MOBILE, Ala. -- Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien said the most important thing he wanted in a new general manager to replace Rick Smith was someone he could be "aligned [with] philosophically on what type of team we want."
It appears he got just that in Brian Gaine, who worked for the Texans as director of pro personnel and then director of player personnel from 2014 to May 2017. O'Brien was part of the four-person search committee, along with owner Bob McNair, COO Cal McNair and team president Jamey Rootes, which identified Gaine as the team's ideal candidate.
"I think he's probably getting sick of me because he gets a bunch of texts from me, a bunch of phone calls from me multiple times per day," O'Brien joked last week at the Senior Bowl. "But no, he's a great guy to work with and it's been good so far."
Earlier this month, Gaine, who spent the 2017 season as the Buffalo Bills' vice president of player personnel, said one of the reasons he was eager to return to Houston was to have the chance to work closely with O'Brien, someone he considers a "philosophically aligned ... partner."
That shared vision? "Building a smart, tough and disciplined football team with players who love the game of football," Gaine said.
"Bill and I are very philosophically aligned in terms of how to do that, how to build a right program, how to build a right culture," Gaine said. "And it's not just the football roster, but it's also the football operation and that requires every aspect that touches the game and touches the locker room. All those aspects of the football operation, Bill and I are philosophically aligned in terms of how to run it and how to do it."
During the joint tenure of Smith and O'Brien in Houston from 2014 to 2018, there were multiple reports of discord and tension between the two, including a struggle to communicate. During his introductory news conference, Gaine repeated that every decision he makes will be "a collaborative partnership with Coach O'Brien and the coaching staff."
"Every decision we make will be made on two things: What's best for the franchise and does it help us win," Gaine said. "They'll be Texans decisions. They won't be Brian Gaine's decisions."
Said O'Brien: "We don't always agree, but we work it out. And I think that comes down to being able to communicate, sit in a room and listen to each other's thoughts and then come to the conclusion that's best for the organization, that's best for the team. I think we're very excited about working together and we're excited about the future of the Texans."
Gaine's ability to communicate stood out during his interview to O'Brien, who said the two "speak the same language, football-wise."
"I think you have to communicate multiple times a day every day because this is a sport that's always changing," O'Brien said. "There's always roster moves or administrative moves or things that are going on with coaching staff moves or scouting staff moves that you always have to be on top of. And you have to keep reiterating what your philosophies are and what you believe in and just talk about it. I think that's what he and I are doing."