Name: Jadeveon Clowney
The Redskins have a conundrum in facing Jadeveon Clowney. The Texans defensive coordinator, Romeo Crennel, has had the 6'6", 266lb linebacker line up on different sides of the ball throughout the preseason. Gruden has to guess as to who will line up against Clowney. For now, he's going with the assumption that Clowney will line up on the right side of the ball, putting the rookie against Trent Williams. That's the best possible matchup for the Redskins. Williams has the size, experience, and athleticism to neutralize the Texans rookie linebacker.
Jay Gruden told the Washington Post "We have a general idea, but it's difficult. And to really envision the type of speed and size and power that [Clowney] has, just watching it on film, is also not easy." For now, that's one of the biggest issues when scheming against someone like Jadeveon Clowney. There is no film on him. Sure you can review his film from South Carolina. But that's not going to give you a whole lot with which to work. Couple the lack of film with the fact that he'll be teaming up with J.J. Watt and the possibility that this could get ugly is very real. That's an even scarier thought when you figure that Watt usually draws two linemen, to cover him up. That leaves opening for Clowney to exploit.
There is no doubt that Clowney has the ability to be a major force for the Texans. He has the size (6'6", 266lbs). He has the reach (34 ½ in). He has the speed (4.53 in the 40 at the Combine). His biggest downfall has been his consistency. He would be frightening in one game, but a non-factor in another. Now he's in the NFL and facing the best of the best every week. Can he be disciplined enough to be the monster that he's being touted as, week in and week out? Meeting Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt on their own turf will be a tough way to start the season for the Skins. It will also be great indicator to see how much both teams have improved from last year.
Potential Against the Redskins
Jadeveon Clowney was one of the most highly anticipated draft picks of 2014; second only to Johnny Manziel (and some would dispute that claim). He dominated in the Southeastern Conference. He has the potential to do some serious damage in the NFL. But until the first whistle blows, it's just potential. The Redskins offensive line has been, at times, offensive to watch. I'm sure when Robert Griffin was being helped up off the turf, they offended him, too. If no one steps up to help Trent Williams, Griffin could spend much of the day on the run or on his back, much like Lena Heady in Game of Thrones.
Clowney's father was incarcerated for 11 years for robbing a check cashing business in 1995. He was released in 2006. He is also the first player from South Carolina picked #1 overall since Courtney Brown in the 2000 NFL Draft. Clowney holds records at South Carolina for sacks in a season (13) and tackles for loss in a season (23.5). While in high school, he announced his commitment to South Carolina on his birthday.
Here's a video of his game against the Falcons