By: Ian Logue/
December 22, 2003

No Brady or Gronk, but plenty of storylines at Patriots OTAs
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New Patriots DL Danny Shelton preps to hit the hill
Patriots center David Andrews excited with his new Georgia Bulldog teammates

FOXBORO, MA -- Former Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin may be considered the top choice for a team looking for a new head man, but it appears that Romeo Crennel may finally get his due when the Patriots season finally comes to an end.

Especially if the team's trip home includes a flight back from Houston after another Superbowl Championship.

According to a report in the New York Times both Crennel and offensive coordinator Charlie Wies may also be in the mix for the New York Giants head coaching vacancy. Giants owner Ernie Accorsi reportedly stuck around Saturday night to attend the Patriots -- Jets game because he felt it was, "more productive" to be there than in Dallas where his team was preparing to take on the Cowboys. He instead was planning to take a later flight to be there the next day for the game.

Because of the NFL rules against tampering, Accorsi reportedly did not mention Crennel or Weis by name. Instead, he reportedly referred to the coaches as 'them' and didn't try to hide why he was there telling reporters, "I'm not going to insult your intelligence."

Unfortunately for the Patriots the price of success typically includes losing the assistants who helped the success of the team. The real test for Belichick may then become finding someone else that can come in and make the smooth transition to keep New England's success going.

It appears that the majority of the NFL doesn't consider the Patriots to have a large group of Pro Bowl calibur players. That was made even more evident after Richard Seymour and Ty Law were the only two from New England selected to make the trip to Hawaii after the season. That would lead many to believe that they feel the success of the team has come from the coaching staff.

Now that success may cost Bill Belichick Crennel and possibly offensive Wies when the season finally ends.

Should the Patriots win another Championship, it's probably a lock.

Belichick has told the media in the past he would never hold any of his coaches back from having a chance to become head coaches elsewhere. It appears he's acknowledging the fact that he may be on the verge of losing them after allowing both Crennel and Weis to speak to the New York media following Saturday night's win over the Jets.

"My experience in the league, for one. I've been with winners," Crennel told the Boston Herald. When asked to list his strengths the Patriots defensive coordinator told the newspaper, "I'm a teacher. I can communicate."

Crennel was also asked about the perception that the Pats' defense belongs to Bill Belichick. ``I run the meetings and I make all the calls,'' Crennel said.

That defense is currently ranked seventh in the league in yards per game (294.0) and is second in the league in points allowed per contest (15.3). They are also tied for first in the NFL with Minnesota with 27-interceptions. They also lead the league by a huge margin in passes defensed with 115, twenty more than the Texans who are #2 with 95.

Despite losing Roosevelt Colvin who was supposed to be the pass-rusher that the team had sorely been lacking to injury, the team is currently third in the AFC in sacks with 37, and is tied for third in the AFC with Denver for forced fumbles with 16.

Not bad for a defense with just two Pro Bowlers.

So for now Patriots fans can sit back and enjoy what may be a ride to another possible title, but the success may be leading to some changes. It's likely that they're going to lose one coordinator at the end of the season. The next question may be whether Belichick will be looking for more than one person heading into next year.

"If I don't get that job, I hope (Crennel) gets it.'' Said Weis while discussing the vacancy with the Giants with the New York media.

"I'd be excited (to get a head job) For me. For my family. I look at someone like Bill (Belichick) who's gotten to the height of his sport and you'd like to see what it would be like if you were in that seat."

Both he and Crennel may finally find out.