The Houston Texans have been forced to make a change on their coaching staff. As a result of Mike Vrabel departing for Tennessee to become the Titans head coach, Romeo Crennel returns to his former position of defensive coordinator. Ian Rapoport tweeted Saturday about the shift of coaches.
Crennel previously held the title of defensive coordinator of the Texans from 2014-16. Crennel received a promotion to assistant head coach in January of 2017. Due to the departure of Vrabel, Crennel will shift into his former role.
Under Crennel the Texans were the NFL’s best defense in 2016. Houston featured a pass rush which included Jadeveon Cloweny, Whitney Mercilus and J.J. Watt. While Watt only appeared in three games, he did have an impact in his limited action.
While the Texans defense did experience a drop in production in 2017 this is not the fault of Vrabel. Houston lost several key starters on defense that resulted in a lackluster showing. Vince Wilfork, A.J. Bouye and Quintin Demps left after the 2016 season. Role player John Simon, who started five games, also left in free agency. The loss of several veteran players prior to the season and inures during the season essentially doomed the Houston defense.
Houston will look forward to the returns of key defensive starters to improve in 2018. Watt and Mercilus were lost in the same game. Losing key pass rushers will only have negative results for a defense. A healthy Watt and Mercilus paired with Clowney and Zach Cunningham will stabilize the Texans front seven. Bernardrick McKinney has grown over the past two seasons and will provide yet another force defensively for Houston.
Crennel can turn around the Texans defense. Crennel knows how to get the most out of this group of players. A scheme will be catered around their strengths. It would not be a surprise if Houston returns to being a dominant defensive unit. There are more than enough pieces to build on. It all comes down to the health of the group rather than overall talent.