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Texans’ D welcomes Romeo Crennel’s return to calling plays

Romeo Crennel didn’t have to be convinced to return to his previous role as defensive coordinator and have the chance to coach the Houston Texans’ defense back to one of the league’s best.

It was his defense, after all.

“Honestly it’s always been RAC [Romeo Crennel]’s defense, his philosophy and all that,” outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus said. “I think everybody always questions as far as, OK, is it [Mike] Vrabel’s defense to Romeo’s defense and all that … I just don’t understand that. RAC always had the defense as far as his mentality on the defensive side, as well as the scheme, the plays that we play and things like that.”cheap nfl jerseys from china

In January 2017, the Texans promoted Crennel to assistant head coach and moved Vrabel from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator. The unit finished No. 1 in total defense in 2016 under Crennel, but fell to 20th under Vrabel, although Vrabel’s unit had several injuries to key players and lost shutdown corner A.J. Bouye in free agency. Despite the struggles Houston’s defense had in 2017, the Tennessee Titans hired Vrabel as their head coach following the season.

With a vacancy at defensive coordinator, coach Bill O’Brien once again turned to Crennel.12

In his role as assistant head coach, Crennel had a lot of responsibility — and O’Brien certainly leaned on him — but Crennel didn’t have the pressure of calling plays for the defense.

“I was less stressed last year,” Crennel said. “There’s stress involved in calling the plays and preparing weekly for the game plan. I sat in and listened and all that good stuff, but when you know you don’t have that pressure, it’s a little bit easier.”

The shuffling at defensive coordinator brought tweaks to the scheme, but the unit’s foundation has not changed.

Crennel, 70, has a different football style than Vrabel — “a little more old-school,” cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. Mercilus and Joseph described Crennel as a father figure, his calm but passionate demeanor a strength in his coaching.nfl jerseys wholesale

“He has such a kind heart and he knows how to talk to each guy and to get through to each guy, but he also knows how to get on your ass if he has to and how to light a fire under you,” J.J. Watt said. “He knows how to put us in good situations, he knows how to put us in situations that will be successful for us. I love the guy.