Against the Cardinals fans can look for Jadeveon Clowney to build upon his Saints performance and a spirited competition for the fourth inside and outside linebacker positions,
Can Jadeveon Clowney become the dominant force the Texans thought they drafted? After an excellent game against the Saints a follow-up against the Cardinals would be encouraging. Of course, it will take a full season of good health to get everyone on the Clowney bandwagon, but that starts a game at a time. Fans should look for dominance setting the edge and serious pressure on Carson Palmer.
Another interesting aspect to look for is how Clowney is deployed by defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel. With Watt out for the Cardinals game Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and John Simon will frequently be on the field at the same time with Clowney’s hand in the dirt. When Watt returns Crennel will no longer need to compensate for the absence of his best pass rusher. However, Crennel will find a way to strategically deploy all his most impactful players.
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Who’s next up when Clowney, Mercilus and Simon retire for the evening? Brennan Scarlett had a fairly remarkable debut against the Saints. As an undrafted free agent fresh from the PUP list the mere fact that he was first up when defensive substitutions began was surprising. That he flashed when given the opportunity justified the move.
The competition for the last outside linebacker position was thought to be between Eric Lee and Tony Washington, Jr.. Against the Cardinals fans should watch how well Scarlett, Lee and Washington play, the order in which they enter the game and how they perform on special teams.
Who is the 4th inside linebacker? Brian Cushing and Benardrick McKinney are penciled in. Max Bullough looks solid. Fans should look for who plays next to Bullough. Brian Peters appears to have the inside track as much because of his special teams play as his linebacking skills. His cover skills pair well with Bullough’s run stopping ability.
Akeem Dent and Reshard Cliett are still in the hunt. As with the outside linebackers, fans should look for how Peters, Dent and Cliett play, the order in which they appear and how they play on special teams.
Next: What To Look For - Conclusion