The Houston Texans new head coach Bill O’Brien is bringing a new attitude to the offices of Reliant Stadium. Shortly after being hired, O’Brien spent his first weekend on the job removing anything emphasizing individuals at the Texans facility. Any item that was not focused on the concept of the team, be it a jersey or an award, was taken down from the walls. The message that he was conveying in eliminating any individualism is that the group, the team and organization, is above all.
With that new attitude, O’Brien is also bringing a new coaching staff to town. He parted ways with 16 assistants from the Kubiak regime, with defensive line coach Bill Kollar being retained as the lone holdover. With O’Brien in the process of finalizing his staff as scouting for the 2014 NFL Draft is ramping up, two big names with head coaching experience are in line to likely join the team soon. They are Romeo Crennel, and Mike Munchak.
Crennel, who sat out of coaching in 2013 after being fired as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, is slated to replace Wade Phillips as the Texans defensive coordinator. Crennel met with O’Brien last week, and after completing his coaching duties in the East-West Shrine college all-star game this weekend, plans to accept O’Brien’s offer to become defensive coordinator.
Despite the fact that both men have worked for the New England Patriots under Bill Belichick, that meeting was an introduction, as they have never worked together before. Crennel was defensive coordinator in New England from 2001-2004, helping lead the Patriots to three Super Bowl victories in his four seasons with Belichik. The New England defense was among the best in the league during his tenure.
Crennel did not have the same success as a head coach in the NFL. In stints with the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs, his teams had a combined record of 26-55. By bringing him on board, the Texans will remain a 3-4 defense, although Crennel’s 3-4 is known for being a more traditional one than the one ran by Phillips.
Munchak, who was the head coach of the Tennessee Titans from 2011-2013 before being fired at season’s end, interviewed with O’Brien last Friday for the Texans Offensive Line coaching position. Munchak, was also in line for another head coaching position, having interviewed with the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns for their openings. The Lions hiring Jim Caldwell as head coach today greatly increased the likelihood that Munchak will land in Houston once again.
He had a 12 year Hall of Fame playing career as an offensive lineman with the Houston Oilers from 1982-1993. Munchak received his start in coaching as an offensive assistant with the Oilers for three seasons before becoming offensive line coach when the franchise moved to Tennessee in 1997. He held that position until being promoted to head coach in 2010.
In the likelihood that Munchak joins the Texans, he could be bringing another old Houston name with him. That would be Bruce Matthews, who also had a Hall of Fame career on the offensive line of the Oilers/Titans. Matthews was the offensive line coach under Munchak in Tennessee. Should Munchak join the fold, he may bring Matthews back to the Texans for a second coaching stint with the team. Matthews was an offensive assistant on the Texans staff during the 2009 and 2010 seasons before joining Munchak’s staff in Nashville.