True Game Wrecker:
Jadeveon Clowney is a rare breed that can give the Titans’ front seven the true disruptive force that they seemed to severely lack at times during the 2019 season.
He doesn’t have the Von Miller like bend that allows him to get around the edge and consistently sack the quarterback like some of the elite sack artists out there possess, but there is no denying that Clowney effects the game well beyond the stat sheet.
His mere presence demands double teams which allows other defenders to thrive, while his ability to use his freakish athleticism to beat an offensive line off the ball often leads to broken plays whenever they aren’t ending in a monstrous hit from the South Carolina native.
During his final year in Houston in which he was part of a talented front seven that included a dominant interior presence and another competent outside rusher (similarly to Tennessee’s current situation), Clowney helped the Texans finish 12th in total defense (343.1 yards), they were tied for fourth in fewest points allowed (19.8), the defense finished with 43 sacks (Clowney had nine), meanwhile they smothered opposing running backs, surrendering an NFL-best 3.4 yards a carry.
Clowney went to Seattle prior to the 2019 season and whenever he was fully healthy on the field, he displayed the same traits that made him a household name throughout his career.
Unfortunately, similarly to much of his tenure in Houston, the injury bug seemed to nag him sparingly throughout the season. However, Clowney also displayed that he was still as disruptive as ever once he fully understood the defensive scheme from a cognitive level and was able to combine that with a full bill of health.
None of this was more evident then on his game-wrecking performance vs the 49ers on Monday night football. This game was huge for a multitude of reasons and the bigger the stage the bigger the statement Clowney tends to make.
The South Carolina product recovered a fumble and returned it for his second defensive touchdown of the season. His lone sack forced a fumble that Seattle recovered in San Francisco territory, setting up an eventual touchdown.
It was one of Clowney’s five tackles and five official QB hits on the night. He also contributed to at least two sacks for teammates with constant pressure that forced Jimmy Garoppolo off his spot and into the grasp of his teammates.
“Golly, what a fantastic football game he (Clowney) played,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said following the win. “He just was unblockable. He just continued to weave his way into the backfield to make plays on the run and the pass. Plays that he wouldn’t get credit for that he affected were many and all across the board.”
Clowney was credited for a season-high 10 QB hurries on the night. Things like these are ways he consistently disrupts the game even without finishing with the huge sack total at the end of the day/season.
“Clowney’s been playing great all season,” Quinton Jefferson said. “I feel like what he did tonight is what he’s been doing all year. … I’m positive we’re going to continue to see him play this well the rest of the season.”
Another one of the misconceptions that follows Clowney around is that he tends to take plays off and/or seems disinterested at times. Something that is not only inaccurate, but downright disrespectful to someone who always prepares and performs like a professional. Don’t take my word for it, current Titans’ head coach, who coached Clowney for four years down in Houston recently boasted about the work ethic he got from Clowney on a daily basis:
“He played Extremely hard. We asked him to do a lot, and he did do a lot for us. Never had an issue with his effort on the field”
Yet despite his impressive tape and glowing reviews from former teammates and coaches, you still have some casual skeptics who will go out of their way to point out that he only had three sacks last year rather than looking deeper into the metrics to realize that he has the third highest pass-rush win rate in the NFL over the last two seasons.
The free agent defender is the true definition of a game wrecker. No one is confusing him for a sack artist like Michael Strahan, but when talking about all around EDGE defenders, it’s hard to find many they are more complete than Jadeveon Clowney.