He’s a good teammate (Tacchi)
I’ll reiterate an earlier point here: Clowney choosing to skip out on training camp and signing right before Week 1 was a completely understandable “business decision,” but perhaps a bit….annoying?…from a fan’s perspective.
Fortunately for Clowney, professional athletes tend to understand and respect how other professional athletes handle their respective businesses and money. While fans lamented about how he should have signed before came to be best prepared for the season, I do not think the other guys in the locker room held or even considered, that grudge.
Clowney is not a rah-rah leader or an obvious vocal presence, but I do think he demonstrated qualities that prove him to be a good teammate, which is an important trait when you remember that this Titans defense did more finger-pointing than any unit in team history last season.
Clowney was often seen in pre-game workouts preparing with Harold Landry, visibly going through technique drills with the young player, and providing the type of veteran guidance and presence that Landry can only benefit from. I can understand the perspective to not look too much into little moments like these, but nobody was coaching up Landry pre-game once Clowney’s injury ended his season.
A related point can be made for Jeffery Simmons. Simmons had a thrilling start to 2020, benefitting from having a guy like Clowney play a significant number of snaps next to him for all four quarters. Clowney never put himself on a pitch count, and the attention he received from offensive linemen opened up opportunities for Simmons to make splash plays early in the year. It’s no wonder why Simmons’ production halted once Clowney went to IR, as he deservedly received the overwhelming majority of attention from opponents.
Considering all the above, I cannot help but think that signing Clowney to a team-friendly deal is a win-win for both parties. The Titans must improve defensively and bring in players that can help them compete against the league’s best offenses. I caution against letting one incomplete season from Clowney sour your thoughts on him too much, as a player of his playmaking caliber does not come around often, and he might be there for the taking should Jon Robinson want to keep the door open to bringing him back to Tennessee.