Romeo Crennel’s got more pressing matters (like building the Chiefs defense) to worry about than the Patriots defensive coordinator opening right now.
But during today’s South team practice, he was nice enough to talk about a couple guys he’d worked with — Matt Patricia and Pepper Johnson — who could get the job. His experience with Patricia was limited (one year), so all Crennel could say was that “He was doing quality control , and he seemed like wanted to learn, that’s what I know about him.”
“Pepper’s been in football for a long time, both as a player and as a coach,” Johnson said. “He’s worked with linebackers, he’s worked with defensive line, probably the only thing he hasn’t worked with is secondary. Pepper has a good knowledge of football, he knows how to play the game, he’s been involved with a 3-4 defense, a 4-3 defense.
“I think Pepper is probably ready to take over a defense and be in control, and I anticipate he’ll have that opportunity soon.”
Was Romeo trying to say something there? Probably not.
But he does understand why Belichick would promote one of these coaches he helped raise.
“Bill came up that way, he volunteered, worked for very little (money) early in his career, and had to do all the dirty work, the go-fer work,” Crennel said. “As a result, he was able to learn a lot of football and I think he applies that to the young guys he brings in. If he finds hard-working guys who are sharp and will in the time, and he sees something in them, he’ll give them that opportunity.”
OK, here are a few more nuggets from my conversation with the Chiefs new defensive coordinator …
Importance of familiarity in KC: “The fact that there were several guys there who I’d worked with before, and I know what they’re about and how important winning is to them made it an appealing situation for me. I’m looking forward to going out and helping build and develop that program.”
Why he likes Todd Haley as HFC: “Because I know what he believes in and what he’s trying to get done. In those days (when those two, new OC Charlie Weis and GM Scott Pioli worked together with the Jets), we were coaches working hard, and that’s what I anticipate will happen in Kansas City, a lot of hard work and hopefully it’ll turn out to have a lot of victories.”
On how he followed football in his year off: “You watch a little bit from time to time, but was not glued to the set. You followed it on ESPN or in the newspaper, I did that. But I spent a lot of time with the family, and the grandkids.”
On if it’s tough going back to being an assistant: “I don’t believe so, because you’ve done it before. Hopefully, it’ll be like riding a bicycle. You get back on and you start riding, because you know how to do it. That’s what I anticipate. Sometimes things change, but I don’t anticipate they’ll change that much. There’ll be new people I’ll be working with on the defensive side on the ball, but they know football, coach football and if they’re hard workers, we’ll be alright.”
On why KC was the right fit: “The people that you’re working with, and the opportunity to build and develop that program. I’ve got a certain amount of experience in the system we’re gonna run and hopefully I can convey that to the players, and get them to perform at a high level.”