With the Patriots, who are second in the league in scoring defense, Crennel and Belichick work in much the same way. On Tuesdays the two talk for about 15 minutes about the game plan, and then Crennel brainstorms with his staff to finalize strategy. On the sideline the coordinator calls the defensive signals and is seldom overruled by Belichick.
Because of injuries to key players in its base 3-4 defense, New England has had to make adjustments on the fly. Nevertheless, the Pats have improved from 31st in run defense last year to fourth this season.
The Giants are likely to interview Crennel, and the Falcons and possibly the Raiders could be interested in the 23-year NFL assistant. "My track record is, I've been a part of a winner," says Crennel, 56. "I've been able to incorporate new players into new roles. And I can get players to play for me."