The Houston Texans know they need Jadeveon Clowney at his best come playoff time, and that’s exactly why they’re resting him now.
Injuries are a common discussion point for the Houston Texans right now. Much of the chatter centers around the recoveries of J.J. Watt and Deshaun Watson. Fortunately, the team is also keeping a close eye on how Jadeveon Clowney is progressing from his offseason knee surgery.
The talented pass rusher played all 16 regular season games for the first time in his career in 2017. He still needed arthroscopic surgery this offseason to clean up some lingering knee issues. So far, that’s kept him off the practice field during OTAs. Bill O’Brien and the coaching staff should be happy to see Clowney in the rehabilitation room instead of laboring on the field.
If the Texans are going to make a playoff run this year, they will need Clowney to be a real force off the edge. Last season was the first time he really played up to his potential for Houston. Maybe 9.5 sacks isn’t a dominant season for a player with Clowney’s talent, but it was a step in the right direction.
If he’s going to keep his momentum headed in a positive direction, he needs to enjoy another healthy campaign in 2018. Rushing him back to participate in OTAs, or even preseason, could put him at significant risk of reinjuring his knee. It’s just not worth the risk for the franchise.
It’s not as if the Texans coaching staff is really going to up Clowney’s game via more practices at this point in his career. He’s already in his fifth season. For Clowney, preseason is now about getting mentally and physically ready for the grind of an NFL season. Some years, he’ll inevitably be better served with rest than practice reps.
Texans fans might be anxious to see Clowney get back on the field, but discretion is the better part of valor for the talented defensive end this offseason. Holding him out of the entire preseason might seem like extreme conservatism, but it may be the best plan for Houston. Even if they don’t take that extreme precaution, don’t expect to see him back on the practice field anytime soon.