It is currently Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:36 am

All times are UTC - 4 hours [ DST ]





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: The Truth About Jadeveon Clowney
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:08 pm 
Offline
Purveyor of Truth & Justice
Purveyor of Truth & Justice
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2004 3:03 pm
Posts: 26018
Location: North Carolina
http://www.detroitlionsdraft.com/2013/1 ... n-clowney/

The Truth About Jadeveon Clowney
OCTOBER 2ND, 2013

Everyone wants to see this hit on every snap. (Photo AP images gallery)

Darren Page, DLD Lead Scout

“What’s wrong with Jadeveon Clowney?” “Clowney is overrated.” “He can’t stay in shape.” “He’s trying not to get hurt before he enters the draft.” “Clowney only has two sacks through four games!” Unless you have been under a rock for the last four weeks, you’ve likely heard statements like this from fans and media types alike. The box scores tell one story. Clowney indeed has only two recorded sacks. He recorded 13 over a 13 game sophomore season. His tackle numbers are down as well. He averaged 4.5 as a sophomore and only has 3 per game as a junior.

So what gives? Where has Jadeveon Clowney’s ability to impact a game in such a significant way gone?

A thorough and experienced evaluator of football talent tries to give every single play an equal piece of the pie when it comes to their final evaluation of a player. One does so by watching, describing through note-taking, and internalizing every relevant play a draft prospect participates in. With experience in studying such things comes an understanding of the workings of a pass rusher over the course of an entire game.

The offensive lineman or specifically the pass blocker always has the upper hand by knowing snap count, blocking schematics, depth of the quarterback’s drop, and overall play design. Pass rushing is a craft, a game of cat and mouse which becomes much easier with a physical advantage. No defensive end can blow by or blow up an offensive tackle every play to put a hit on the quarterback, everyone knows that. But how often should a defensive end hurry or hit the quarterback? What does a productive pass rusher look like?

The most productive pass rusher according to Pro Football Focus metrics (subscription required to view premium stats) through four weeks in the NFL is Seattle’s Michael Bennett. Bennett’s pressures (sacks, hits, and hurries) total to 20 with a total of 99 snaps spent rushing the passer. That’s the most productive 4-3 end in the game today, and he’s only getting home once every five snaps. That should provide a decent idea of what top-end production looks like for a pass rusher in the NFL. If pass rushers were baseball players, they would be lucky to scratch the Mendoza Line.

Some of the best rushers in the NFL seem far more successful at getting to the quarterback than their advanced statistics suggest, but why is that? A particular cognitive process that poses a threat to accurate evaluation called salience is the reason. Salience means that when a certain event is attention-grabbing, it is far more likely to be remembered than an equivalent event that doesn’t catch the eye. So when Julius Peppers clubs a left tackle, runs over a back, and drills the quarterback from behind, it sticks with us in a way that Peppers getting double teamed on the edge and coming up empty doesn’t. This affects the way we view pass rushers when not keen to evaluate on an every snap basis. Jadeveon Clowney is being measured by the consensus football audience in a way few if any others defensive end prospects have been.

Typically, the audience of a football game watches for entertainment purposes and is watching the football. While watching the football, fans aren’t likely to notice and therefore remember plays when a pass rusher gets stood up and fails to pressure the quarterback. When they have their attention turned to a pass rusher like Clowney on every snap, they are likely to expect a higher success rate than is realistic, even for a once-in-along-while prospect.

What looks like a mildly successful outing to a casual fan watching a rusher work every single snap is likely to be a rather productive outing. Add in obvious offensive scheming to limit the player and he will appear to have an even smaller impact. So even though Jadeveon Clowney has been unblockable for stretches of every single game he’s played in this year, it hasn’t corresponded to a high number of sacks or tackles for loss. He certainly hasn’t made a splash play like knifing through a front, popping off the helmet of a back with a bone-jarring hit, and picking up the fumble he caused. That’s what too many are expecting to see though.

Instead, offenses are finding ways to make sure Clowney doesn’t end up on Sportscenter’s top ten at their expense. Offensive coordinators are doing what’s necessary to keep their quarterbacks upright and their running backs finding lanes by scheming around the most dominant defensive player in the country. Advanced statistics back it up. Clowney has had 86 true pass attempts (quick hitting WR screens discounted) through four games. He was double-teamed on 16 of those, chipped by a back on 21 of those, and had designed roll-outs go the opposite direction on 5 of those. That means on 48% of his rushes, the offense is sending extra help or rolling their quarterback away from him. Occupying an eligible receiver and a tackle or forcing the field to be cut in half puts a big impact on what offenses are trying to accomplish. Just by being on the field, that’s happening almost half of the time.

Much was made over whether or not certain quarterbacks had a fear of Jadeveon Clowney over the offseason. Whether it is fear, respect, or simple awareness, quarterbacks are in fact on notice when Clowney is on the field. Their offensive coordinators are adjusting their play calling to Clowney’s presence as well. The average time to throw for opposing quarterbacks Bryn Renner, Aaron Murray, Austyn Carta-Samuels, and Blake Bortles measures 2.15 seconds when Clowney is rushing. Those same quarterbacks got rid of the ball in an average 2.63 seconds with Clowney off the field. Almost a half second is a big difference when a quarterback is sitting in the pocket with a swarm of rushers bearing down on him and coverage often on the verge of slipping.

While everyone expects Clowney to put in a productive shift as it relates to sacks, hits, and hurries, he’s getting less time to do so due to offensive scheming. Compare the average time to throw Clowney faces to that of NFL pass rushers and expectations of him may change. The quarterback who’s quickest to get the ball out of his hands in the NFL through four weeks in 2013 is Matthew Stafford at an average of 2.24 seconds. The median of all 32 quarterbacks is Jay Cutler at 2.72. That’s a far cry from the 2.15 average Jadeveon Clowney sees.

In fact, Clowney’s two sacks have both come in very timely fashion at 2.13 and 2.48 seconds apiece. He’s not about to get a coverage sack any time soon, considering the way quarterbacks are getting rid of the ball while he’s on the field. On multiple occasions this season, Clowney has gotten free as a rusher and had quarterbacks slip out of would-be-sacks. Criticize his inability to finish plays consistently at this point, but he’s still just as if not more impactful than ever on what offenses are able to do.

The tallies as a run defender tell a story in their own right. Opposing offenses have only run to Clowney’s side of the center 30 times this season, as opposed to 68 times to his opposite side. Offensive coordinators are trying to avoid Jadeveon Clowney at all costs. When resigned to running to his side, they have put multiple bodies on him 10 out of the 30 plays or a third of the time. If not doubling Clowney, they have mostly been allowing him to come off the ball before pulling a blocker to kick him out, which is an easier and quicker block to make than going toe to toe with him off the ball at the point of attack. Taylor Lewan and Vincent Smith of Michigan have horror stories to tell as it relates to running directly at Clowney. Once again, just by having a pulse, Clowney is forcing the hand of play callers.

Everything previously written can be contrived to be one giant excuse for what Jadeveon Clowney has done through four games. The truth is that Clowney has been extremely disruptive and impactful to this point without even considering the way offenses are playing him. He has lived in opposing backfields, showcasing his exceptional burst off the snap, uncommon upper body strength, and a lightning-quick swim move. Even while offenses run away from him, he’s chasing down runs from the backside with speed that very few 274 lb. men have.

Despite the narrative national media may have to this point, one thing is for certain. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Jadeveon Clowney.

_________________
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Truth About Jadeveon Clowney
PostPosted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:27 am 
Offline
Veteran
Veteran

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2008 11:25 pm
Posts: 244
Jadeveon Clowney definitely has the tools to become an ELITE pass rusher in the league, but the questions surrounding his willingness to "play until you hear the whistle" is legitimate. I can understand being double teamed (and sometimes even triple teamed) almost every other play and the amount of energy that must take out of him, but it definitely looks like he gives up on some plays -- sometimes even in the red zone, which is definitely bothersome. There is no question about Clowney's physical tools, I think he has it all. Even if he doesn't commit himself 100% to his craft in the next level, he will still be an above average defensive end in the league, but I just wanted to say that I do agree with the skeptics that his work ethic should be questioned and that his relentlessness is not there sometimes.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Truth About Jadeveon Clowney
PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:23 pm 
Offline
Purveyor of Truth & Justice
Purveyor of Truth & Justice
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2004 3:03 pm
Posts: 26018
Location: North Carolina
One thing I'll point out is that during his final year at Nebraska, Ndamukong SUh took plays off. And again, while in many eyes, Suh has been an underachiever at the pro level, I do think he's one of the 3 best interior pass rushers in the NFL (along with Watt & Atkins), thus it's hard to say that is underachieving.

Julius Peppers was another player that had All-World ability, but never really did the little things to become the all-time great he had the potential to be.

I think Clowney probably falls into the same boat. The key is going to be determining are his issues more like Peppers/Randy Moss, a great player that is intermittently motivated, or a JaMarcus Russell, a talented player that has zero motivation.

From what I figure, Clowney is the former, not the latter. I think most of his problems stem from Marcus Lattimore, and seeing first-hand that horrible injury that threatened Lattimore's career, and Clowney basically trying to avoid a similar issue. That has been a regular problem for top-rated DEs in recent drafts, from Mario Williams to Quinton Coples, always seems like a guy is trying to avoid an injury that will definitely cost him his draft stock (see Da'Quan Bowers, Tank Carradine), and trying to find the balance where people question a guy's motor/motivation which typically isn't as costly.

_________________
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.


Top
 Profile E-mail  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Truth About Jadeveon Clowney
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:29 am 
Offline
Draught Guru
Draught Guru
User avatar

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2007 7:32 am
Posts: 5029
saw this at the 'Roost and thought this would be the apt place for it. H/T SoCalDawg:

Positives:
As I watched the SC vs Tenn film (linked below) I was immediately blown away with Clowney's initial first step off the ball. It's like nothing I've ever seen from a human being that big. If you think Julius Peppers is quick for a big man then your going to be shocked, as his first step off the ball doesn't compare to Clowney's. It is truly cat like. Not only is he quick off the ball, he has a good bull rush and an awesome inside move that he combines with a rip or a swim that is darn near un-blockable. When Clowney is not winded (and you'll see more of this below) he is nearly un-blockable one on one. Surprisingly, he was more stout vs the run than I would have thought and actually does a nice job of sniffing out the play. If memory serves me correctly I believe he had 4 tackles for loss in this game with 3 in the 1st qtr.

Negatives:
As I watched the Tenn film I was thinking there is no way Clowney ends up with less than 4 sacks and 5 tackles for loss. Here is where it gets a little frustrating. Once the 2nd qtr started he seemed like he was playing at about 3 quarters of the speed he played with initially. He did have one nice play in the 2nd qtr., but for the most part he seemed disinterested. Once the ball went away from him he didn't chase. Additionally, he seemed to easily get tied up with a single blocker as the game wore on. I'm not sure if he got frustrated with Tenn running away from him, if he got fatigued, or both, but there was a noticeable difference. The 3rd quarter he seemed more like the 1st quarter Clowney, but as the 4th qtr started he was pretty much a non factor with the exception of one BIG tackle for loss inside the Tenn 5 that he made happen with that sick inside move. I was most disappointed with Tenn's final drive of the game where they eventually won it. He just seemed like a non factor at crunch time. Note, Tenn only won 2 SEC games all year. Finally, as good as the inside move is, I'm really surprised he doesn't have as good of an outside pass rush move where he dips low and squeeze's around the OT. He'll have to develop that on the next level.

Summation:
No need to sugar coat it. I think Clowney has a chance to be the greatest pure pass rusher in the modern era. Due to his natural quickness, strength, and build, he really can be that good at the next level. Now, do I think he'll reach his potential? I would put that at about 50%. Why? Because there are major red flags as you watch him that have to do with his motor, level of effort, interest, etc. He just disappears for long stretches. I'm not even talking about the diva stuff of the field. This past game vs Clemson he recorded just his 3rd sack on the season after recording 13.5 as a sophomore. When you watch the guy he should have 3 sacks per game, not 3 over 9 games.

Clowney and the Falcons:
I would have to think long and hard due to the effort question marks, but when it comes down to it, I don't see how you pass on a potentially HoF pass rusher if you can get him at your draft selection. Is he worth trading up for? Maybe a spot or two, but I wouldn't give the farm. I wouldn't move from 8 to 1 to get him, but from 4 to 2, I probably would. If he's there at your pick, you take him. The only way I don't take him is if I'm offered a king's ransom to move back 6-7 spots and I then would take Trent Murphy from Stanford and accumulate some picks. After watching a lot of film on Mr. Murphy these last few days, he may just have a more productive career than Mr. Clowney. More on Mr. Murphy later in my next analysis.

Here is the link on Clowney vs Tenn. Please watch the entire 13 minute clip so you can get the entire picture. Enjoy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWul62MaRT4

_________________
"what if there were no hypothetical situations?"


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 4 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 4 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  


cron