Not so fast (Lomas)
No doubt that Jadeveon Clowney is the biggest name that the Tennessee Titans have signed in several years, and the only rivals that I can think of are Malcolm Butler and Brian Orakpo. Unlike those two, Clowney’s impact on the field ranged from nothing to harmful.
Jadeveon Clowney played in 8 games last season and it is well documented that he ended up with a whopping 0 sacks and 4 TFLs despite playing 74% of the snaps or more in 7 of those 8 games.
While the narrative is that the defense played better with him on the field, that certainly wasn’t true on passing downs. In the 8 games that Clowney played in, the Titans defense as a whole only had 8 sacks which stacks up poorly next to the 11 sacks that they got in the 8 games without him. That doesn’t include the playoff game where it would have been 16 sacks in 9 games including the second sack of the year by one of his replacements (Brooks Reed).
It was also this early stretch of pitiful play that showed just how bad the 3rd down defense was going to be. The hole dug by the Titans while Clowney was on the field was so bad that even the slightly better play that they got without him, couldn’t keep them from being named the least effective third down defense in NFL history.
Why was he such a drain on this defense (Lomas)
On top of that, Clowney’s biggest boom or bust “trait” isn’t his athleticism, size or technique. Instead, Clowney has made a lot of money (though less than he thinks he is worth) with his gambling.
There are times where Clowney will ignore his responsibility as a contain player or will get out of his gap in an attempt to make plays. When he was in Houston, that was alright because he was playing with J.J. Watt and a mix of other capable defensive linemen who could pick up the slack.
In Seattle, it worked a little bit as well because he was playing with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright behind him preventing too many gashing runs.
The problem is, he didn’t get the support he needed to succeed from the rest of the Titans defenders or the coaching staff. I’m not saying that Clowney’s lack of success is because of the people around him, but I AM saying that to be successful he needs people to clean up after his messes.