RAC is back.
Even though he never really left.
Romeo Crennel, nicknamed "RAC", returned to the post of defensive coordinator this offseason after spending 2017 as an assistant head coach. Mike Vrabel was the DC last autumn, and is now the head coach of the Titans. From 2014 through 2016 Crennel coordinated the Texans defense, and in that final campaign it led the NFL in fewest yards allowed per game.
His players are excited about Crennel's return.
"It feels good," linebacker Whitney Mercilus said in a Tuesday press conference. "Just to have him as the head honcho on the defensive side, it's going to be great. We love playing for RAC. He doesn't get mad too often unless you mess up his defense and what not. He holds everybody accountable."
Defensive end J.J. Watt, who won two of his three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards under Crennel, showered his defensive coordinator with praise.
"He's a brilliant football mind," Watt said. "Even better than his football mind is his personality and what he brings to the locker room, what he brings to the team, the meetings."
Watt's on the comeback trail from an early October knee injury. A regular in the training room as he attacks rehab, he shared about his daily interactions with Crennel.
"Every single morning when he walks in, I'm in there, and he comes and taps me on the leg and he says how you doing today and we have a little five-minute chat and every single day it's some cool little five-minute chat that I get to have with RAC," Watt said.
Tyrann Mathieu hasn't played a game or gone through a practice yet as a Texan, but he said Crennel's insistence about where Mathieu will line up is a positive.
"I'm more excited about him just helping me commit to playing safety right now," Mathieu said. "Those were things that I didn't really do in the past, necessarily. I played four or five different positions, I had four or five different responsibilities and I never could really perfect one craft."
Mathieu and the Texans continue with offseason conditioning through the rest of the month and throughout May at NRG Stadium. They'll start OTAs (organized team activities) on May 21.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 3/2/2021)