As initially reported by ESPN’s Ed Werder, the Houston Texans have declared defensive end Jadeveon Clowney inactive for today’s Wild Card game against the Kansas City Chiefs, deciding that Clowney has not fully recovered from a foot injury. Clowney himself believed that he was at full strength and, according to Werder’s report, was angry enough that he left the stadium.
Clowney, picked first overall by Houston in the 2014 NFL Draft, was expected to be the second half of a historically talented defensive duo for the Texans, alongside surefire Hall of Famer J.J. Watt. That expectation has not quite translated into reality yet, with Clowney playing in 17 of a possible 32 regular season games since being drafted, collecting 27 tackles and 4.5 sacks over that time.
Still, Houston’s defense has quietly become one of the strongest in the league, ranking eighth overall in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric and fourth overall when more recent regular season games are given more weight. After starting their season 3-5, the Texans stormed out of their bye week, going 6-2 the rest of the way, for a 9-7 overall record. Today’s opponent, the Chiefs, started the season 1-5 before ending the season on a 10-game winning streak.