Wednesday Mailbag: Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jadeveon Clowney expectations

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Alex, how big of an impact do you think we can expect rookie Jadeveon Clowney to have? – Allen H, Richmond BC

Allen, first off, remember that Jadeveon Clowney is being heralded as the best defensive prospect, or even a “once-in-a-decade prospect.” There’s a reason he was drafted first overall. The question currently is: Where will Clowney play? He played outside linebacker at college, but many believe he’s a perfect complement to J.J. Watt at defensive end, and somewhere on the defensive line. Where will he go? That still depends, as training camp and preseason will help us solve those questions.

If he is a defensive end, I think he will have a bigger impact there, as he can be a pure pass-rusher. Developing outside linebackers at a Pro Bowl level take much longer, but wherever he plays, Clowney will definitely make his presence felt, especially at the line of scrimmage as a run-stopper and excellent pass rusher.

Hey Alex, do you think Ryan Fitzpatrick is really capable of leading the Houston Texans to the playoffs? Joe, Houston

Very interesting question that is tough to tell. After leading the Buffalo Bills to a promising start in 2011, Ryan Fitzpatrick was rewarded with a lucrative contract, but one year into the contract he was released after another season of frustrating turnovers. Despite throwing 106 career touchdowns with mediocre or terrible teams, Fitzpatrick has 93 career interceptions and 31 fumbles, so that’s very concerning.

However, new head coach Bill O’Brien is an offensive guru. During his tenure with the New England Patriots, as a coach or offensive coordinator, the Patriots offense excelled. O’Brien is trying to help the Texans run a similar type offense ┬áhe did in New England, and if he’s able to help Fitzpatrick with it, then we can expect less turnovers and better production.

Remember, with a very mediocre Tennessee Titans squad, Fitzpatrick played in 11 games where he threw 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with eight fumbles, but the Titans still played fairly well under him.

It is early, but we should try to trust O’Brien to worth with Fitzpatrick and help him turn his career around. If not, then there’s always Case Keenum, who showed plenty of promise last season.

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