In his first preseason action, Jadeveon Clowney reminded us that his pass rush can be devastating when he's moving forward.
Playing outside linebacker for the first time in his career, it was evident that Clowney was very comfortable rushing the passer. During his brief playing time in the first quarter, he was consistently in the backfield. On one play when the Cardinals foolishly tried to block him with a tight end, Clowney drilled Cardinals running back Stepfan Taylor for a 5-yard loss.
The Cardinals' combo of Carson Palmer and backup quarterback Drew Stanton torched the Texans' first-team defense. However, the Clowney-J.J. Watt combo was Houston's one bright spot. The first time Watt lined up next to Clowney on the right side, Watt ended up with a sack. Clowney wasn't far behind on the play. Teams trying to man-block the duo are going to find that plan faulty.
The rookie also performed well against the run, diagnosing plays and driving ferociously to the ball.
One fault we can pin on Clowney's pass rush is that he exclusively used a bull rush. Like many young pass rushers, he'll need to diversify his repertoire.
Dropping in coverage was more of an adventure for the former college defensive end. As NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah put it, Clowney still looks like a "fish out of water" when dropping back. He got burned badly by tight end John Carlson for a touchdown -- the play ended up being nullified by a penalty.
At this stage of his process, some struggles in coverage are to be expected.
After one brief preseason appearance, Clowney is who we thought he was: a devastating rusher who still needs to learn the outside linebacker position.