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Clowney Showing Comfort And Versatility At Defensive End

By: Alex Del Barrio, Sportsradio 610

HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Jadeveon Clowney hasn’t had the easiest first two seasons in the NFL after dealing with a variety of injuries and moving to an unfamiliar position in Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker.

The third-year outside linebacker seemed as comfortable as he has as a pro in Sunday’s win over the Chicago Bears. Clowney registered a sack and four tackles and three hits on the quarterback as he started the game at defensive end playing with his hand on the ground.

Clowney enjoyed moving back to a position he was much more comfortable with. During Clowney’s collegiate career at South  Carolina he played on the line of scrimmage as an end in a 4-3 system.

He admitted on Thursday that playing outside linebacker has been a challenge.

“It’s a lot easier than being an outside linebacker,” Clowney said. “You just listen to the call, move to the left or the right couple steps and get off the ball, stay in your gap. It’s a lot easier than linebacker.”

Crennel said that Clowney’s first outing as a defensive end wasn’t perfect, but Clowney held his own in the role. The Texans defensive coordinator knew the familiarity would be something that would help him in the position change.

“Clowney had his hand on the ground and played with his hand on the ground all of his college career,” Crennel said.  “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.”

The one drawback for Clowney moving back into the trenches is the toll it can take on his body with the regular collisions at the line of scrimmage. For Clowney, who has missed 15 games in his first two seasons of his career, taking care of his body should he remain on the line will be something to keep in mind.

Clowney admitted that he could feel the effects the next dat.

“I could tell I played on the inside my whole body was hurting,” Clowney said. “I was beat. I was beat. I was like I’m back down in these trenches now. It was rough but that’s what the two days did for me. Help me get me body back under me. Get ready to prepare for the Chiefs.”

Crennel didn’t seem to concerned about having Clowney in the trenches either.

“We think he can handle it physically,” Crennel said. “So, we felt like him being out there in that package would help us, particularly in (the Chicago game). So we decided to go ahead and throw him in there.”

Alex Del Barrio can be heard on Saturday afternoons with Matt Murphy from 4-7 pm  Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio

 

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