Browns' Jadeveon Clowney eager to exploit matchups vs. guards: 'They're not real athletes'
Akron Beacon Journal
Browns defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett have developed a natural chemistry on the field since they became teammates for the 2021 season. [Phil Masturzo/ Beacon Journal]
BEREA — Jadeveon Clowney has felt a natural chemistry develop between him and Myles Garrett since the defensive ends and former No. 1 overall draft picks became teammates earlier this year.
They used to share an agent, Bus Cook, and had talked a few times long before Clowney joined the Browns in April by signing a one-year contract worth up to $10 million with incentives.
But they didn't really know each other until recently.
“Ever since I got here, me and him have been spending time together, talking, picking each other's brains because we know it's going to take us up front to get things going,” Clowney said Thursday before practice at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus. “We've already said that. We know what we've got ahead of us and what we've got to do. We've got to work together, so we need to know each other front and back for us to go out here and do what we do — dominate and play well.”
Jadeveon Clowney made Pro Bowls in 2016, '17 and '18 and is expected to give the Browns an imposing pass rush.
Clowney said earlier this summer a defensive tackle is more helpful to a defensive end than the end on the opposite side of the line.
Because Clowney and Garrett are versatile enough to occasionally rush from the interior and defensive coordinator Joe Woods wants them to moonlight as tackles, Clowney agreed he and Garrett would be able to assist each other in the way he described.
To say Clowney likes facing guards when he lines up on the interior would be an understatement.
“We love that matchup,” Clowney said. “We feel like they're the unathletic guys. That guard position, they're not real athletes down there. So they're just physical and maulers. But we try to get in there and create those matchups for certain guys and hopefully we get some wins.
“You've got to think different [on the interior]. Everything happens very, very fast down there. Those guys are much bigger down there. So, yes, your whole mindset has got to change in how you attack the quarterback, how you attack the guys down there.”
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Of course, the key to Clowney attacking anyone is his health, and his long injury history has prevented the three-time Pro Bowl selection from playing a full NFL season since 2017.
Clowney, 28, had a stellar start to training camp but sat out a couple of weeks with what he described as “a strain.” Garrett also had been sidelined with a hamstring injury. They got extra time to bond, and both of them returned to practice Friday.
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Clowney said he feels "pretty good" now.
“Have to take care of what you have to to get ready for the long season,” he added. “That was the goal — not to come out here and hurt nothing. If something happened, a little strain or something, take care of it now, so that it won’t linger later on.”
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said he would announce Friday whether he'll play his starters Sunday in the preseason finale on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. The majority of them rested in the first two preseason games this summer, and Clowney hasn't appeared in a preseason game since 2018.
Asked if he needs an exhibition tune-up, Clowney said, "I hope I don't."
He would rather rest and be fresh for the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against the defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs.
If Clowney has it his way, he'll even rush against some guards at Arrowhead Stadium.
"He's very hard to block, so when it comes to game plans, I definitely feel like we need to move him some because he's a little bit lighter," Woods said. "When it comes to rushing the passer with the guys we have up front, we can move him around and we can create one-on-one matchups with whoever we want. I'm happy to have that in my arsenal. It will be on display at some point.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last edited by Pdawg; 08/27/21 03:21 PM.