The Houston Texans still have faith that Jadeveon Clowney can still be a productive player for the team moving into the future. Clowney was taken with the first overall pick in last year’s draft and was a disappointment having only played in four games.
Texans general manager Rick Smith isn’t deterred by that and believes that Clowney “can be a very impactful player,” and has the ability to reach his potential as a elite defensive player in the league.
Head coach Bill O’Brien added that he doesn’t think 2014 was a lost year for Clowney, despite playing just 146 snaps as a rookie. “Clowney learned about being a pro, playing with injury, watching veteran teammates, fellow rookies,” per Texans TV’s Drew Dougherty.
Smith and O’Brien also stated that Clowney is coming along well after undergoing microfracture knee surgery on Dec. 8 due to significant cartilage damage and a torn meniscus. Dougherty noted that Clowney’s rehab was taking place in Houston and that he is right on track through the first six weeks of the treatment.
From the beginning, the Texans have been hopeful that Clowney would be ready to start the 2015 season. The team expects that the defensive end will fully recover and still hope he will be ready for Week 1.
Given the nature of the surgery, Clowney has been unable to put significant weight on his leg, even into February. This means that when Clowney is healthy enough to put weight on the knee, he’ll have extra work to do getting into football shape. There’s a ton of factors that go into whether or not he can make it on time for the beginning of the regular season, and when he does make his debut, he’ll likely have a long way to go before he feels 100 percent again.
Clowney was one of the most dominant defensive players in the country during his junior year at South Carolina, earning first-team All-SEC and first-team All-American honors. When Houston took the former Gamecock with the first pick in 2014, the team envisioned a defensive line that included both Clowney and J.J. Watt, sure to be one of the most destructive combinations in the league. That can still happen, but Clowney has a long way to go before that happens.