Romeo Crennel has a unique perspective on the Patriots' franchise.
The Texans interim head coach has a trio of Super Bowl rings from his time as defensive coordinator there from 2001 through 2004. In the mid-1990's, he coached the defensive line there for four seasons. Before that, he and Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick coached together as assistants with the Giants. The latter joined New York in 1979 and left in 1991, while the former came along in 1981 and left after the 1992 season.
While both are now coaching teams with losing records in 2020, Crennel detailed what he's seen from afar with the Patriots under a new quarterback in Cam Newton.
"He's trying to get indoctrinated to the system and it takes time," Crennel said. "You see a good game and then you see a game that's so-so, and so then you wonder exactly what you're going to get."
New England beat the Ravens on Sunday Night Football last night in Foxborough. The victory pushed their record to 4-5, and Crennel knows the Patriots will be a challenge for the Texans.
"I know what Bill preaches," Crennel said. "I know what Bill is going to try to do so that he can win the game. I think that those players that he has, they will fall in line and just like last night, they fell in line even though the weather was a factor. But they fell in line and ran the ball to keep a good quarterback on the sideline."
Newton has played eight games this season, and guided the Patriots to a 4-4 record in that span. The 2015 NFL MVP has completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 1,535 yards. He's thrown three touchdowns, run for nine more, and been picked off seven times.
"He is a big man and he can run and he doesn't mind running, particularly as you get him into the red zone, he'll pull it down," Crennel said. "You have to be disciplined in your rush lanes and how you rush the guy because if you are undisciplined and you've got three guys on one side and one guy on the other, that creates a big running lane for the quarterback. We have to be disciplined and have two inside rushers, two outside rushers and collapse the pocket on him so that he can't run."
Kickoff is set for Noon CT inside NRG Stadium. The Texans won the last meeting between these two teams, which was Week 13 last season in Houston.