When they take on the Texans on Sunday, Jay Gruden will match wits with Romeo Crennel, the former Chiefs head coach and de facto defensive coordinator. Since there is very limited preseason tape of Crennel directing the Texans’ defense, the logical thing for Gruden to do was to spend time studying up on the defenses the Crennel ran in Kansas City from 2011-2012.
But there are pitfalls in that approach, according to Gruden. It can cause some degree of confusion.
“You watch so much tape you don’t even know what the hell you’re looking at any more,” Gruden told the Houston media on a Wednesday conference call. “I thought I was playing Kansas City for about three weeks I watched so much Kansas City tape.”
In addition, it’s one thing studying the X’s and O’s, but the players on the field are what really matters. That reality hit Gruden after his extensive Chiefs film study.
“Then I realized they didn’t have J.J. Watt, and I was like ‘Oh, crap,’” he said.
The presence of a player like Watt will change what a defensive coordinator does along the front line and that has ripple effects that run through the rest of the defense. So, what Crennel does on Sunday may bear very little resemblance to what he did with the Chiefs.
It’s not like Gruden can’t glean a few tips here and there from watching Chiefs tape. But Washington’s success on offense likely will come down to blocking and accurate passing more than Gruden outdueling Crennel.