digital team did a great job of showing Houston and collecting quality footage. The first episode is just shy of seven minutes long and seems like more of a promo for the series as a whole. It starts out with some nice shots of the Houston skyline and NRG Stadium.

In the first episode, newly hired general manager Nick Caserio and his family arrive on the Texans’ jet. The voice of the Texans, Marc Vandermeer, voices the feature.

Caserio begins by taking us through the hire of head coach David Culley.

“We didn’t want to just rush into anything,” he says and notes that their priorities were “communication, honesty,” and that “everyone sometimes gets caught up in the X’s and O’s component, and there are different models and different ways to put it together, what you’re concerned about and what your focus is. There’s no one size fits all way to do this.”

We then hear national voices such as Dan Patrick and Kay Adams react to the hire as we see footage of Culley, and we hear Keyshawn Johnson saying “he deserves this.”

Caserio lists Culley’s positive qualities, mentioning that trust and consistency was an important factor. We see the introduction of the wives, as Carolyn Culley meets Hannah McNair and Cal McNair gives Culley a pin to wear.

Culley and his wife walk on a red carpet, and Culley makes a joke comparing it to the Academy Awards. He then puts pen to paper and signs his contract, and we hear from the first-time head coach. I liked this part. He appears genuinely grateful and says he’s “so blessed the McNairs saw that in me, and that Nick saw that in me, to be able to give me this opportunity.”

The Texans then show a timeline of Culley’s 27-year coaching journey, and he describes what he learned from Andy Reid, Sean McDermott and John Harbaugh. The video also shows footage from his introductory press conference.

My take:

Again, the video is well done. I know a lot of people had to put work into it, and it looks good. The B-roll (fancy television term for footage) was well shot.

It appears as more of a promotion than a look “behind the scenes,” but perhaps that’s just because it’s the first episode in the series.

Culley seems so darn likable. I know Texans fans will read that and say “who cares? we want to win.” But, compared to Bill O’Brien, Culley seems like he will have a more media-friendly approach. Who knows, as it is still early on.

The obvious thing here? Texans fans would like a look behind the scenes; as long as that look involved what Jack Easterby actually does at work and how they’re planning to address the quarterback position. But the public isn’t often given a look at those things.

In future episodes, I would like to see more dialogue with scouts, and perhaps video draft preparation; similar to the five-part web series the Colts released in 2019.

The Texans are clearly aware that their image is a mess, but let’s be honest; fans aren’t likely to care about a web series if Deshaun Watson leaves and Jack Easterby continues to make decisions.

What the web series does indicate? The Texans are now discussing image management. They’re seeing that they’re the daily topic of Good Morning Football, NFL Live on ESPN, and every talk show in America. Maybe the second episode will give a deeper insight into how they’re trying to fix things.