After we were bombarded for six literal months with Jadeveon Clowney reports, speculation, and reminders that he used to play for Mike Vrabel, the star free agent finally decided to join the Tennessee Titans.
As it’s been noted numerous times, Clowney had his best season as a pro playing in Mike Vrabel’s 2017 defense. In fact, here are Clowney’s career stats, with the years where he was mostly healthy and under Mike Vrabel’s tutelage highlighted in yellow:
While the sack totals are nothing special, the tackle-for-loss numbers are truly eye-popping. Clowney was second only to Chandler Jones over that two-year span in tackles-for-loss with his combined 37.
A quick refresher on Vrabel’s history: he was hired onto Bill O’Brien’s staff after serving one year as the linebackers coach and then two years as defensive line coach at Ohio State University. He joined the Texans as the linebackers coach in 2014, Clowney’s rookie season.
In 2017, Vrabel was elevated to defensive coordinator. That is the only season he was the DC with Clowney before the Titans hired him as their head coach.
To get an idea of how Clowney might be utilized in Nashville, let’s examine the film from 2017. We’ll look at the various roles Clowney played for that Texans defense and focus particularly on how Vrabel took advantage of alignments to create mismatches for Clowney.