Every-Thing Sports

Mentors are invaluable; here are some in the Houston media who have helped my journey

@itsmaxedison Twitter

Last Friday, Gifford Louis "Max" Edison passed away. He was a long time staple of the Houston sports media scene. I've met Max a few times. Mainly in the pressbox at Texans games. He was always friendly. Max was a true pro's pro. He dressed to impress and had stories for days. I never got to know him the way some others have. Perhaps the most fitting tribute I've seen was written by Jerome Solomon. Jerome was one of the many guys that Max mentored.

After learning of his passing, and a conversation the week prior with someone who's helped me immensely, it made me think of those have helped and/or mentored me along the way. Paying it forward is something that takes selfless action, a humble spirit, and being in a position to help and inspire others to achieve. This business is like swimming in the deep waters. It's full of sharks. Great White alpha predator sharks. If you want to survive and thrive, you'll need a few Killer Whales to help you swim past those Great Whites. Here's a few of the people that have helped me along the way:

David Nuño

David Nuño

@DavidNunoABC13 Twitter

I used to listen to 1560 The Game a lot. I showed up to a live remote and talked to a few of the hosts. The one who genuinely took an interest in me and what I could potentially do was David Nuño. A few months later, I was shooting and editing a video after every Texans home game with him. He showed me how to hustle and get sound pre and post game. I remember him having goals and working always towards them. But he took time to help me get my foot in the door and I'll always be grateful for that.

Raheel Ramzanali

Raheel Ramzanali

@The_Raheel Twitter

When Nuño entrusted me to upload video content to the 1560 website, I sucked at it. The person who helped me get better and somewhat quicker was Raheel Ramzanali. Most people who are older than someone in a work environment have a hard time taking instruction or direction from someone younger than them. I threw that ridiculous idea out the window because Raheel was ( and still is) damn good at the whole digital/social media thing. He and Nuño are the reason I started my social media accounts. They are squarely to blame for anything I've posted since 2009.

Craig Shelton

Craig Shelton

@OGRebelino Twitter

I was doing some good stuff for 1560 with Nuño, Raheel, and the gang at 1560. But life happened, and I had to step away from things (another story for another day). I started listening to and following what Craig was doing on another radio station, as well as his blog site Houston Media Watch (HMW). I can't remember how we linked up, but I started blogging for HMW. Next thing you know, he invited me on his weekend show at another station. After doing that show for a while (where I learned to work a board), he asked me to be apart of his Tuesday night show named Hustletown on ESPN 97.5. While we always put on an entertaining show, the car rides and conversations to and from shows and events were filled with knowledge. Professional wrestlers often cite car rides with older wrestlers as their best learning tools in the business. I can attest to this after the many car rides and conversations with Craig.

Fred Faour

Fred Faour

While I was doing Hustletown, Fred heard the work Craig and I were putting in. He was one of the people that believed in the content Craig Shelton was producing on that show. After having us fill in on The Blitz with him, Fred asked about other opportunities, such as writing for this site. I jumped at the chance of working with him knowing he could help me hone my skills and here I am now. This developed into more fill in gigs on 97.5, as well as SB Nation.

These are just a few of the key people who've helped me along the way. Others, like Kim Davis ( the epitome of grace and class in this business), have offered their help and advice on my journey to get me where I am now. This journey isn't finished and there will be a ton more people to add to this growing list. I would be here all day trying name every single person who's helped me along the way. I've even tried to start doing the same thing these awesome people have done for me to others. One of the interns at 97.5 is like a nephew to me. It brings me great joy to see him working hard and trying to succeed in this business. A good friend of mine named Calvin has always wanted to start his own podcast. After two years of convincing him to do so, he finally started last week. I look forward to helping him on his journey as well. My point in writing this was not to suck up to the ones I've named here. It's to inspire those who are in positions to help others. Not just in this field, but in life in general. One thing I got from reading Jerome's article was that Max did this for countless others. Not only in this business, but in life itself. Let's continue to pay it forward to those we can help along the way on this crazy journey through life. You never know who you could be helping or inspiring to achieve greatness.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans feast on Lions

Photo by Getty Images.

Thanksgiving is full of tradition. There's the typical family gathering, large meal, and of course, football. Sometimes, new traditions are added and old ones are retired. I think the Texans did both in their impressive 41-25 win over the Lions in Detroit. Old traditions were carried on (Lions losing on Thanksgiving), some were put to rest (Texans not being able to get turnovers), and new ones were started (multiple passing touchdowns by Deshaun Watson in six straight games).

The fact that this defense got three turnovers in the game was unbelievable! They got all three in the first quarter within the span of eight plays. JJ Watt's pick-six was insane. He went for a batted ball, ended up catching it, and ran it in. They forced Jonathan Williams to fumble on the Lions' very next play from scrimmage and recovered it. On the Lions' next possession, the Texans recovered yet another fumble after the challenge was reversed. Great call by the coaching staff to challenge and win. The defense looked good. Tyrell Adams stood out because he was in on those two fumbles, made 17 total tackles with 14 of them being solo tackles. They also brought pressure that seemed to make Matthew Stafford very inaccurate and resulted in four sacks. I give defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver credit for knowing he needs to blitz to get pressure, but the run defense has to improve.

The offense kept the tempo up in this game as well. The spread and hurry-up were used to keep the Lions already staggered defense off balance. Knowing the Lions were without a couple defensive backs, I thought it would be the perfect marriage of their defense and the Texans' offense. A buddy asked before the game about the line (Texans -3.5) and the over/under (52.5). I told him bet the Texans and the over because neither team can play defense and both have good quarterbacks. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly put together another good game plan and Watson executed it flawlessly. One route combo I saw later on in the game I particularly enjoyed. Two receivers were tight to the left side. Cooks ran a hook/curl and settled in the middle of the zone while Fuller ran a vertical route. Duke Johnson ran a swing route to that same side. It left Cooks wide open as the attention went to Johnson in the flat, Fuller deep, and the action to the other play side. Route combos are important because it gives the quarterback different reads as he goes through his progressions and lets him pick apart the defense based on what he sees. Combine that with Watson's play and the way Kelly has changed his play calling now that he's liberated from he who shall not be named, we're seeing a beautiful thing.

As good as things were, there's still room for improvement. The defense gives up way too many easy yards, both run and pass. They can't get pressure bringing only four and will often give up big plays if the blitz is picked up. Plus the run defense is still an issue as evidenced by the Lions' first possession of the second half. The Lions ran the ball 10 plays straight for a total of 58 yards on that drive. Utterly ridiculous! Watson was good (17/25 318 yards and four touchdowns), but he missed two more touchdowns with passes slightly off, and continues to hold onto the ball too long at times. The difference between these two issues I've presented here is the fact that Watson has so played well, his "issues" are minor and very correctable, while the defense is terrible and there's no easy fix in sight. But let Romeo Crennel and Anthony Weaver tell it, they're getting the most out of these guys and they're playing disciplined.

The thought that this team may actually creep into the playoff picture may take shape better after next week if they can beat the Colts. I doubt it, but it is getting interesting. Let's see what else happens around them because they need help getting there.

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