The Houston Texans were not only humiliated at the hands of the New England Patriots, but lost superstar J.J. Watt in the process adding insult to injury. Watt had just returned from an operation to repair a herniated disc in his back and was back on the field after 53 days of rehab.
The Texans (2-1, 1st AFC South) will have to regroup and get back to winning without Watt against their AFC South rival Tennessee Titans (1-2, 2nd AFC South) who are coming off a touchdown loss to the Oakland Raiders. The defense will have to be by committee.
“When you have that kind of ability and that kind of play-making, it’s hard to replace with one guy,” Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel said. “So, we’re going to ask all the guys on defense to pick it up, to put a little bit extra in it and see if we can gain some of those plays that J.J. used to make.
“That’s what we have to do. We’re going to try to ask everybody else to tighten their belts and then go play the best game that they’ve played.”
The Houston Texans (1-0, 1st AFC South) look to take early control of the AFC South when they host the Kansas City Chiefs (1-0, 1st AFC West) who are tied with Denver and Oakland for the AFC West lead. The Texans are the lone team in the AFC South with a win as the Titans, Jaguars and Colts all lost in week one.
Expect the Texans to put heavy pressure on QB Alex Smith and the Chiefs offensive line with J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and Jadeveon Clowney all chomping at the bit to get to the Smith.
“We have a lot of guys up front who can get to the quarterback,” Clowney said. “You can’t just double one of us. If you double one, the other guys are winning. Everybody was winning [against the Bears]. We have to hope we keep that going and offenses have a hard time game planning against us and keep winning games.”
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked five times against the Houston D last week, the highest season opener total in franchise history. Suffice to say, Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel has his defense primed and ready and moving Clowney from DE to OLB should keep the Chiefs guessing
“He’s [Clowney] had his hand on the ground and played with his hand on the ground all of his college career,” Crennel said. “He knows how to maneuver and handle himself in there a little bit. And he showed that he can do it, so we might try it again.”
We can all agree that another 30-0 blowout is not likely.
It is usually not the norm when a free agent comes in and takes command of a defense. Not normally, but when you’ve already sweat hundreds of hours under the sun for new Defensive Coordinator Romero Crennel, the transition to a new team can have less disruptive impact.
Enter free agents nose tackle Jerrell Powe and free safety Kendrick Lewis, both coming over from the Kansas City Chiefs. Crennel was the defensive coordinator between 2005 – 2010 and the Head Coach from 2010 until the end of last season.
“I kind of help the guys on small details on what Romeo expects and how to play the defense,” Powe said in an interview on Texans Radio. “A couple of guys asked me about certain techniques and I help them out, let them know what Romeo expects, how he likes things done and the do’s and the don’ts just to keep him happy. When he walks into the meeting and he’s happy with us, he’s pretty pleased with practice.”