Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien announced Romeo Crennel will once again serve as the team's defensive coordinator, a role he previously filled from 2014 through 2016, after Mike Vrabel was hired as the Tennessee Titans' new head coach.
Mark Berman of KRIV passed along comments from O'Brien about Crennel, who spent the 2017 season as the Texans' assistant head coach.
"Yeah, he was still really involved with the defense this past year. He just had other duties helping me," he said. "He won't have as many of those duties. He'll be back being the defensive coordinator and still have the assistant head coach title."
Houston's defense was one of the league's best during the 70-year-old Virginia native's first stint.
The unit ranked third in yards allowed in 2015 and led the league in that category in 2016. It also finished no worse than 11th in points allowed across his three years in charge.
Meanwhile, the Texans came in 20th in yards allowed and last in points allowed during the 2017 campaign after Vrabel was elevated from linebackers coach into the coordinator role.
Losing defensive end J.J. Watt, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, after five games played a role in the struggles. But Watt only appeared in three contests the year before, and Crennel still guided the group to No. 1 in the total defense rankings.
Now Crennel, who's also served as head coach of the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs during a nearly 50-year coaching career, will regain the reins of a unit that should get its defensive stalwart back at full strength from a broken leg.
"I'm on track for training camp," Watt told reporters. "But my assumption is that it shouldn't be any problem, but if it needs a couple extra weeks, whatever, we'll take it. From my understanding and from everybody here's understanding, the way it's looking, everything's going really well. There shouldn't be any issues."
Getting healthy seasons from both Watt and fellow edge-rusher Jadeveon Clowney would put the Texans in line for a major bounce-back year defensively in 2018.