Jadeveon Clowney has stepped up in the face of injuries, adversity and loss as a beacon in an otherwise disappointing season for the Texans.
Opposing teams know they must stop or at least neutralize No. 90, but that certainly is not as easy as it sounds.
At 6-5 and 270 pounds, Clowney can alter the course of a game. He is among the best in the league at disrupting an offense with his quarterback hurries, big hits and tackles for loss. Head coach Bill O'Brien certainly believes that Clowney is deserving of honors for his performance this year, whether that's being named All-Pro or to the Pro Bowl or any other postseason awards.
"This guy, he's playing hard, he's banged up, he's making a lot of plays for us," O'Brien said Monday. "He's an impactful player, he's become a leader. So, yeah, there's no doubt that I think he should be up for whatever those awards are."
Named to his first Pro Bowl last year, Clowney has surpassed his career highs in 2017. Through 14 games, he has already set a new single-season career high in quarterback hits (20), after recording seven in back-to-back games against San Francisco and Jacksonville. The prolific pass rusher also topped his previous sack total (6.0) last year with 9.0 sacks on the season. Clowney recorded a sack in five consecutive games from Weeks 8 through 12.
Clowney, much like J.J. Watt, lines up in multiple spots on the field. Defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel has changed up Clowney's responsibilities to take full advantage of his strengths: his speed, athleticism and instinct for the game.
"You have to give him stuff to do," Vrabel said. "You have to change things up. He actually embraces that. We always said for a long time the new stuff they always seem to study and learn a lot quicker than maybe the stuff that we were doing every day in OTAs. So, continually try to give them stuff to do, put them in spots that takes advantage of his skillset and what he can do, and I think he embraces that."
The Pro Bowl roster is determined by a combination of votes cast by fans, players and coaches. Pro Bowl honors will be announced live Tuesday night at 7 p.m. CT on NFL Network and NFL.com.
This year's Player Inspired Collection includes four men's hats, a women's hat, a youth-sized hat and a beanie, inspired by Jadeveon Clowney. Sold exclusively at the Houston Texans Team Shop at NRG Stadium.