RENTON -- In case you couldn't tell Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers, Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is finally starting to feel at home in Seattle.
The Seahawks acquired the Pro Bowl defensive end in a trade with the Houston Texans right before the start of the regular season. Seattle sent linebackers Barkevious Mingo and Jacob Martin along with a third-round pick to Houston in exchange for Clowney. Houston also picked up half of his salary for the season in the deal.
Clowney felt like the missing piece Seattle needed to help patch a moribund pass rushing unit together. While Clowney has played well most of the season, his effort hasn't always resulted in statistical production. That changed in a big way against the 49ers.
Clowney hit 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo five times, sacked him once, and had a forced fumble and a fumble return for a touchdown. Clowney’s pressure also forced Garoppolo into two additional sacks and several incompletions.
“I feel like I’ve been playing okay all season. I was getting after the quarterback, rushing at all of them, just not finishing and getting sacks and everything. This game was big,” Clowney said on Wednesday. “They were undefeated, of course. Everybody was paying a lot of attention to their D-line, what was going on with their D-line. The talk coming into their game was about them. Just wanted to go out there and change the narrative. Let them know we’re still over here.”
Clowney admitted it has taken him time to adjust to Seattle's defense. While he's familiar with playing in a 4-3 defense going back to him time at the University of South Carolina, the 4-3 Under front deployed by the Seahawks has been a new experience to absorb.
“Yeah, I was kind of surprised. … They started moving me around throughout the first couple weeks trying to figure out where I fit. They found a good spot for me,” Clowney said of the time it’s taken to adjust. “I’m feeling pretty comfortable in that spot. I just want to continue to grow in that spot and get better at it.”
Throw in the absence of Jarran Reed for six weeks due to suspension and Ziggy Ansah's limited availability and effectiveness and the it has taken a while for Seattle's pass rush to find success.
"As the season progresses and new guys like Jadeveon get accustomed to the defensive system and how they can play within the system, the plays that are there to be made, you know that stuff is going to come around," defensive line coach Clint Hurtt said. "Now it's the consistency of it, to be able to do that week in and week out is what you're counting on getting."
But the Seahawks know that Clowney's impact doesn't always reflect itself in the stat sheets. He was a wrecking ball against the 49ers and only had one sack himself.
"He’s been doing a lot of stuff, but just on Monday night, it was just play after play after play," head coach Pete Carroll said. "He had so many impact plays. Such a significant role in the night. I think he affected the guys around him, most obviously, in terms of our pass rush, pressure on the QB, and just the activity. This was his best game. It’s looked like he should have numbers and stuff like that in what we’ve seen. We have not been disappointed at all in his activity, his effort, and all that. He just was play after play after play, really on it.”
Clowney is set to become a free agent in March as the Seahawks agreed not to use the franchise tag on him when acquiring him from Houston at the start of the season. He is ineligible to sign a new contract until after the season is over. While the uncertainty of where he'll be in 2020 looms, Clowney says he isn't focusing on his contract situation at all for the time being.
“I’m really focusing on this season,” Clowney said. “I don’t care about looking down the road. It’s just one game at a time because we can do something special here. … I’m trying to help this team try to find a way to get to the playoffs and get to the Super Bowl. That’s what I think everybody’s focusing on right now."
Clowney has not practiced yet this week due to knee and hip injuries that kept him from making an appearance at practice on Thursday. There hasn't been any indication that the issues will keep Clowney from playing Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, but it is worth monitoring into Friday.
Report: Ed Dickson likely headed back to injured reserve:
After being activated from injured reserve on Wednesday, tight end Ed Dickson may be headed straight back to the injured list by the end of the week.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, the Seahawks are expected to play Dickson on injured reserve after the veteran tight end missed practice on Thursday with a knee injury. Dickson had surgery on his knee in August, which was the first surgery on his 10-year NFL career.
"The time is now," Dickson said on Wednesday. "The time is now. ... You never want to be hurt or be out, but to come back when the team is doing as well as they're doing and be able to immediately help and continue that path that we're going on feels good."
Dickson said he was ready to play upward of 40 snaps this week if necessary with Luke Willson likely to miss the game due to a strained hamstring. Jacob Hollister and backup tackle George Fant would be the only two tight ends available this weekend if Willson is out and Dickson is headed back to injured reserve. Tyrone Swoopes remains on the practice squad and could be activated for depth if Dickson is out for the year.
Swoopes has played in two career games for the Seahawks with one appearance in each of the last two seasons. He has one career catch for 23 yards against the Oakland Raiders last year in London.
Photo Credit: GLENDALE, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 29: Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Seattle Seahawks chases Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals out of the pocket during the second half of a game at State Farm Stadium on September 29, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. Seahawks won 27-10. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)