Posted: 1:08 pm Thursday, March 13th, 2014

If the Falcons move to a 3-4, would Clowney fit? 

By Mark Bradley

Tyson Jackson plays the run. It's what he does. (AP photo)

Tyson Jackson plays the run. It’s what he does. (AP photo)

The free-agent signings of defensive end Tyson Jackson, who’s better at stopping the run than rushing the passer, and tackle Paul Soliai, who can play as a nose man, have heightened the already-burning speculation that the Atlanta Falcons are moving from the 4-3 defense to the 3-4. The Falcons keep trying to act as if such a shift would be no big deal, but it would. It would be an admission that coach Mike Smith, who oversaw the 4-3 when he was a defensive coordinator, has come to believe there’s a better way than his way.

It could also be a big deal come the NFL draft. It has long been believed that the Falcons were interested in trading up for the right to pick Jadeveon Clowney. But, as Vaughn McClure of ESPN notes, Clowney isn’t “an ideal fit for the 3-4 scheme.” So those of us — that’s my hand you see raised – who held out hope of seeing Clowney in Flowery Branch might need to recalibrate.

Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, in a post for ESPN Insider, calls the Falcons’ hiring of Jackson one of the five free-agent signings that, ahem, makes no sense. Monson’s rationale: Given that the NFL isn’t a realm where running the ball matters much anymore, why spend $25 million ($11 million guaranteed) on a defensive end who cannot rush the passer? Writes Monson of Jackson:

He might as well be a tackling dummy on passing downs. Eleven 3-4 defensive ends got more pressure in 2013 than Jackson has generated in five years in Kansas City. He has posted just 38 pressures in his pro career. To put that into some perspective, (Houston’s) J.J. Watt notched 85 last season alone, more than twice as many.

I’m pretty sure the Falcons’ rebuttal would go like this: “As bad as we were at sacking the quarterback (tied for 29th in a 32-team league) last season, we were even worse (31st overall) in rushing yards allowed. So there.”

91 comments
adarian652
adarian652

YESS seminoleking  I would trade one of the two. They both are good WR's but where will you be drafting  over the next few years if you are a top tier team? Think about it. With the market being flooded right now with WR's that only have about two three great more years in them now is the time.    Who did Matt throw to last year? Draft picks build teams in case you didn't know that. Quality draft picks. Do your research.

DawgNole
DawgNole

DawgDadII: "Other than by the this you, Mark, by whom? Don't bother to answer, because I don't care . . . ."

_________________________

Your question is gibberish. No one could answer it because it makes no sense. But you don't care, right?

AlwaysReady
AlwaysReady

Trading Up for Jadeveon Clowney is a no brainer.

WhiskeyBreath
WhiskeyBreath

This is the real MB sports fans.

Not the one than panders for Dog fans,.

You will get a objective point of view, which deep down

all fans want to see.

Clowney can play any position on defense he desires.

He can stop the run as well as the rush.

Why do you think nobody runs at him?

Because they couldn't .  

The problem with Clowney is he takes off on plays.

So it is a huge risk because you just don't know which Clowney is going to show up.

In the NFL, it shows up pretty quickly because you can't hide him. 

By the way Mark, you are too honest to be Chip.

You're still the best AJC reporter since Jessie. 

You will get the support if you just will be MB.  




traderjoe9
traderjoe9

If Sam Monson is right and the Falcons already botched free agency, what can we expect in the draft? Probably not much more than they got in the previous drafts.

JLTee
JLTee

Falcons don't like pass rush. #SMITTYTHINKSDATSACKSROVERRATTED

LowcountryFalcon
LowcountryFalcon

If he is there at 6, by all means draft him. If not, I'd take Matthews or Lewan. Then take Attachou from G-Tech in the second. He's a sleeper at that 3-4 OLB position.

ChopChamps95
ChopChamps95

Wash, rinse, repeat.  These Bradley articles seem to be the same every time you read them.  They are worded differently but state the same thing.  We need to stop all this Clowney nonsense.  If he's there at #6, fine take him but he won't be so just move on and spare us the white noise for the next month.

The Falcons should really be focusing in on Mack and drafting him when their turn comes up.  If he's already gone trade back, accumulate picks, and take Anthony Barr instead.  Drafting a LT to play RT isn't going to end well, although it wouldn't end well even if he was drafted to play LT.  The thought that drafting Robinson or Matthews will suddenly be able to make the line keep Matt Ryan off his back is absurd.  It will only bring more inexperience to a line that was awful and filled with a ton of inexperience last year.

Dman
Dman

No matter who we pick, it will be a great player who can step in and contribute at a high level. I don't think we should trade up because of the talent that will be left for us at the #6 spot and again at the #36 spot in the second round. What an exciting off season this has become. We have filled several needs with free agents and now we finish the job with the draft.

ATLBrown
ATLBrown

Clowney is good and very talented, but he's not the 2nd coming of LT.  If for some reason he's still there when the Falcons draft, by all means take him, but he's not worth trading up for.  We need the picks to build up the lines and pass rushing.


By the way, we also need a RB.  In my opinion, the best one we had - Snelling - just retired.  Jackson looks like he's past his prime, and Quizz is good but not an every-down guy.

JLTee
JLTee

The Falcons don't want a pass rush, nor do they want to hit the quarterback. According to "insiders", they seem h--- bent on protecting the quarterback (which is fine) with the sixth pick, but aren't looking for a true pass rusher. Nevermind the fact that it's the lack of a pass rush that cost us in the playoffs AND all of last year. Wilson and Kapernick looked like Montana and Elway against us.If Mack is at 6 and we pass on him, I will be sorely disappointed.

zekeI
zekeI

Any team management passing on Clowney are indeed blithering idiots! All of you pundits

keep deriding him because of statistics from this last season. Have you ever played a real football game? Have you tried to excel with 2, 3 or more people assigned to prevent you from doing your job on the field? And even though he did not have a high number of sacks, he STILL INFLUENCED EVERY SINGLE PLAY! In the league he will not have that problem because the better quality of players will prevent any team from assigning 2 or more players to block him, and, with his tremendous speed, long arms and aggressive play, he will be a dominant force! Falcons already made a terrible mistake in letting Abraham go!!

dgroy
dgroy

Do not draft Clown(ey)......there's no way he can live up to all the hype.  The falcons should draft the "best athlete available", no matter the position.  If he's available, and I doubt he will be when the falcons pick comes, I would take Blake Bortles no matter what it takes or who they have to give up.  IMO, he is absolutely the best QB in the country.  Folks, Matt Ryan ain't gonna last forever and he's never gonna lead the falcons to the promised land.....get somebody in that can be a starting QB immediately to challenge Ryan.  The falcons need competition and there's is no one on the team that can push him.

inoto20
inoto20

They aren't going to draft this guy. Why are you so obsessed with him? 

He will NOT be available when they pick. Plus there are better options. JC won't last more than 4-5 years in the nfl

Really666
Really666

Last year was a fluke year. The Falcons wont be up at the top of the draft in the forseeable future.  You have to grab the superstar while you can and Clowney is the real deal.  Falcons havent signed a pass rusher in free agency and there are old DE pass rushers Julius Peppers and Jared Allen that could a be temp replacement but they havent done so because they are going after Clowney.  Clowney went against the best in the SEC and Mack went against Bowling Green, Stoney Brook, Kent State and Toledo. One has to wonder how many sacks would Clowney had if he played for Buffalo college.  I keep hearling OL such as  Matthews and Robinson but where you going to put them?  You have Baker at LT and if you were going to put Matthews or Robinson at Right Tackle so why would you resign Mike Johnson and Gabe Carimi and you have Holmes.  And if you look at Mack he is young LB that is a pass rusher but you already got that in Bartu.  If you look at video on YouTube of Bartu he looks like Mack playing at a small school.  They look the same. Nobody looks like Clowney! 

sportzfan
sportzfan

The most armchair QB's I've ever seen post on one article. So I'm guessing you think all opposing coaches in college schemed to keep all plays away from Clowney and all NFL teams are wrong about his playing ability. My guess is that all these coaches are much more intelligent about football than you guys. He will be a started next year in the NFL!

Obama_Joke
Obama_Joke

The guy went unblocked and got to pop a Michigan running back.... That's all he's done.  And Bark Madley and mouth-breathing SEC fans have completely bought the hype. 

adarian652
adarian652

I don't think the Falcons should trade up. I would stay where they are in the draft and feel a need  at OL, or Dl, but not trade up. There are still DE,OL free agents to be had that can do the job for the Falcons for the next two years or so and do a great job while playing. I would draft in the later rounds for the future as for the DL,OL .but right now free agency and this year first round. The Falcons need to win now while they have somewhat of a nice young nucleolus. With   that being said, with all the WR that are available right now, with talent that can last a another two or three years that Matt could throw to, I would have explored trading White or Jones for some future first picks etc. because if things go well as I hope for the Falcons for the next few years, the draft picks will be late because of the success. So to me that would be something I would have done and also where is our future at running back? Everyone always say you can get one every year ,maybe so but a what quality?

GT71
GT71

Clowney will not fit with ANY pro team.  The guy is poison.

Tremendous physical assets; terrible brain.

Trouble, my friends, trouble I say...right here in Arthur Blank City.  Right here!

DaltonbywayofBickley
DaltonbywayofBickley

In his time at South Carolina, Steve Spurrier has had both a Clowney and a Smelley.

jimbob22
jimbob22

It's amazing that someone can make a career out of a single good hit in a bowl game a year before they're done playing.  If the Falcons get him, he'll probably be another Aundray Bruce.  

SeenThatB4
SeenThatB4

They're not getting Clowney, unless they trade up.  But even if they do, he'll go off the reservation before mid-season.

Old_Man
Old_Man

Barr ran a 4.66, Mack a 4.65, Clowney a 4.53.  I don't see Mack.


In the 3-cone, Barr ran a 6.82, Mack a 7.08, Clowney a 7.27.


Mack had 23 reps, Barr had 15.  Clowney had 21.


So in the 40, they are:


1.      Clowney

2. 3.  Mack/Barr


In the 3-cone, which I think is particularly good for evaluating a LB, especially an OLB, they are:


1.     Barr

2.     Mack

3.     Clowney


In the bench press, which I think is the weakest stat, which discounts velocity, here are the rankings:


1.      Mack

2.      Clowney

3.      Barr


Clowney really seems like more of a OLB in a 3-4.  


Interesting note, Clowney and Barr are both around 6-5, Mack is 6-2.5.  But Mack blew both of them away on the vertical jump.


Kevin Pierre-Louis (Boston College) and Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) are both 6-1, but they have good arm length and they had combine stats that match anyone.


Mack has arm length the same as Barr, Barr and Clowney have the same height, but Clowney has another inch plus of arm length.


I like our LBs in general, and so a 3-4 makes sense.  I like Mack or Barr over Clowney at OLB, because in the 3-4, your edge LBs are the guys who will be sack masters, and Clowney's inferior vertical, with all of his body and arm length worries me.


All of this is out the window if we go OL in the 1st round.

JSSN
JSSN

@WhiskeyBreath  

"So it is a huge risk because you just don't know which Clowney is going to show up."

If you have the veteran leadership in the locker room, that is not an issue!

Esquire
Esquire

@WhiskeyBreath  .............I haven't a clue what you are trying to convey but I can tell you are serious about it.  I guess that counts for something...................sort of.

JSSN
JSSN

@ATLBrown  

Unless it is a "home run RB" like Benard was last year, forget a running back. Your  offensive coordinator cannot handle such single dimension backs. Maurice Jones-Drew was run like a dog by Koetter and he has not been the same runner since the last three seasons of 300 plus carries under his direction.

Are you or you not going to finally find out if Josh Vaughn can carry the rock? 

Esquire
Esquire

@JLTee  ..................................uh............ huh?

zuzu331
zuzu331

@zekeI Not trying to troll you but double and triple teams are actually pretty common in the NFL.Here's Clowney himself speaking about wanting to go the Texans,where Watt is regularly double and triple teamed:"I love his game," Clowney said of Watt. "He can help me, and I can help him, hopefully. I've watched his game, in situations he gets double teams, triple teams on him, too. That could help me be a bigger factor on that defense."http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000325455/article/jadeveon-clowney-intent-on-being-paired-with-texans-jj-watt

bulldawg14
bulldawg14

@zekeI  Clowney will only end up getting worse (maybe much worse) as his career progresses. The guys that came into the league good and became great, guys like LT, they improved because they had a legitimate love for the game and they wanted it more than the next guy - not necessarily because of money - guys like LT had a natural competitiveness that gave them all the fuel in the world to keep them motivated. It should be pretty clear to everybody especially after this past year that Clowney doesn't have that same drive that makes the great players great. If Clowney was bold enough to blatantly take plays/games off in college, what do you think he's going to do in the NFL? Mark my words, as long as Clowney is getting his money, he'll always be a "I'll-play-when-I-feel-like-it" type guy. In my opinion, as a Falcons' fan, I don't want that crap anywhere near our locker room.

Dman
Dman

@dgroy

What? Matty Ice is the best QB we have ever had and his stats for the first 6 years in the league are amazing. He is getting into his prime and with an improved OLine, he will excell. Can't wait for the season.

JSSN
JSSN

@Really666  

The craziest thing is, that means you would have passed on modern era Hall of Famers Michael Strahan or Richard Dent with that kind of draft thinking!

Dman
Dman

@ReallyDevil

All though I agree that the Falcons won't be in this position again for many years, your statement about Mack playing for a small school is without merit. Jerry Rice who you may remember was the best all time receiver to play in the NFL went to college at Mississippi Valley State U. Lawrence Taylor played at a Basketball school UNC. Roddy White UAB. So it goes to show you that you don't have to come from a big football school to be a great NFL player...

JSSN
JSSN

@Really666  

You have no idea what you're talking about regarding Mack. He's played against Ohio State, Pittsburgh (2), Tennessee! You don't have tackles for a loss like that by osmosis. Just palabra! Bartu lacks recognition and strength. Clowney has no LB skills, he's gonna have to learn. I like Clowney more than most. But I'm under no illusions about each man's quality. But to demean what Barr, Mack, or Clowney do (or have done) is silly.

Dman
Dman

OK, so all of the "experts" and GMs who are drolling over him are not very intellectual NFL professionals? Clowney was the most Double/Triple teamed DE I have ever witnessed. I know there were a lot of games where he was a huge reason they won the games. And that hit on the Michigan RB after the bogus first down marker call was allowed showed me that this guy is a game changer in big moments of big games. That's the kind of guy any team would love to have.

seminoleking
seminoleking

@adarian652   trade white or julio jones??????????LMAO, u should be banned for that. so, build the falcons lines up and now have no elite skill players, the ONE thing the falcons always had going for themselves.......

Esquire
Esquire

@GT71  .............................give the guy a chance to succeed or fail on his own.  I too am concerned he has the Ray Edwards syndrome and am willing to let another team go thru that risk.  But he's not poison until he gets the big money and decides to only play 1 out of every 4-5 downs.  

zuzu331
zuzu331

@jimbob22 The Media HAVE to go all the way hyping this guy,they have created him.Remember Cadillac Williams,Andy Katzenmoyer,Reggie Bush? (Bush is OK,but was never the player they hyped him up as) They have one Media Hype Prospect a year,it keeps their 'coverage fresh and relevant'-Whatever! It's amazing people havent caught on to this.

slydawg
slydawg

@Old_Man  An inferior vertical worries you? While it translate, the vertical for Mack and Barr matters more, because of their respective positions and what they will be asked to do. Clowney has one mission only: Play like a blind dog in a meat market and make life miserable for QB's. His "vertical" does not matter unless he can barely get off the ground, which means he lacks athleticism, and we all know he does not lack that at all.

notPlanB
notPlanB

we can't even find out if A Smith can.

Esquire
Esquire

@JSSN .........................how many teams have let Josh Vaughn go?  6??  Evidently that rock is too heavy.

Esquire
Esquire

@JSSN...............................per the Falcoholic Mock:  


37. Atlanta Falcons - Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Arizona

Esquire
Esquire

@JLTee


 ...........................by the way.....SF didn't beat us in that playoff game........Stephen Nicholas handed it to them on a silver platter.  

Dman
Dman

@Bulldawg14

No way, Clowney was the top guy coming out of High School, he is the top guy coming out of College, and he will be a top guy in the NFL.

JSSN
JSSN

@Esquire

They've picked him, they've given him pre-season snaps. And by now, he "should" know Koetter's terminology and system. I'm gonna have a friendly reminder for you of multiple time cut running back for you shortly!

bulldawg14
bulldawg14

@Dman  Didn't say he wasn't a top guy. He's definitely a freak of nature. There's no question about his ability and raw talent. But how often will the team who drafts him have his services at their disposal? How many games will Clowney decide he doesn't want to play just because he's not feelin it? And that's just the tip of the iceberg. It will only get worse as he ages. His longevity in the league will suffer because of that.