Jadeveon Clowney earned a safe trip home after blowing a gasket to Browns beat reporter Mary Kay Cabot this week. The selfish, mercenary defensive end delivered a slew of remarks aimed at the incompetency of the Browns organization and their obsession with one Myles Garrett, who seems to be off limits when criticizing this team’s continuous struggles.
Who knows what’s going on inside Clowney’s head? He seems to be unstable and lost in his own world. One thing is certain, the Browns can’t have the likes of Clowney sauntering through the locker room if the goal is to win. This begs the question:
Is the goal in Berea to actually win games?
It’s a perfectly fair question, judging by the operation of this franchise currently and for several years now. Under this ownership of Jimmy and Dee Haslam, a job in this organization is often less about football and more about putting out fires, office politics, handling distractions, and appeasing owners. Nothing about that has changed with new head coaches, general managers, analytics nerds, or players.
Clowney told Cabot: “You’re all trying to get somebody into the Hall of Fame when all that matters is winning. Everybody got here for a reason, and we can all make plays. I know I am.”
What Clowney is referring to, as he clarified, is the coaching staff’s prioritizing Myles Garrett over other players. He cited matching up Garrett on lesser offensive linemen.
Clowney’s reasoning makes little sense, as he hasn’t exactly lit up the stat sheet this season. He has two sacks and dealt with injuries. He did have a strip sack and recovery in the Browns’ red zone during the infamous Jets game in Week 2, which allowed the Browns to even be in the game by the end.
However, we should consider the merits of his statement without the context. Some of the best art happened by accident.
In regards to Garrett, Browns fans and apparently the Browns themselves, have a disillusioned view when it comes to his contributions. People who spend too much time with Pro Football Focus tabs open on their laptops cite to individual rankings and scores in desperate attempts to shield the 125 million-dollar man from blame for yet another disappointing season.
Garrett has 15 sacks on the year, but we can definitively say that only a few of those pushed the Browns to a win. Halloween night against Cincinnati, Garrett had one of his best games as a pro. Against Tampa Bay in early December, Garrett delivered in the 4th quarter and overtime to lift the Browns to a win.
Other than that, Garrett has been content to do the bare minimum in crucial parts of the game and even quit on plays where he can’t sack the quarterback. I have cited several examples of No. 95 shutting off his engine after a running back blows past him or a quarterback steps up in the pocket. His teammates, the much less talented Taven Bryan and Jordan Elliott chase after on the backside and were even blocked by Garrett, who neglected to turn around and face the play going on behind him.
Is it unreasonable to suggest that if Garrett played every game like the Tampa Bay or Cincinnati games, the Browns would be better than 7-9? No, it’s not unreasonable at all. It’s factual.
Players like Micah Parsons, TJ Watt, Nick Bosa, Devin Bush, Patrick Queen and Bradley Chubb will be found lower than Garrett on Pro Football Focus. But it’s the way they play that results in more wins for their teams. They finish plays, they adjust to the offense, they stay out of the media headlines. Their goal is to WIN FOOTBALL GAMES.
Not surprisingly, all of those players have better records than Garrett’s 7-9 Browns. Possessed fans will reach for their Pro Football Focus tabs and pull out rankings of individual players, embarrassingly missing the point, while holding their Garrett jerseys tight in their closets. Individual accolades mean nothing if you aren’t winning ballgames.
He has been in the league for six years and had three different defensive coordinators. How many more will the Browns pair him with until people realize there are significant holes in his game? How long until they see the common denominator right under their noses?
So maybe Jadeveon Clowney is on his own program and not the team’s, but so is number 95. As a number one overall pick making $125 million, a reasonable expectation is for Garrett’s presence to result in more wins. There are plays to be made that tip the scales in the win/loss column and he rarely makes them.
The time for tweaks has passed. The Browns need to take a long look at the entire plan on defense. You’re trying to compete in the AFC North. It’s time to start acquiring players who actually want to do that.