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Chiefs' Crennel struggling in double duty

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Posted Sept. 20, 2012 @ 5:37 p.m. ET
By Eric Edholm

So far, it’s hard to criticize Romeo Crennel the head coach all that much, really. It’s Crennel the defensive coordinator that is taking the most heat — and with good reason.

Through two games, his defense has allowed 68 points (eight touchdowns), scoring on 12 of opponents’ 22 possessions and nearly seven yards per play. The group has one sack and zero takeaways.

Despite early evidence that the 65-year-old Crennel might not be able to handle both jobs concurrently, he believes he can.

“I’ve done both jobs before; I haven’t done both of them at the same time before,” Crennel said. “I’ve been a defensive line coach and a defensive coordinator before, so I’ve done dual roles in the past. I kind of understand what it takes."

One league observer from outside the team wondered aloud how Crennel is able to handle the rigors of being a head coach and not have someone else running his defensive system.

“(It) doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. He’s 65. He’s maybe on his last shot (as a head coach). They have some talent. Why not let someone else run (the defense)?” the observer said. “Why not let (Chiefs DB coach) Emmitt Thomas run it? He’s been a coordinator, even though it was a while ago.”

Thomas last was a defensive coordinator in 2001 with the Vikings. He was on Todd Haley’s staff the past two seasons with Crennel, who was the defensive coordinator before taking over for Haley.

Some other NFL head coaches serve as de facto coordinators, calling plays, such as San Diego’s Norv Turner, Dallas’ Jason Garrett and Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy on offense. The only other NFL team not to have a true defensive coordinator is the Rams, who have the suspended Gregg Williams named to that position, but he must sit out at least the 2012 season.

Can Crennel handle both jobs? The early returns suggest he could use a helping hand.

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