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A Look At New Defensive Coordinator Anthony Weaver

A profile of Romeo Crennel’s replacement.

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a ton of movement in the Texans’ front office/regime, so it’s relatively easy to forget one of their biggest moves so far. Last week, the Texans promoted defensive line coach Anthony Weaver to defensive coordinator and moved Romeo Crennel to an internal staff position. Though Crennel has been put in this vague support role before, this is Weaver’s first stint as a coordinator.

Weaver fits the bill of a Bill O’Brien defensive coordinator—a defensive specialist who will stay out of O’Brien’s way on offense and won’t threaten his job. Promoting cronies is a staple of the Bill Belichick era, and O’Brien is following that model lock and step. John McClain summed it up pretty well on Twitter earlier this week.

The announcement of Weaver’s promotion met with little rebuttal within the fanbase. Either Texans fans are still too distraught to pay attention to the Texans yet, they have become numb to the Texans’ front office moves in expectation of another 9-10 win season, or they are still grieving from the Astros news.

Weaver, a Notre Dame graduate, was a second round pick of the Baltimore Ravens and played there for four years. He finished his NFL career in Houston, playing here from 2006 to 2008.

His ascension in the coaching ranks has been rather quick. After two years coaching in the college ranks, Weaver made the move to the New York Jets in 2012. Rex Ryan coached Weaver in Baltimore and brought him in as an Assistant Defensive Line coach. His stint in New York was not long. He was promoted to Defensive Line coach for the Buffalo Bills in 2013 and then made a lateral move to the same position under Mike Pettine in Cleveland.

He’s had the opportunity to coach J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Danny Shelton, Marcell Dareus, and D.J. Reader. We know much less about Weaver than we did about Mike Vrabel, who shined in the spotlight of Hard Knocks.

Crennel’s defense was predicated on man-to-man coverage, downfield linebackers, and outside linebackers whose focus was to seal the edge rather than rush. Pass rush was usually generated by the seven man front with little support from the secondary. Usually in a nickel package, the secondary was fluid and match-up oriented. Houston’s secondary tended to play severely soft coverage when there was a lead.

It’s unknown what type of defense Weaver will put together. Unrestricted free agency should lead to a high turnover on the defensive side of the ball. D.J. Reader, Bradley Roby, Brandon Dunn, and Dylan Cole are among Houston’s pending free agents. Depending on who leaves and who signs with the Texans, Weaver could be severely handicapped entering his first year as the defensive coordinator.

This is what he signed up for. What do you expect from Weaver in 2020?