The organization has also made a significant front office change

Texans promote from within for new DC as changes begin

Getty Images

A few of the Texans changes are just a sign of Bill O'Brien's increasing power.

Romeo Crennel is out

This was a move that had to be made. Despite issues with health and talent, the Texans defense was not anywhere close to good enough under Romeo Crennel. A top five points per game number in 2018 turned into the 19th best figure in football in 2019 capped off by defensive ineptitude against the Chiefs in the playoffs. The Texans were also bottom five in yards per game.

The Texans once before had Crennel leaving the defensive coordinator spot with the promotion of Mike Vrabel to defensive coordinator only to have the long-time coordinator return when Vrabel was hired by the Titans. Hopefully this move works out better than the last time as Vrabel oversaw a massive drop off in his one year at the head of the defense.

It wouldn't be unusual to expect to still see Crennel with the Texans considering the youth and inexperience as a coordinator the new team's defensive coordinator possesses.

Anthony Weaver is in

I didn't believe the Texans would turn to Anthony Weaver as their next defensive coordinator, perhaps opting for more experience, but here we are. I really enjoy this risk the Texans are taking.

Weaver is well respected across the NFL and people I have talked to mentioned they thought he might have been ready to coordinate a defense before last season. There is a thought he will be a head coach in the league eventually if his success as a position coach carries over to the coordinator job.

Weaver has been in Houston coaching the defensive line for four seasons after two seasons doing the same in Cleveland. I don't need to tell you the Texans defensive line has vastly overachieved when you think about the actual investment the team has made in it to this date. Weaver has turned player after player into contributor and has coached up D.J. Reader, a late round pick, to near the top of his position.

Weaver played under Rex Ryan when Ryan was the defensive line coach and defensive coordinator in Baltimore. He also coached under current Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in Cleveland.

This is no easy task for Weaver. He takes over a side of the ball with quite a few holes to fill via either free agency, trade, or the draft. His side of the football lacks overall talent and there aren't a ton of avenues to get a talent influx for the Texans defense.

A new leader of the defense, and hopefully new direction, could be a huge move for a side of the ball that underwhelmed in 2019. Of course, they didn't underwhelm anywhere near the level of underwhelming the offense was, but there have yet to be many changes on that side of the ball.

The last time the Texans promoted from within for this position, they failed miserably that season on defense bottoming-out. The team will have to hope Weaver has different results.

Contract expert shown the door

This was a huge shocker to me from the front office side of the Texans. When I talked at length about the Texans with people around the NFL there was always a conversation about how no matter what the structure was when it came to the general manager situation the Texans could lean on Chris Olsen to make sure their contracts were lined up right.

Olsen was very well thought of around the league. Now, the Texans have one less front office mind to lean on as the non-GM situation seems to continue.

I would say though, over the past year, the Texans have handed out some very un-Olsen type deals to players. Nick Martin's contract seemed pricey. Whitney Mercilus potentially was overpaid a great deal. But there were still plenty of really good deals made in the past year.

The Texans are set to negotiate two of the biggest contracts in franchise history this offseason with the expectation quarterback Deshaun Watson and left tackle Laremy Tunsil get new deals.

For whatever reason, Bill O'Brien and Jack Easterby along with whatever other people sit on the council of decision-making have decided the contract expert was not needed. This could be because they have someone in mind for these duties but it also could mean something much bigger.

This could be a clearing so the Texans could hire a general manager. Now, I believe O'Brien would still maintain power over said GM but I also think it would take a lot off O'Brien's plate while still allowing him to work with the offense to a great degree.

O'Brien can't continue at his current pace. He was spread too thin and the team suffered for it. A general manager could take some of those duties off his hands while allowing him to get back to the offense in a more full-time capacity. Again, I believe O'Brien would remain the final decision maker on most everything, but it wouldn't hurt to have that title on someone and help the Texans top employee

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

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.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome