Surprise cause for Dolphins’ disinterest in Jadeveon Clowney

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Kyle Crabbs
·3 min read
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Had the Miami Dolphins made a run at defensive end Jadeveon Clowney this offseason, it wouldn’t have been the first time. Heck, it wouldn’t have been the second time, either. But instead of Miami kicking the tires and hoping once more than they’d be able to woo the former No. 1 overall pick into the picture to help the team’s pass rush unit, the Dolphins appeared to sit this offseason out as it pertained to Clowney. And now that the former Houston Texan has signed with the Cleveland Browns, we’ve gotten our first taste as to why that might be.

The Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley touched on where the Dolphins go from here after Clowney’s signing, but not before dropping this interesting and surprising nugget about the dynamics between Miami and Clowney.

“A source tells the Miami Herald that Clowney was also apprehensive about going from one Bill Belichick assistant to another. Bill O’Brien was Clowney’s coach his entire time in Houston, and the former No. 1 pick had enough of the Patriot (South) Way.” — Adam Beasley, Miami Herald

Of all the reasons one could have for not wanting to play for the Dolphins, really? Clowney is entitled to his opinion, but Brian Flores is routinely applauded for being nothing if not his own man — his style of coaching is not a direct correlation to those who helped form him during his time with the Patriots organization. As a matter of fact, Flores is routinely applauded as a player’s coach. The kind who would storm across the field mid-game to defend his players from dirty play.

So if Clowney felt apprehensive about coaching style, that’s too bad. It certainly wouldn’t have been a similar experience to the one Bill O’Brien offered in Houston. But even if it were; perhaps returning to a Patriots-based defensive system could help Clowney get that illusive long-term extension he’s been looking for. This will be Clowney’s fourth team in four years and the third consecutive one-year contract for the defensive end: he played on the franchise tag in Seattle, signed a one-year deal with Tennessee shortly before the season started and now has a one-year deal in Cleveland.

Playing for O’Brien, or any Patriots-rooted coach, may not be the most fun thing in the world, but for a player of Clowney’s talents it can certainly be effective. Clowney logged 29.0 sacks in five years in Houston — including 18.5 over his final two seasons with the Texans under O’Brien’s direction. He’s logged 3 in the two seasons since and his 19 combined QB hits from 2019 and 2020 are less than he’d logged in his final year with Houston (21).

So while Clowney is free to make whatever decisions for his own career that he pleases, it’s a shame that common sense and facts didn’t prevail if there were a chance at mutual interest between the parties. Because Brian Flores feels like the best of both worlds for a player of Clowney’s caliber. But with yet another year gone by and no deal between the two sides to be had, it feels appropriate to put any discussions around Clowney to bed for good.