I would normally advise you to temper your expectations for the debut of a free agent player that signed with a new team just days before Week 1, but this is different. By now, you’ve heard and read all about how well Jadeveon Clowney fits this Tennessee Titans defense. You’re aware that his best professional season came in 2017 under the watchful eye of Mike Vrabel.
Vrabel’s presence played a key factor in Clowney’s decision to bring his talents to Nashville. Clowney knows this defense. He’s played in it before, for both Vrabel and his new position coach Shane Bowen. But with such little time to prepare for the regular season, can Clowney really hit the ground running? He’ll make his Titans debut tonight, but will the lack of time of spent with his new coaches and teammates hurt his early season outlook?
Those are some of the more fascinating questions heading into tonight’s primetime opener for the Titans.
In order to set your expectations for what Clowney can bring to this defense, it’s important to know how he spent the last few months. How did he prepare for this coming season without attending training camp? How did he recover from the core muscle surgery he underwent in February of this year?
These are just some of the topics I covered with Clowney’s personal trainer, Danny Arnold. The Houston-based professional trainer walked me through Clowney’s intense offseason training regimen.
JM: How did you first meet and start training Jadeveon Clowney?
DA: Like most of our athletes at Plex, he was referred to me by another professional football player. I believe that player was [Cincinnati Bengals defensive linemen] Christian Covington (a former teammate of Clowney’s in Houston). I’ve been training Covington for about five years now. I’ve been with Clowney a little over four years now.
JM: You’ve been training him for a while. I was trying to figure out how long he’s been with you.
DA: This year, we began working with him immediately after the conclusion of last season. In previous years, like most athletes, he was in and out. We never had him 4-5 days a week in the past like we had him this year. As a trainer, you always wish to have that consistency with your athletes. It was different this year.
I’m really looking forward to watching him this season because we’ve never spent so much time with him. We didn’t have any issues with OTA’s this year. The players were with us throughout the entire offseason. It was very unique in a sense. It was much, much better for us.
JM: You had more time with him this year than ever before. I imagine you began the rehab process in February after he underwent his core muscle surgery. How did that process go?