Keenan Clayton

Posted: May 27th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 16 Comments »
LB Keenan Clayton pressures QB Aaron Rodgers.

LB Keenan Clayton just missed a sack on this Green Bay pass play.


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.

* * * * *

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.

16 Comments on “Keenan Clayton”

  1. 1 Thunderlips said at 12:50 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    Seems like we have a dirth of young LB’s with two from last year’s draft and three this year. Do you think the Eagles will look to “medical red-shirt” one of the rookies this year?

    I’m assuming Gaither and Simms are long gone. Does Akeem Jordan come back?

  2. 2 Name said at 12:50 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    If Chaney is an important role player, how do you see the starting 3 shaking out. I think you’ve written that Bradley will return to MLB, Fokou stays at SLB, and Chaney moves to WLB. Chaney looked great at MLB and Bradley was a SLB in college. Is it possible that they move Bradley and have Fokou/Clayton battle for the WLB spot?

  3. 3 Besnoah said at 12:51 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    It didn’t go down as a touchdown, but I thought the Keenan Clayton safety look was directly responsible for the James Jones shoulda-been-a-touchdown right before the end of the first half in that playoff game (he seemed surprised that James Jones was fast).

    The Packers also converted a 3rd and long (I think) on Clayton when the Eagles went back to that look.

    I remember being actively livid at that package during the game.

  4. 4 Enes said at 12:52 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    Who are the best weakside and stongside LBs in the game?

  5. 5 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:53 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    RE: LB lineup for 2011

    I’m doing some writing on that. I’m re-watching tape so that I can offer really informed…guesses.

  6. 6 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:53 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    @ Enes…

    Good question. Let me mull that over.

  7. 7 JimmyK said at 2:12 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    Keenan Clayton was my favorite rookie in camp last year. A couple beat guys had him off their 53 man roster projections, and I just didn’t understand that. The Eagles were putting him everywhere to see what he had. It was pretty clear they liked him a lot. One thing that was intriguing was they had him as the gunner in punt coverage. If Patterson isn’t back next season, it could be Keenan out there on one side, Cooper on the other.

    One play I remember in the Indy game was a play where he was in at safety. Manning noticed it and checked at the line to something different. At the snap, Manning looked off to the other side, then came right back to the slot receiver running into Keenan’s zone, and Keenan made a really nice play on the receiver and the ball.

    Here’s video of that play:

  8. 8 mcud said at 2:33 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    Re: Best WILL & SAM

    Not sure whom I would call the best in the league, but I do think its interesting that our best two players at those positions are probably our middle linebacker and our backup middle linebacker.

  9. 9 tball said at 2:51 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    Really excited to continue to see him (Clayton) in packages, He seems like just the right kind of rangy chess piece to run with a back out in the flat, shadow the TE down the seam, stack the box from the backfield, and obviously blitzing off the edge and up the gut.

    Could his upside be > Ike Reese?

  10. 10 Andita said at 3:14 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    According to Yahoo these are the starting 4-3 OLBs


    Sean Weatherspoon
    James Anderson
    Nick Roach
    Michael Johnson
    Von Miller
    Bobby Carpenter
    Pat Angerer
    Russell Allen
    Chad Greenway
    Jo-Lonn Dunbar
    Clint Sintim
    OAK: Kamerion Wimbley
    David Hawthorne
    Na’il Diggs
    Ahmad Black
    Gerald McRath

    Strong Side:

    Stephen Nicholas
    Lawrence Wilson
    Lance Briggs
    Keith Rivers
    D.J. Williams
    Zack Follett
    Clint Session
    Justin Durant
    Erin Henderson
    Jonathan Casillas
    Michael Boley
    Quentin Groves
    Aaron Curry
    Larry Grant
    Geno Hayes
    Will Witherspoon

  11. 11 mcud said at 3:38 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    The Bears’ LBs are reversed. Briggs plays on the right side, no?

  12. 12 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:37 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    Strange list.

    Briggs is a WLB. The Vikings list Greenway as a SAM, but I swear he plays more like a WLB. Aaron Curry is a SAM.

    Ahmad Black is a rookie SS. I don’t know of a LB with that name.


    Best SAM: Chad Greenway

    Best WLB: Lance Briggs

    Greenway can cover, play the run, or attack. He had 14 TFLs last year. He was among league leaders in tackles overall. He didn’t put up great cover stats, but that has been a strength of his since college.

    Briggs continues to be a highly productive player. He had 7 TFLs, 2 INTs, 2 sacks, 7 PDs, and a FF. He’s still a quality run defender and can hit as well as most LBs.

    A lot of guys are in the 3-4 and that skews things. The OLBs are mainly pass rushers. The ILBs don’t play as much in space. That changes the way they play.

  13. 13 Davesbeard said at 7:18 PM on May 27th, 2011:

    Any thoughts on similarities between Clayton and Rolle Tommy? Both energetic tweener kinda players. Hopefully room for both of them on the roster.

  14. 14 Theron Sapp said at 10:13 AM on May 28th, 2011:

    I wonder if Asante is so bad in the red zone because he’s forced to play closer to the receivers than he likes to.

    Aren’t a lot of his plays made possible by him being back enough to get good view of the quarterback and, if he sees the quarterback is looking at his receiver, jumping the route?

    Maybe in the red zone, he doesn’t have the space or time to do that and so he’s forced to just man up on his receiver, which he’s not very good at.

  15. 15 @D3Keith said at 7:45 PM on May 29th, 2011:

    @Thunderlips, I’m guessing Greg Lloyd is the leading candidate for the Eagles’ annual medical redshirt. “His knee is not all the way healthy” or some other nonsense.

    Meanwhile, eager to see Ricky Sapp’s “rookie” year this year.

    I guess Akeem is gone too, though I’d take him and Patterson back as backups/special teamers. They can spot start and contribute when not doing so.

  16. 16 Kyle said at 7:55 AM on May 31st, 2011:

    Tommy, would you expect them to pull Samuel in the RZ in the coming season? As big a name as he is, yet plays poorly down at the goal line, he could be a reliability. It would make sense to subs someone who can cover tight down in the RZ. It could hurt his ego and cause problems though.