At the end of the 2014 season, it will be 25 years since Romeo Crennel started coaching defense in the National Football League. Romeo got his defensive start under Bill Parcells coaching defensive line for the eventual Superbowl Champion New York Giants in 1990. During his nearly quarter century in the league, Romeo has never had a defensive end as gifted as J.J. Watt, as such, this post is starting with that caveat in mind.
Let’s start by looking back and discovering exactly who Romeo has coached at J.J.’s position, and how productive they were in terms of sacks and tackles under his tutelage. The following spreadsheet shows exactly that:
As you can see, he has only had one DE break the 10 sack mark and that came in his 2nd year as a D-line coach. Additionally, he has had less than 10 DEs break the 50 solo tackles mark. Conversely, in J.J. Watt‘s three years in the league he has averaged 12 sacks and 64 solo tackles per year, breaking the 10 sack mark twice, and the 50 tackle mark all 3 years.
So again, there are not many players in NFL history, let alone in Romeo coached defensive units, that have had the talent of J.J. Watt. So where will J.J. will finish next season? Where he always finishes: playing hard till the whistle, and finishing plays with authority. It will matter what type of defense you put him in, he will be a star. Will his sacks and tackles go down? Maybe, but all that will mean is that teams are going away from him or getting rid of the ball when he comes their way.
Finally it has been said recently that J.J. will want to leave if he doesn’t like the system. Well looking through the player lists of Romeo defenses, you notice an odd thing, his players seem to follow him wherever he goes. Willie McGinest, Shaun Smith, and Rick Lyle are just a few names of guys who played for Romeo on at least two different teams. Its doubtful these guys would want to follow a coach to another team if they did not like his system. In 2012, the players in Kansas City loved playing for him.
So in conclusion, it is time for to make a WAG about J.J.’s numbers in 2014. He is going to be even more hungry after this disappointing year and will get 15 sacks and 70 tackles, but like everyone else this is just guessing. However, after doing the research for this story, I am more excited about the hire than ever. Romeo Crennel is the defensive coordinator for my team. Just stop and think about that we have a 4 time Superbowl winning coach in our midst, pretty awesome right. Here’s to a fun next season!