When the Browns signed Jadeveon Clowney to a one-year, $8 million contract in April, they envisioned him thriving alongside All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett and causing all sorts of problems for opposing quarterbacks. It was a low-risk, high-reward addition for a team that is hoping to build off its run to the AFC divisional round.
Cleveland plans on moving both Clowney and Garrett around the defensive line, occasionally featuring them on the interior. Clowney understands playing inside requires a different mindset, but he doesn’t sound too concerned about facing guards instead of tackles.
“We love that matchup,” Clowney said during his Thursday media availability. “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.”
Those are bold comments from the three-time Pro Bowler. If guards from the other 31 NFL teams needed any extra motivation, there it is.
While those “maulers” will present a new challenge for Clowney, the biggest issue for the 28-year-old is staying healthy. He has dealt with several injuries throughout his career, including last season with the Titans when he only played in eight games and was forced to undergo meniscus surgery.
Clowney sat out part of training camp with what he called a “strain,” and he has not appeared in either of the Browns’ first two preseason games. Garrett has also been limited because of a hamstring injury.
There has been a silver lining for Cleveland, though. Being sidelined allowed Clowney and Garrett to build a stronger bond ahead of the 2021 campaign.
“Ever since I got here, me and him have been spending time together, talking, picking each other’s brains because we know it’s going to take us up front to get things going,” Clowney said. “We’ve already said that. We know what we’ve got ahead of us and what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to work together, so we need to know each other front and back for us to go out here and do what we do, dominate and play well.”