Questions about his work ethic, maturity and if he was just coming to the NFL to cash a check and ease his way through his NFL career.
Clowney arrived in Houston with an introductory press conference and little publicity since being drafted #1 overall. He has been able to concentrate on his new team with little distractions and has instantly become the least talked about draft pick from the 2014 NFL draft.
Head Coach Bill O’Brien commented on the rookie,“He’s really worked hard. That position has worked extremely hard just like all the positions. I think he’s a guy that’s come in here and really put in extra time so far. He needs to keep doing it. He’s put in extra time in the training room to work on his flexibility. He’s put in extra time on the practice field.”
The learning curve is a steep one for the Clowney who is converting to outside linebacker has found out that he will be asked to do more than just a base 3-4 outside linebacker. He will be asked to line up on both sides of the defense and be a moving piece in the nickel and dime for Romeo Crennel and the defense. He will be asked to lineup at defensive end, three technique and a nose when needed to rush the passer which adds to the versatility that the team wants in their players.
The Texans are under a time crunch trying to get as much information as they can into the players the next couple weeks so the team can hit the ground running when training camp arrives. Clowney has noted he is trying to catch up the veterans and when he thinks he is retaining all the information given to him pertaining to the defense.
When asked about the extra time he has put in to understand the defense and his role Clowney made it clear that he is doing more than what is being asked of him,
“I have been coming in on some days we weren’t supposed to come in on. We can learn the playbook from home you know. Studying on my off time when I am at home or going over my notes.”
His talent is apparent when he is on the field and he is a raw prospect that need polishing to refine his skills. The talk of Clowney lacking dedication has been put rest for the time being with his quiet approach to the studying and wokring his game on the field.
Clowney is officially a Texans after inking his rookie deal that will pay him a fully guaranteed deal ($22.2 million) over the next four years and that has not changed his approach during the start of the new week.
“I been looking forward to it for my whole life, now I get paid (for) something I love to do: play football.”