Jadeveon Clowney, Houston - South Pointe’s Clowney made three tackles, including one for a loss, during the Texans’ 42-34 loss to Kansas City. There was worse news than the loss for the Texans and Clowney: pass rushing threats J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus were both lost for the year during the Chiefs game to serious injuries. That will crank up blocking pressure on Clowney, South Pointe’s former standout, coming off the edge.
“The train doesn't stop moving,” Texans coach Bill O'Brien said later. “The train keeps going. That's the deal with the League. That's what makes the NFL what it is. You don't replace J.J. Watt or Whitney Mercilus with one guy. That's ridiculous.”
Mercilus had 19.5 sacks combined the last two seasons, usually attacking the ball-carrier/QB from the opposite edge of Clowney, while Watt could be the most dominant defensive player in the league at times. He had nearly 70 quarterback sacks during a four-season stretch from 2012 to 2015, but missed all of last season after back surgery.
“It hurts, big blow to the team,” O'Brien said. “A lot of our game plan is around them. There's a lot of season left. We still got some play-makers out there.”
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Houston will need to prove that if it’s to keep extra blockers off Clowney. He and third-year defensive end Christian Covington are the only healthy defensive linemen/outside linebackers with more than two years in the NFL on the Texans’ roster.
Stephon Gilmore, New England - South Pointe’s Gilmore made five tackles during the Patriots’ 19-14 win against Tampa Bay last Thursday.
Johnathan Joseph, Houston - Northwestern’s Joseph made six tackles - five solo - during the Texans’ loss to the Chiefs.
Ben Watson, Baltimore - the former Northwestern Trojan had a quiet outing during the Ravens’ 30-17 win over Oakland. Watson caught two passes for two yards.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Oakland - Patterson, the former Northwestern Trojan, returned a kickoff for 31 yards against Baltimore but didn’t do much else during the Raiders’ loss to the Ravens. Patterson had just one pass thrown his direction; it was incomplete.