A WEEKLY REVIEW OF CRENNEL'S COACHING

Now my job: Texans had no answers for Aaron Rodgers

Texans get crushed by Green Bay, 35-20. Photo by Getty Images.

There are few things in Texas that get people of all different backgrounds fired up. If you hurt puppies, burn/waste BBQ, or slap a little kid, you might find yourself at odds with the good folks in the state of Texas. You could disparage their favorite high school or college football team and end up needing medical attention. But if you're the local city's NFL team that starts a promising season with a paltry 1-6 record after firing the head coach/general manager whom everyone else assumed was the problem, you should start losing sleep over what may become of you.

That's how I believe Romeo Crennel and the rest of the Texans' coaching staff should feel after their embarrassing 35-20 loss to the Packers at home. When you're facing a future Hall of Fame quarterback with a rag tag bunch of defensive backs, I don't expect things to be so lopsided. However, when you go down 21-0 in the first half after only mustering 130 yards of offense on 25 total plays, it's par for the course.

Let's get something straight: I'm not letting Bill O'Brien off the hook here, neither am I giving the remaining coaching staff a pass. The situation is all kinds of jacked up. But we're still talking about NFL caliber players and coaches that are failing to show up. The Packers' defense has been known to give up some points. This offense couldn't find a way to put any up until the second half. Their second half offense was a prime example of if too little too late was a group of people. The Packers put up 263 of their 379 yards in the first half. Did the Texans' defense discover something at the half to stop or slow down the Packers? Hell no! The Packers simply let off the gas!

Last week, I watched as Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles devised a gameplan to disrupt the Packers' offense. He had Aaron Rodgers running for his life. The Bucs sacked Rodgers five times and held them to an impressive 201 yards in a 38-10 statement game. You would think the staff on Kirby would've taken heed to what they saw and developed a similar gameplan to keep the Packers from going nuts. Nope! Instead, they allowed the Packers to do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. (Here's the part where I'd normally pine for more playing time for the young pass rushers.)

This team isn't completely devoid of talent. While it may be bare, there are some talented players still on this roster. It's up to the coaching staff to put them into the right positions to succeed. There are times in which this staff puts them in position to do so, but the execution isn't there. Which of these occurs more often is debatable. What isn't is the fact that Brandin Cooks seemed to throw people under the bus with his postgame comments saying "we need to be more consistent in practice." JJ Watt even got in on the act by being very short with his responses in his postgame comments. The walls are starting to crumble. The building was already on shaky ground. It may be time to rebuild.

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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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