Jadeveon Clowney is turning heads among coaches and peers around the NFL. The Houston Texans are reaping the benefits of the work he has put in since his rookie season and his growth as a player in his new position on the defensive line. Clowney has been asked to evolve as a player by not only playing on the edge, but also moving around the defensive front.
“He’s got a nose for the ball. He’s a smart player,” said Bill O’Brien of Clowney. “We play him in a lot of different places. I don’t know how closely you guys watch it, but we’ve got him off the edge. We’ve got him inside. We’ve got him over the center. We’ve got him at linebacker spots. He’s moving around a lot.”
Clowney continues to show a “want to” on the field that has been evident since he arrived with the Texans and there is no slow down to his game. Leading the NFL in tackles for loss with 8, Clowney is becoming a force in the run game and pass rush.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is paying attention to what he sees coming out of the third-year player.
“The guy is playing as good as anybody in the league right now up front,” said Pagano of Clowney. “He’s playing with a ton of confidence, a ton of physicality. We know the athleticism. We know the God-given dominant traits that he has as a football player, but his motor is running and it’s running hot. It never stops.”
With J.J. Watt out for the season, the Texans are leaning on Clowney and Whitney Mercilus to continue playing at a high level. The two are keeping up their end of the bargain and the emergence of Clowney is being noticed by his teammates, especially good friend A.J. Bouye
“I’ve been here seeing him since his rookie year,” said Bouye. “You see what he’s doing. J.J. (Watt) isn’t here, but you’ve got somebody who’s dominant like Clowney and you see it on a consistent basis, that just gets you excited in the back end.”
O’Brien likes that Clowney is able to hold up on different part of the defense, whether it is on the edge or in the trenches, it has been a solid five weeks of football for Clowney.
“You can define size in a lot of different ways. Does he play big? He plays with a lot of explosiveness. He’s a very tough player. He plays with good leverage a lot of the time in certain situations,” explained O’Brien.
Clowney is paying attention to what is being said about him in the locker room and that alone makes him more locked in to keep putting it on the field for his teammates and coaches.
“It’s special, it’s good. My teammates noticed. He noticed. I just have to keep playing well,” Clowney stated. “They come out and say ‘we need you this week’ every week. I have to keep playing for my teammates and keep trying to make plays for the team.”
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