I’m going to make a prediction right here and right now. Chris Clark has played his last series in the NFL. The Texans’ back-up right tackle has been starting in place of injured rookie right tackle Tytus Howard for several weeks. It gives me the heebie jeebies watching him on the right side of the line, but more importantly, he gives opposing defenses a direct path to sack Watson.
In a must-win game against the Tennessee Titans, the Texans were not going to tread lightly when it came to offensive errors. Especially with the first quarter woes this offense has experienced, there was little room for error. When Clark whiffed on a fairly easy block in the first quarter, that was all head coach Bill O’Brien needed to pull the plug on Clark.
Sack #37: Chris Clark Cruises Past Defender
First, the Titans had yet to call a blitz on any pass play thus far when I watched the film. So it’s safe to say that the Titans saw empty backfield on first and 15 and knew they had the look they wanted. The Titans send three pass rushers on the right side of the Texans’ line to achieve one-on-one blocks against the weaker side of the offensive line.
Titans linebacker Kamalei Correa takes a major risk and dips inside of Clark. Rule One of containing a scrambling QB is to always set the edge of the pocket. Creating a perimeter in which Watson can be contained is a more passive approach, so when examining this play, understand that this was a high risk/high reward maneuver.
Clark understands the risk-reward potential for the opposing linebacker to rip inside and takes a technique-oriented bet that the linebacker wouldn't slip inside. A little confirmation bias is at play with Clark, and he makes an immediate error in his blocking technique. As you’ll see below, Clark’s first step is out (horizontal), and not back (depth).
Due to a general lack of speed and faced against a speed-only pass rusher, Clark overextends himself to make up ground on Correa. What’s important to see here is Clark’s two-handed chest pass into what was supposed to be the pass rusher’s body. By doing so, he loses inside leverage, shifts his shoulders over his toes, and forces his hips to be parallel to the sideline. This is a green light for any defender to take the risk and shoot inside. Once beaten by a simple side-step, there’s nothing Clark can do but watch as Watson is sacked in the backfield.
The Texans are truly missing rookie tackle Tytus Howard to secure the right side. Without him, the Texans have had to pick between Clark and Roderick Johnson. Johnson is a superior run blocker. He was subbed in for Clark in the next series and played out the rest of the game at right tackle. With Clark at right tackle, the Texans rushed to the right side four times and gained a whopping 11 yards. The Texans finished the game with 140 rushing yards. They also allowed only one QB hit, and no sacks, the rest of the game.
Who do you think the Texans should start at right tackle this week: Roderick Johnson or Chris Clark?
Here’s the updated Sack Tracker:
Deshaun Watson: 7.5
Laremy Tunsil: 5
Chris Clark: 3
Zach Fulton: 3
Greg Mancz: 3
Roderick Johnson: 2.5
Tytus Howard: 2.5
Darren Fells: 2
Seantrel Henderson: 2
Max Scharping: 1.5
Nick Martin: 1.5
Senio Kelemete: 1
Carlos Hyde: 1
Keke Coutee: 0.5
Jordan Thomas: 0.5
Jordan Akins: 0.5