I’m not on vacation. Busy few days. I’m in the process of writing a few real interesting pieces, but they require watching tape and doing research. I’m trying to get them right rather than just throwing them out there.
I did re-watch part of the playoff game with Green Bay. One player who caught my eye was LB Keenan Clayton. He was only credited with one tackle, but that was a sack. He blitzed a few times and got good pressure. You can see that Clayton is a good athlete and skilled blitzer. He did jump offside once, but that’s just something you have to live with when you turn LBs loose. I recently re-watched Gang Green in action and Seth Joyner flew offside in the game and negated a good play. Aggressive play isn’t always safe play.
Oddly, the sack wasn’t Clayton’s best rush of the game. The sack came when there was good pressure by Trent Cole and Trevor Laws. Clayton was inside on the play and came upfield to get Rodgers when he was flushed. This all happened with about 2:15 left in the game and it got the ball back for our offense to have one final drive to win the game (if only I could recall how things turned out).
Clayton looked good in coverage. He had a WR (Donald Driver I think) on a crossing route and stuck right with him. Clayton did play some Safety at OU so he’s got cover skills to go with his athletic gifts.
I still have concerns about whether Clayton can be a starter right now because I just don’t know if he’s a good enough run defender. I do think Clayton could become a real valuable role player in 2011. He could be the primary Nickel LB and someone for the defensive coaches to be creative with. At the very least, he’s a LB with playmaking skills. We’ve lacked guys like that for a while. Clayton is someone you want to try and get on the field.
The interesting thing about watching him vs GB is that he didn’t look lost despite the fact it was a playoff game and we faced an explosive offense. Clayton had played a lot the week before in the Backup Bowl vs Dallas. In that game he had 5 solo tackles and a pass deflection. That game helped his confidence and that stuck with him against the Packers.
Missing time in the spring and summer is hurting Clayton. Every rep in the passing camps would have helped him hone his cover skills. He’s good now, but could be special in that area. I hope he’s bulking up a little bit. Clayton needs to get up to the 235 range. I don’t want him adding too much weight because his best trait is his athletic ability.
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Interesting side note from the game…we gave up 2 first half TD passes to Green Bay. Both were thrown to Asante Samuel’s side. Has there ever been a CB with his skill level that was less effective in the Red Zone? It is mind blowing how poorly he plays down there.
The Wildcard game spoke well of the 2010 rookies. Jamar Chaney led the team with 10 solo tackles. Kurt Coleman was second with 6 solo tackles. Clayton had a sack. If only Brandon Graham had played, we’d have likely won and had a shutout. Stupid ACL tear.