As this is being written, the Kansas City Chiefs’ season opener against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 12 is officially 16 days away. And even though neither team’s preseason finale has taken place yet, the Chiefs’ Week 1 opponent is already giving them bulletin board material.
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Clowney Calls Interior OL ‘Unathletic’
Jadeveon Clowney — a veteran pass-rusher whom the Browns signed this offseason — spoke with the media this week about playing in harmony with fellow No. 1 overall pick, Myles Garrett. When speaking about playing multiple positions — which included being utilized alongside Garrett as a defensive tackle — Clowney took a shot at all offensive guards in the NFL.
“We love that matchup,” Clowney said, via Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal. “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.”
While this is not a direct shot at the interior offensive line of Kansas City, this should be considered bulletin board material for the Chiefs, as they are the first regular-season opponent on Cleveland’s schedule.
Who Clowney Will Face in Interior
The Chiefs have two brand new offensive guards in their starting lineup. This offseason, the Chiefs made a splash during free agency by former New England Patriots guard Joe Thuney to a five-year, $80 million deal, which locked up their left side of the offensive line once they traded for Baltimore Ravens left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. later in the offseason.
On the other side of the offensive line, the plan was to have veteran Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Kyle Long, and rookie sixth-round pick Trey Smith battle for the starting right guard job. However, due to injuries to Duvernay-Tardif and Long, Smith is locked in as the Week 1 starter and has done a great job of earning that spot this preseason regardless of the injuries that took place to the aforementioned veterans.
So, when Clowney shifts to the interior during the regular-season opener, he will be facing either Thuney or Smith alongside rookie starting center Creed Humphrey and/or Brown and starting right tackle Lucas Niang.
Resume Doesn’t Back Trash Talk
Regardless of whether Clowney has a point, it’s a bold move for the former first-round pick to be speaking down on another position given his lack of a resume during his eight-year NFL career.
As a former No. 1 overall pick for the Houston Texans in 2014, Clowney, 28, is now on his third team since leaving Houston during the 2019 offseason. Since his departure from the Texans, Clowney has only recorded three sacks, all of which came during his 2019 campaign with the Seattle Seahawks (he played 13 games that season). He had none last season in eight games with the Tennessee Titans. Those are some weak stats for someone that was supposed to be in their prime during the last couple seasons and was once referred to as a generational talent.
Meanwhile, Thuney is coming off a season in which he earned second-team All-Pro honors. He has also never missed a game during his first five seasons in the NFL. Clowney has only once played an entire 16 games during the regular season in a single season (2017). Smith is only a rookie, but he has proven to be a reliable guard this summer and will come out in Week 1 with something to prove, along with the four other brand-new starters for the Chiefs along the offensive line.
Getting the better of Garrett and Clowney would definitely prove something.
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