HOUSTON - "We're not going to let it get to that," interim head coach Romeo Crennel said Monday with a chuckle. "That's what we're going to do: we're not going to let it get to that."
The "that" Crennel is speaking of is playing a practice-squad wide receiver at quarterback and running the wildcat formation with your multiple running backs. ... Also known as the Denver Broncos gameplan in their NFL Week 12 loss to the Saints.
Broncos quarterback Jeff Driskell tested positive for COVID-19, meaning he wouldn't be able to play while he recovered. The NFL determined the other three Broncos quarterbacks didn't follow protocols in dealing with the virus, including forgoing the wearing of masks, and ruled those players out, too. Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, and Blake Bortles were not eligible to play against the Saints.
It was an embarrassment for the Broncos - Kendall Hinton, forced into the job, finished 1-for-9 in passing for 13 yards and two interceptions in a 31-3 Broncos loss - that the Texans won't suffer under Crennel's watch, he pledged.
"You hope that you don't have to be in that situation," Crennel said. "That's why in this pandemic you have to do everything you can to try to follow the protocols to try to protect your teams. And the players have to do whatever they can to try to protect themselves and to protect the team."
So how exactly do the Texans plan to avoid an outbreak that leaves them without Deshaun Watson, A.J. McCarron and Josh McCown?
Simply put, follow the rules Crennel said.
"We're practicing social distancing,'' he said. "Wearing masks. Washing hands. Staying apart. All of that."
The team will use more Zoom video conferences according to the interim head coach as the team keeps players apart to minimize contact. Crennel said the nature of the NFL brotherhood is to spend time with your teammates and bond is strengthened when the players are in person around each other.
Right now though, the Texans will power thought the most unique year in NFL history.
While it may go against the way Crennel has operated for the previous 50 years of his coaching tenure, his team won't be without a true passer anytime soon.
"It's something that the guys have to fight all the time,'' he said, "but I think they're doing a reasonably good job of following the protocols."