The Houston Texans ushered in a new era of football under interim head coach Romeo Crennel this week. After a few tweaks to the practice and meeting schedule, players were back at work preparing for Sunday's game against Jacksonville with the biggest priority getting back on the winning track.
"As far as the transition goes, RAC (Romeo Crennel) is doing a great job keeping everybody together and that's the biggest thing, especially with players as well, too," Whitney Mercilus said. "Guys who've been in this position before. Guys who have been with this organization for a long time and have gone through a change like this. Just keep everybody together. That's the biggest thing."
The team is in a transition position period, after parting ways with head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien on Monday. O'Brien was in his seventh year as head coach and second as general manager. Defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver believes Crennel will be "tremendous" in his new role. The Texans former associate head coach brings 38 years of NFL experience and has a focus on fundamentals and attention to detail that can only help the team get better on both sides of the ball.
Deshaun Watson has thrown six touchdown passes, three interceptions and completed passes to 11 different targets in 2020. Will Fuller V has recorded two 100-yard receiving games, averaging 15.2 yards per catch with two touchdown receptions. However, the run game has struggled, averaging just 73.5 yards per game and slow starts have plagued Houston's offense, which has been outscored 71-44 through the first four games.
"We all have the potential and we have the talent to be very explosive," Watson said. "We just have to put it together. We have to do it for four quarters. There's flashes where we don't do it the first half, we do it the second half. We do it the first half, we don't do I the second half. Once we put it all together and be explosive, we can go out there and win some games and put up a lot of points and have a lot of excitement. We haven't done that for four quarters."
Houston's defense has allowed a 181.8 yards per game and 4.88 rushing yards per play. The Texans rank fifth in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (211.5), but haven't logged a single takeaway through four games.
"It's all about consistency," Weaver said. "At this point, obviously, we're horrendous against the run. You read statistically we're last, you wouldn't think we could stop a nosebleed. But in yards per attempt, now we're more middle of the pack. We're 23, 24. So we've been a victim of the X-play run, which to me, it's not a matter of personnel, it's not a matter of scheme, but it's a matter of consistency. Whether that's in fits, in technique and fundamentals, or in missed tackles, we have to find a way to be more consistent. So, that's something we try to work on every single day. You hope it has to happen soon. We've got to break that wall soon and we've got to play that potential we believe – the standard that we believe can we reach."
The Texans believe they have the talent and plenty of games left to turn their 2020 season around. For Weaver, it's about putting the past behind them and focusing on what the team can control.
"For me, it's all about these players," Weaver said. "I've been in their shoes and they have such a short window in their careers and you never know how long it's going to last. So, I understand that for a lot of people it's a game. I get it. We're held to a high standard. It's entertainment. I understand that. But for these players in this locker room, their careers are finite. I understand where we're at. We're 0-4. We've got to do better. But there's 12 games left to play. These players and our staff are going to do everything in our power to try and win."
The Texans will host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 12 noon on CBS and SportsRadio 610.
Check out some photos from the Houston Texans Thursday practice.