The Houston Texans were supposed to feature a nightmare pass rush for opposing quarterbacks. First off, they have JJ Watt, a mammoth 6’6″, 290-pound defensive end who’s generally regarded as the NFL’s best overall defensive player. And he was supposed to be backed up by outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, who at 6’5″, 266 pounds, runs a blistering 4.53 forty for his size.
Unfortunately, Clowney has had no impact on the Houston Texans team this year. He’s missed six games due to a knee injury and had just one tackle in his return against Tennessee last week. This past Sunday he missed a game against the Eagles due to illness and caused some controversy when he may have liked a picture on Instagram during the contest.
Missing yet another game combined with the Instagram fiasco has now brought more heat from around the league. Nobody was more critical than Warren Sapp and LaDainian Tomlinson on Monday’s episode of Total Access Pregame. “We expect to see you on Sunday afternoon young man,” Sapp said. “Football is a great game in America and we all gather around to see the best of the best for 60 minutes each Sunday. And you’re disappointing us, and you’re wearing out your coaches and everybody down in Houston.”
Tomlinson believes that Clowney’s $22.3 million contract could be a huge source behind his lack of focus. “That’s a character flaw to me,” he said. “One thing we always try to preach about young athletes is giving them too much early, that’s what happens. They don’t want to work for it anymore.”
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport was also critical of Clowney on NFL GameDay Morning. “What they want is for him to start showing some maturity and learn to play through these some of these ailments,” said Rapoport. “As a source just mentioned to me, this is really the first time Clowney has faced any sort of injury adversity – didn’t really happen in college – and they want him to try to play through it in the NFL, but they’re frustrated with their No. 1 overall pick.”
As for the guy who matters most, Texans coach Bill O’Brien, he didn’t seem overly willing to talk about the situation. In fact, he indicated that the whole Instagram matter wasn’t even worth discussing after stating the following:
Yeah, he and I, like, we tweeted back and forth (Sunday) night. I went on Spacebook. He went on Twitter. … I mean, come – I don’t know, I don’t. You know? This guy wants to play football. He’s trying to get better to get back on the field. I’m not going down this Twitter road. I don’t even know what that is really, to be honest with you,” he went on. “Instagram: My kid was trying to talk to me about it last night. Like, ‘This is what Instagram is Daddy.’ I don’t know. We’re moving on from that. We’re moving on.
The Texans slide into their bye week with a 4-5 record and a falling chance of making the postseason. They are losers of 4 of their past 5 games and travel to face the 5-4 Cleveland Browns this Sunday. Contests against Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Baltimore loom ahead over the next two months. So they’re going to need everybody to step up, including Clowney. He’s now over the knee injury that sidelined him for six games and he has almost half a season to make an impact. But that’s not going to happen if he continues missing action with illnesses and worrying more about Instagram than learning from the games.