Friday, July 13, 2012

17 Sentences on Whether Chris Clemons is Really Underrated

Pro Football Weekly saluted Seattle DE Chris Clemons as the NFL's most underrated player today, continuing a trend of grudging but increasing respect from the national media as they slowly realize that Pete Carroll is NOT, in fact, just signing every USC alumi he can find.

I'm usually one of those annoying posers who dismisses production that doesn't appear to be sustainable, and indeed the Clemons' label as "NFL's most underrated" has a few people cocking their heads. Clemons gets a lot of his sacks on blitzes and on specific but seemingly random third downs (and against the Rams), gets shut down a lot on double teams, and has a rather limited toolbox (quick first step, great closing speed amongst them) that doesn't remind one of a complete DE. He also rarely does anything besides rush the passer, which might lead to inflated results and the question of whether Clemons is a true talent or merely benefiting from Seattle's defensive scheme.

But this is where I keep ending up with that question: who cares? At some point, arguing with results becomes churlish. Clemons has produced 11 sacks for each of the last two seasons since being traded from Philly for peanuts. He's accomplished this as the team's sole dedicated pass rusher. The horrifying gash people predicted in our run defense's left side due to Clemons' middling weight, has never really materialized. Getting double teamed isn't a failure for a DE - it's a success that opens up blitzing lanes and opportunities for the interior rushers. He's either talented enough to overcome his limits and create value, or he's being enabled by the one-on-one matchups the scheme affords him, which isn't necessarily a red alert.

Now, insert another dedicated pass rusher in Bruce Irvin (and some grease for the wheels of Clemons' new contract) and see what happens.

If you want a vote for most OVERRATED player on the Seahawks, I'd have to go with Ricardo Lockette. It says great things about this team that its most overrated player is only a backup WR, but it's mind-boggling the goodwill that Lockette has gotten by catching 2 passes on go routes. Most UDFA fliers could probably do that in two NFL games, and what it says about that WR is not significantly different from nothing. Add that Hawk Blogger has hinted that he's still dropping too many passes to assure a roster spot, and I'm astonished that people are (already) projecting him as an NFL starter. John Schneider must be pretty confident with someone in this group.

15 comments:

  1. John Schneider must be bummed about Clemons getting press on being the #1 underrated guy in the league.

    "Shhh. Ix-nay on the emons-clay! I've got a salary cap to manage!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Could not agree more - the debate between talent or scheme is moot.

      As long as the team is producing results, who cares?

      Delete
  2. Results due to scheme = easier to replace

    ReplyDelete
  3. Results due to scheme = easier to replace

    ReplyDelete
  4. Every single team in the NFL has a defensive scheme. Not everybody takes advantage of it. Clemons has. Why begrudge him the fact that people are paying attention to him? As a Seahawks fan, I would think we'd be happy about it. And with Irvin and Jones' presence, they won't be able to focus solely on Clemons. It's all very, very good.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Lockette as a starter ? Nobody with any real football knowledge is considering that any time soon. He's an interesting prospect with size and speed though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After two consecutive seasons having a WR come out of nowhere to lead the team in receiving I think people with "real football knowledge" should be completely open to any possibility within that unit.

      Delete
  6. What does Clem have to do with USC ? He went to Georgia.

    ReplyDelete
  7. About Lockette...your right. I think they know they have a 5th WR they really like...it seems like they would've drafted another one if they didn't really like the group they've got.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's wrong with a guy that can come in and catch a 50+ yard pass once per game? If nothing else, the guy can move a safety away from the middle of the field so someone else can make a play. I don't think he is "overrated", I think he is a receiver that can run past anyone at any given time when needed. If/when he gets the route running down, look out.

      Delete
  8. Keep writing!! I love your site.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Replies
    1. I have the same calendar.

      Delete
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