The Houston Texans continue to be a team which game plans week-to-week with its personnel. This was the case with Jadeveon Clowney in the week one game against the Chicago Bears. Clooney, who is primarily an outside linebacker and 4-3 defensive end, is now being asked to be a defensive end in the base defense.
“I never played down there really so it was just all new to me,” explained Clowney. “I’m just going out there and trying to be disruptive.”
That describes exactly what Clowney was that first week of the 2016 season as he disrupted the flow of the Bears’ offensive game with four tackles, three quarterback hits, and a sack. Teamed with an already talented front, Clowney’s emergence is coming at the right time.
“He has tremendous ability and he makes some impact plays at times,” said Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel of Clowney. “So, having him on the field with the other guys who are making impact plays, I think that improves us.”
Crennel decided to game plan against the Bears by moving Clowney inside on their base defense and it ended up paying off, keeping Clowney on the field. There is still work to do in the run game but Clowney's feel for the position was noticed by the coaching staff.
“He knows how to maneuver and handle himself in there a little bit. And he showed that he can do it, so we might try it again,” continued Crennel.
How the Texans use Clowney moving forward will be something to watch but it is clear they feel he is a vital part to keep the defense adapting with a multiple front group. Teamed with John Simon, J.J. Watt, and Whitney Mercilus, Clowney is helping develop a talented group into one of the better defensive fronts in the NFL.
“It’s great,” said Clowney of his teammates up front. “Moving up front, we can line up anywhere. Pick any of the guys up front, line them up anywhere and go. That’s the best part about it.”