The day after his Texans fell in overtime, 42-36, at Tennessee, interim head coach Romeo Crennel met with the media via Zoom. He covered a range of topics about the game, the state of the team and the health of a few players. Below are some key points from his time with the press.
-2-point try thoughts: After Deshaun Watson found Brandin Cooks for a 1-yard touchdown pass with 1:50 remaining in regulation, the Texans were up 36-29. Instead of attempting the point-after try with kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn, Crennel had the offense on the field to go for two. If they converted, Houston would've held a 9-point advantage. Watson threw a pass in the direction of Randall Cobb, but it was deflected by the Titans' Jeffrey Simmons.
The Titans marched down the field in nine plays, tied the game with four seconds remaining, won the coin toss in overtime, and then scored the game-winning touchdown on the first and only drive of the extra period.
Crennel was asked Monday if he'd have gone for two again, and he didn't hesitate in his response.
"I would do it again because you know what, you're on the road against a division opponent who is undefeated, and if you can get a two-point conversion, you shut the door on them and you win the game," Crennel said. "I think that when you have that opportunity, if you want to win the game, you go ahead and you try it at that time. So, we had a guy open. Unfortunately, the ball got tipped and we didn't make it. Then, they were able to put it into overtime, they got the coin flip and then they win the game. I would do it again because I think it was a good choice."
-Stopping the run: The Texans defense struggled mightily, allowing 601 yards of offense from Tennessee. The Titans ran the ball 27 times and averaged 9.7 yards per carry. Run defense has been an Achilles heel for the Texans in 2020, and Crennel said the staff will meet today to figure out some ways to fix it. He offered up a few ideas on what the Texans might do moving forward.
"During this week we'll see if we can come up with a better pan than what we have," Crennel said. "Maybe we have to cut back on some of the things that we're doing to keep the mental errors to a minimum. Then the physical part of it, I think we have guys who can play physical football. Sometimes we don't always do it. But we have to focus on those two areas and see what we can come up with."
-Watt ownership: Defensive end J.J. Watt was disappointed following the loss, and said the poor results of the defense rest on his shoulders as a team captain and leader. He logged a strip-sack, a tackle for loss, a pass deflection and four total tackles in the loss, but still pointed the blame back at himself. On Monday morning, Crennel begged to differ with the 3-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
"It's nice that he says that, but I'm the head coach and the buck stops at my desk," Crennel said. "So, I'm the reason that we ended up losing that game. I think that that's the way everybody is going to look at it eventually down the road. If that were not the case, you'd be talking to Bill O'Brien right now. When you lose, nothing really good comes of it. It's great that J.J. said that, but it's not his fault. It's my fault."
-Health update: In the defensive backfield Sunday, safety Lonnie Johnson, Junior and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, III each were nicked up a bit. According to Crennel, Hargreaves "got banged in the knee", while Johnson was "kicked in the face". Both are getting checked out again Monday.
Cornerback Gareon Conley has been on injured reserve the entire season, and it doesn't sound like he'll be back on the 53-man roster in time for this Sunday's game against the Packers at NRG Stadium.
"He's trying to get back but I don't think that he's where we need him to be right now," Crennel said. "He's had second opinions and they haven't been able to pinpoint anything definite. We'll have to see how he does and if he can get back."