HOUSTON – Romeo Crennel had a big smile when he walked into the media workroom at NRG Stadium on Tuesday. He was in such a good mood that he wanted all the members of the media to introduce themselves.
After all the pleasantries, it was back to talking football, including his first impressions of defensive end J.J. Watt.
“He’s pretty good, I believe. That is one of the things that I’ve noticed about him. He’s pretty good,” Crennel said with a smile. “He’s a pleasure to work with because he gives you everything he’s got all of the time. From a coaching standpoint, that is what you want from a player. You want the player to give you everything he has.”
Crennel came to the Texans after stints as head coach in Kansas City and Cleveland. While they both worked in New England, Crennel and Texans head coach Bill O’Brien didn’t have a prior relationship,but once they met in the off-season, Crennel knew this would be a good place to get back into coaching.
“I liked what he was about. I think he is a football guy and enjoys football. He enjoys coaching the team,” Crennel said. “I was excited about that and thought this was a good situation. I think it is good ownership, good organization and good general manager. A lot of positives, and good players too.”
Among those good players is first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, who Crennel is anxious to see play in his 3-4 scheme. Still, getting caught up with the new playbook is a challenge.
“I think he is coming along fine. He is studious. He is studying and he’s trying to learn the system. He is making that transition a little bit, but it doesn’t seem to slow him down or hinder him. He’s still a rookie and I tell everyone, rookies are making rookie mistakes,” Crennel said. “Right now his head is spinning just like all of the rookies.”
And Clowney, just like everyone else on the team will have to play their way on the roster.
“I’m one of those guys that I feel that guys have to earn their position. Clowney, I know he is the number one (pick), but he has to earn his spot in my eyes,” Crennel said. “He is trying to learn and if he learns, then chances are he will get playing time. If he doesn’t learn, then he probably won’t get as much playing time.”
Several players that played with Crennel in Kansas City have reunited with him here in Houston. Safety Kendrick Lewis and defensive tackle Jerrell Powe know the system the veteran coach is looking to put in which is definitely beneficial.
“I think it is important. One, they know what I am looking for and they can tell the players here about me, what I am looking for and what the defensive scheme requires,” Crennel said. “Players sometimes when they talk to another player, they will listen a little bit better than maybe when the coach tells him. I think that it is helpful to have a couple guys like that.”
As for his coaching style, Crennel indicated that it isn’t very different now than what it was before. How he delivers his message is what has been toned down.
“I don’t yell and scream as much as I used to,” Crennel said. “When I was younger, I yelled and screamed more.”