May 17, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel talks with safety Lonnie Ballentine (39) during rookie mini-camp at Methodist Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Training camps is just two weeks out, the Texans are finishing up their summer vacations and preparing to get down to business. Finally. When the 2013 season ended, the Texans had to hire a new Head Coach, they selected Bill O’Brien previously the Head Coach of Penn State. This left us wondering if he’d keep Wade Phillips on as the defensive coordinator. As we all know, he looked to Romeo Crennel to shake things up. Crennel is an old hand at coaching having five shiny rings all earned as a defensive coordinator. Not a bad resume.
This selection received mixed reactions, with some fans worried Crennels two gap 3-4 defense would waste the talents of one of the best 1 gap rushers the league has ever seen in J.J. Watt. Crennel likes to have big strong linemen control the line of scrimmage while freeing the linebackers to clean up. Others felt his proven track record of success running a defense was worth the risk.
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Bill O’Brien also made a wise pick up in Mike Vrabel as his linebacker coach. Vrabel had a pretty nice career, interestingly enough playing under Crennel in New England. He’s well respected, he was a very smart player and so far has impressed everyone in his post playing career coaching. Don’t be surprised to see Vrabels name as the top candidate to replace Crennel in three years.
Still, fans are going to worry until the players take the field and we get to see exactly what Crennel does with Watt. Fortunately, there are more weapons for Crennel then just J.J. Watt. The selection of Jadeveon Clowney leads one to believe this version of Crennels defense will be more aggressive at the line then in the past. And with Mike Vrabel coaching Clowney good things should happen. Vrabel as a player madet he switch from a pure rusher to a drop back outside linebacker. This will prove invaluable.
Of course, the real concern shouldn’t be the defense. They have a lot of new faces, and a new scheme but the defense should hold it’s own in 2014. The real worry is on the other side of the ball. The snit between Andre Johnson and the Texans is bad for everyone, and while Ryan Fitzpatrick may be one smart cookie… previous teams fans know him as “Fitztragic”. This doesn’t not lend one a warm and fuzzy feeling. Something tells me that Fitzpatrick will be on the sideline before the season ends. Hopefully I’m wrong on that.
Training camp starts July 26th, with players due to report July 25th, here’s hoping everyone shows up and we can start letting 2013 fade into just a bad dream.
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