Jadeveon Clowney had a decent debut with the Cleveland Browns but the team still feels like he can be better.
Clowney made three tackles and had a sack against the Chiefs, earning a grade of 65.6 on Pro Football Focus. He excelled in the run game and provided a solid presence opposite of Myles Garrett.
However, Chris Kiffin thought Clowney could have been better, which will likey come when he gets more reps under his belt.
“I thought JD was inconsistent, first time playing ball in a while, no preseason reps to get out there,” Kiffin told reporters on Friday, per Cleveland.com. “He was inconsistent. I think he’d say the same.”
It’s not a wild assessment, with Clowney echoing a similar sentiment.
“For not playing in about 10 months, I could have taken some plays back and wanted some plays back,” Clowney told reporters. “It is about improving each week. It is not [about] one week. I have 16 weeks to improve, and I am looking forward to it.”
Clowney missed a chunk of camp and didn’t play in the preseason, so he’s still trying to find his wind to stay on the field more. Clowney and Garrett both played 50 snaps — 77 percent of the total defensive snaps — with primary backup, Takk McKinley, playing 24.
“I told them that my chest was kind of burning,” Clowney said. “It was still hot a little bit, but I was trying to be out there and go. Trying to get better for this week.”
Browns DT Malik McDowell Beefed Up in Camp
The surprise on the defensive line is Malik McDowell, who ran with the starters, playing 45 snaps. The former first-round pick garnered an outstanding grade of 83 on PFF and was a force in disrupting the run game. Kiffin said that McDowell beefed up in camp and he was not expecting the big man to play that much.
“No. Not when they told us he weighed at 317. He reported to camp at 303 and then he gained 14 pounds during training camp,” Kiffin said. “The way the game went, it was obviously controlling the clock in the first quarter and then we really did not play that many snaps overall as a defense. I thought that it was really good for those guys to play in the 40s, talking about those top four or five guys.”
McDowell is one of the great stories of the Browns season so far. He was a first-round pick in 2017 but never played a game in the NFL due to off-field issues.
“Mostly, it was just getting my body back used to playing football every day. That has been like the biggest obstacle so far. Body is starting to feel and get used to be out here running, hitting and doing everything and all of the stuff that comes with football.”
Browns Opt Not to Sign Reuben Foster
The Browns worked out linebacker Reuben Foster this week but the former first-round pick left Cleveland without a deal.
Foster is a former Alabama standout and started all 16 games he played in with the San Francisco 49ers. He’s totaled more than 100 tackles during his short stint in the NFL but has been plagued by off-field troubles, which is part of the reason he hasn’t caught on with a team. During the 2018 season, he was suspended two games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy and then was released following an arrest for suspicion of domestic violence.
Starting linebacker Anthony Walker was placed on injured reserve on Friday and the Browns are in need of some depth at the position. Practice squad linebacker Elijah Lee was elevated to the active roster.