3. Standing over center
It isn’t a secret, but the key to Clowney winning lies in his power. His arm length and the violence in his hands makes him hard to deal with regardless of what position you play on the offensive line.
Another key element to this is his first step quickness. You have probably heard the phrase “speed-to-power” before when pass rushing is discussed. Well, Clowney does that very well even though he isn’t necessarily a threat to bend off the edge and loop into the backfield like Harold Landry might.
I’ll talk a little bit about why that works on the outside later, but the takeaway is that his ability to channel that quickness, length and violence, into power is how he can really dominate offensive linemen.
When he stands up and sugars the A-gaps, he is the key piece in a formation that Mike Vrabel likes to use called the “diamond” package. You have two EDGEs playing the outside technique of the end man on the line of scrimmage (either the tackle or tight end) and two 3-techniques lining up on the outside shoulder of the guard.
This gives you clear threats to rush the passer in both B-gaps and both C-gaps and it means that you can’t expect any help from other offensive linemen in pass protection. Basically you are playing one-on-one with your front four vs their guards and tackles.
Where Clowney becomes crucial is he stands up over the center and threatens the line with a lot of possibilities. The center can’t know which gap he is going to rush and sometimes Clowney will just pick a gap when the ball is snapped and he will blow it up.
The counter to that is that he can also run stunts with the defensive tackle where the tackle stunts into the A-gap, and while the center has all eyes on Jadeveon, he is a step too slow and can’t help on someone like Jeffery Simmons heading his way at full speed. In this example, the guard responsible for Simmons has to overextend and at that point, either Clowney, Simmons or both are going to come free on a rush.
His ability to make that speed to power conversion is what forces the center to