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Texans see more 'determined' Jadeveon Clowney

One day after Houston was buried by the Chiefs in January's AFC wild-card showdown, Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney promised big things for 2016, saying: "I'm going to come back and dominate the league."

Clowney, though, didn't even play in that game because of a sprained foot, just the latest in a laundry list of injuries that have held the outside linebacker to only 11 starts over two seasons.

After dealing with microfracture surgery, a meniscus procedure, a sports hernia operation and a concussion as a rookie in 2014, Clowney missed action last year with the ankle woes and a lower back injury. It's fair to be suspicious of any big claims uttered by the player, but Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel sees renewed focus from the third-year defender.

"He's determined," Vrabel said, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. "That takes a lot of work. It's a physical league. It's a tough grind. He's been out there like all of our guys. When you're out here, you get better. When you're in the meetings and you're engaged, you get better."

Texans general manager Rick Smith, though, wants to see Clowney overcome the whirlwind of injuries once and for all.

"When he's been on the field, he's been pretty disruptive, pretty impactful," Smith said earlier this offseason. "It's just that he has suffered some injuries, which you would hope is that he's already had as many as he needs to have, right? Just from a standpoint of luck, hopefully the guy has had his share of injuries and he will have an opportunity to play for an extended amount of time because I think what you see, when you see him on the field, you see productive play."

Clowney had his moments last season, piling up 4.5 sacks and showing hints of dominant physical ability. He was outplayed by Whitney Mercilus, though, who logged 237 more snaps en route to 12 takedowns as a wire-to-wire headache for signal-callers.

With All-Pro J.J. Watt anchoring Houston's defense, it's tantalizing to imagine what a fully healthy Clowney could mean for the Texans. Still, it feels like we've been saying that for an awfully long time.

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