Seattle Seahawks fans appear to have reasonable expectations for Jadeveon Clowney this season.
Clowney is Seattle’s newest high-profile player, as the Seahawks acquired him from the Houston Texans in a steal of a trade just a week before the season began. The three-time Pro Bowl defensive end, as well as a former first-overall pick in the NFL draft, made his Seahawks debut in Seattle’s season-opening 21-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Clowney’s acquisition addressed the biggest area of concern for Seattle heading into the season, namely the pass rush. Therefore, this week we asked readers to predict how much of an impact Clowney will have, specifically asking how many sacks they thought Clowney would have this season. Here’s how you voted:
POLL: How many sacks will Jadeveon Clowney finish with for the Seahawks this season? Full context, including a closer look at his Sunday debut, here: https://t.co/KLm4YXRV52
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) September 9, 2019
Add the two together and almost half the responders — 49 percent — predicted Clowney would have between six and 10 sacks this season. Coming in a close second was 11-15 sacks, which garnered 39 percent of the vote. Another 8 percent predicted 0-5 sacks, while just 4 percent went for 16 or more.
This is a pretty measured response from the fan base. There was much hype accompanied with Clowney’s acquisition, and no doubt most everyone has the image of Clowney’s career-defining hit while he was playing for the University of South Carolina still burned into their memories:
So I was wondering whether the predictions would be astronomical, but they weren’t. Six-to-10 sacks is a pretty good total, but not earth-shattering. It’s also fewer than the 13.0 sacks Clowney’s predecessor as Seattle’s top pass rusher, Frank Clark, had last season. It’s also in line with Clowney’s history, as he never had more than 9.5 sacks in his previous five NHL campaigns.
However, the second-highest number of votes predicted 11-15 sacks, and that’s not an unreasonable prediction. Clowney was used a lot as a stand-up rusher in Houston because the Texans played a 3-4 defense. Seattle plays a 4-3, which means Clowney is almost exclusively lining up in a three-point stance on the edge. I’ve read theories that playing from a three-point stance suits Clowney better than how he was being used in Houston, so that may cause a boost in production.
The results after one game show promise. Clowney had his first sack as a Seahawk (though it was mostly a coverage sack), and while his numbers my not have jumped off the page, he showed an ability to make an impact even when he isn’t making the plays himself. He showed a great quickness off the snap, he batted an attempted screen pass down, he drew a holding penalty, and he drew double teams, which helped open up lanes for some of his fellow defensive linemen like Quinton Jefferson, who had a career game.
We’ll have to wait and see just how many sacks Clowney winds up with this season, but the early signs are that he’ll be a much-valued asset to Seattle’s defense, regardless of how many sacks he gets. And I suspect he’ll have his fair share of sacks, too.