Romeo Crennel: Clowney has to earn playing time

AP

When the Texans drafted Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick last month, they did so knowing that he would have to make the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker.

Such transitions can be bumpy, but it was hard to find anyone that thought Houston would have used the pick on Clowney if they weren’t confident that he’d be able to make the move quickly enough to be on the field right away. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel doesn’t want Clowney or anyone else taking that for granted, however.

“He’s going to earn his spot, in my eyes. … If he learns, then chances are that he’ll get playing time,” Crennel said, via the Houston Chronicle. “If he doesn’t learn, then he probably won’t get as much playing time. And now then that’s where [Whitney] Mercilus, he’s going to be there and he’s going to play. Or if it’s Brooks [Reed], Brooks is going to play.”

There’s not much for the Texans to gain from just handing the job to Clowney without even a limited competition for playing time, but it is difficult to believe that the first overall pick isn’t going to have a prominent role on the Texans’ defense once the regular season rolls around. Mercilus is already pencilled into one starting role and Reed is working on the inside, which doesn’t leave the Texans with other realistic choices to start ahead of Clowney in September.