A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans falter down the stretch in low-scoring loss

Texans drop to 2-7. Photo by Getty Images.

When your opponent scores 10 points, you'd think your chances at winning would increase exponentially. Not if you're the Texans. They fell to the Browns 10-7 in what was a game of missed opportunities. There were chances to make plays and call things better, but the Texans failed in both aspects.

When examining a one possession loss, there are times in which you can point to specific decisions. The main one I'm looking at here was the failed 4th & Goal from the 2-yard line in the first quarter. The idea in and of itself was a poor decision. You're on the road down 3-0 to a much more talented team. It's very early in the game and you're well within field goal range. Why risk it? Take your three points and keep it moving! There's no need to make a statement. You're a 2-6 football team. All you need to be worried about is trying to stay in games and giving yourself a chance to win. The other issue I have with it is the play that was called. Spreading the defense out and attempting a quarterback draw was what I would call Tim Kelly trying to get cute. The Browns defensive line is very good. Myles Garrett came around the end and made sure Deshaun Watson wasn't going to sniff the end zone. In fact, Watson lost two yards on the play. While the wind played a key factor in several decisions this game, I highly doubt it would've caused a problem on a 19-yard field goal attempt.

As much as Romeo Crennel and Tim Kelly got wrong, they did some things right. The decision to incorporate more motion in the offense presnap appeared to have kept the defense at bay. The run, pass, option (RPO) plays actually worked because there was a threat that you could see either of the three and a threat that Watson could actually keep it and run. Who knew! Watson had plays where runs were called for him, as well as bootlegs in which he could run if he saw fit. When the offense flows like it did, you'd think there would be more points scored. Alas, they only mustered up a measly seven when it should have been more. The run defense actually looked decent through the first half and long into the third quarter. It faltered late as they simply wore down. It was nice to see them keep the team in the game for as long as they did.

A couple other interesting decisions stuck out to me. We saw Will Fuller on the punt return team a couple times. He didn't do much, but I thought that was a nice wrinkle. Tyrell Adams was the signal caller on the defense. I found him being the one with the communication helmet instead of Zach Cunningham very interesting. He's played pretty well for them and I'm glad he's getting a shot.

Moving forward, this team is in trouble. It has a chance to salvage the season by not sucking as bad because there's no hope at making the playoffs. If the run defense can step up the way they did and the offense can find a rhythm, there's an outside shot they can beat a team not named the Jags. 2-7 looks way worse when you've only beaten the Jags and don't own your first or second rounder.

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Start your engines! Photo by Wiki Commons.

The NASCAR Cup Series heads for Michigan International Speedway for the FireKeepers 400. MIS is one of the fastest racetracks in the country, as cars are capable of reaching speeds of 201-205 miles per hour. Hopefully, we will see a safe race considering the speeds we see here. We will more than likely see a race that is vastly different from what we saw last here when the drivers utilized the draft to pass around this track. This year, the cars are less aero-dependent and will be much more spread out. The drivers will need to continue to manage their tires as they have been doing all year.

Last weekend at Indy, Tyler Reddick captured his second victory of 2022 in dramatic fashion. The race came down to numerous restarts where drivers would drive way too deep into the first corner and run into each other each time. This was the central theme of the race, as restarts pretty much decided everything. We saw drivers like AJ Allmendinger, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney get swept up in wrecks in turn one. On the final restart, Ross Chastain decided he didn’t want to be a part of these shenanigans and took the access road that skipped turn one. This moved catapulted him to the lead with Tyler Reddick as the two battled for the lead in a two-lap shootout. When the dust settled, Reddick came away victorious and Ross Chastain was black flagged for shortcutting.

The finish of this race sparked a serious debate among drivers and fans alike about ditching the Indianapolis road course and returning to the oval in 2023. Personally, this doesn’t make any sense to me. While yes, turn one is difficult to maneuver, it’s mainly because drivers all decide to send it as deep as they can, not because of the racetrack configuration. It’s also a bit disingenuous as for years, drivers and fans have been saying they don’t want to see the oval and that the track is designed for IndyCar. If I had to choose, I would say NASCAR just stop going to Indy and go to the short track down the road at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. We have seen so many great races there, and I think the Cup Series would be perfect for that track. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how NASCAR responds to this and what they decide to do for next season.

Kurt Busch will be out for the third consecutive week as he continues to recover from a concussion. This has been tough to hear about, and now there are legitimate concerns that he will not return to racing. There is a good chance however that 23XII could be saving him for the playoffs which are coming up.

For now, Ty Gibbs will continue to fill in for Busch. In his two starts the young phenom has performed extremely well, finishing 16th at Pocono and 17th at Indy. It’s clear that this young man can drive these cars, the only problem is finding a place for him to run next season.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Martin Truex Jr. By any other standard, the season that Truex is having has been great. Constantly up front, leading laps and just overall contending. Unfortunately for him, 2022 hasn’t been just any average season. With 14 winners and Truex not being one of them, he is on the playoff bubble even though he is fourth in points. While his playoff future maybe uncertain right now, there are some good racetracks he is going to where can easily get that first win, and Michigan is one of them. Over the last four races here, he currently has the highest average finish, the highest percentage of laps led, but no victories. I see that changing this week. Toyota and Gibbs have been fast this season as Truex’s teammates have all punched their tickets to the playoffs. Look for Truex to be next in line.

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