Romeo Crennel wants better attitude, energy from winless Houston Texans

HOUSTON -- When the 0-4 Houston Texans take the field against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, interim coach Romeo Crennel is hoping to see a rejuvenated group of players.

"I hope our attitude and energy is different, and then I hope that our performance is different," Crennel said. "I mean, you're not going to come in and put in a new offense or new defense just overnight, because it takes time.

"So we're going to have to work with what we have and then try to get our players to play it better than we have been playing it, and more consistently, because that's part of our problem. We're not as consistent as we need to be."

Crennel is taking over for Bill O'Brien, who was fired Monday in his seventh season in Houston. O'Brien also became the team's general manager during the offseason.

Crennel has previously been a head coach for the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs, going 28-55 over five full seasons. He got the Chiefs job after going 2-1 as the interim coach in 2011.

Crennel was hired to O'Brien's staff as the defensive coordinator in 2014. He was promoted to associate head coach in 2017 so the Texans could make Mike Vrabel the defensive coordinator in order to prevent him from leaving for another job. After Vrabel was named head coach of the Tennessee Titans after that season, Crennel went back to the defensive coordinator role. Then, in January, Crennel moved back into the associate head coach role when defensive line coach Anthony Weaver was promoted to defensive coordinator.

After O'Brien was fired, he told Texans owner Cal McNair that he thought Crennel should take over as interim coach. Crennel said he told McNair he "wanted to be the guy" to bring some stability to the franchise that he has been around for seven seasons.

"I have relationships with a lot of these players and I know that sometimes change is difficult, particularly when you bring somebody from the outside in," Crennel said. "So I want to do as much for these guys as I can to see if we can finish this season on a good note and have some stability in the organization."

On Sunday, Crennel will become the oldest coach in NFL history at 73 years and 115 days old, according to Elias. Prior to Sunday, only George Halas and Marv Levy had coached a game at more than 70 years old.

"I'm just a football coach, and I enjoy coaching and that's why I'm still coaching," Crennel said. "And so I'm just going to try to make this team better and try to win a game."

Crennel said he is going to "put an emphasis on our technique and fundamentals" with the goal of trying to get the team "to look good on a more consistent basis."

"I think that will give us a chance to be in a game and have a chance to win it," Crennel said.

Crennel was asked if he thought the winless Texans could turn the season around and make a playoff run. Only one team in NFL history, the 1992 Chargers, have started the season 0-4 and still made the playoffs.

"I think that we have ability," Crennel said. "And if the ability and the coaching can put it all together, I think we can start winning. And once you start winning, I think attitudes change, outlooks change, guys play better and then only time will tell where you can go."