Adrian Clayborn: When you get a guy on his heels, instinct kicks in


Thanks to a fan taking video during the joint practice between the Patriots and Buccaneers, everyone got a chance to see the play that led to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffering the knee sprain heard round the world on Wednesday afternoon.

Buccaneers defensive end Adrian Clayborn bullrushes Patriots left tackle Nate Solder and pushes him straight back until he makes contact with Brady’s left knee. Bucs coach Greg Schiano said after the practice that both coaches had agreed defenders should rush hard, but to let up when they get close to the quarterbacks in order to allow them a chance to throw the ball. Clayborn explained what happened on the fateful play.

“You always have to stay away from the quarterback but if you get a guy on his heels, my instinct is to keep going. And that’s what I did,” Clayborn said, via the Patriots website.

It’s hard to expect a player to do anything else. Asking a defensive end to rush 100 percent 95 percent of the time and then pull up to five percent while an opposing tackle is still going 100 percent is asking him to get injured. The only way to guarantee that you’ll avoid what happened Wednesday is to not have players rushing at all.

The only other option isn’t guaranteed to work and Solder admitted after practice that it misfired this time.

“We’re always working to protect… you know, I screwed some things up here and there. We’ll work to improve it,” Solder said.

It looks like Brady will be fine and the Patriots got a reminder of the importance of protecting him well on Wednesday.

35 responses to “Adrian Clayborn: When you get a guy on his heels, instinct kicks in

  1. Good to see Clayborn playing hard coming off an ACL, either he looks really really good or the Pats tackle is really really bad because that was a manhandling.

  2. Clean play no question about it.

    And it happened after Brady had thrown the ball. He might have stepped back and avoided the injury anyway if he’d been paying attention to Solder instead of to whether it was a completion or not.

  3. Watched the video and saw nothing wrong with the play.

    Solder is more to blame than anyone for wearing roller skates when blocking Clayborn. Get low, move your feet, and get a good first punch in Solder and that won’t happen to your QB.

  4. Obviously it stinks that he is injured.

    But the writer is right. How is a player supposed to always know when is exactly the right moment to hold back, risking injury to himself if the opposing player doesn’t also let up at exactly the same moment? Especially in a “joint practice” when jobs are are on the line for the other team?

    You can’t do away with all risks. Well, maybe if you make “practice” a walk-through, but what does that accomplish?

    To me, this idea of “joint practice” makes no sense. Either have an actual full pads game scrimmage, or have a team-only internal limited practice.

  5. it was clear as day that Clayborn wasn’t paying attention to when brady released the ball. you’re not supposed to push anyone into another player during a joint “practice.” to say this is solder’s fault is ridiculous.

  6. Could have happened in a game as well as practice.
    Coaches want it both ways. They want players to go 100% all the time, and then they want to be selective about when they “let up”. Coaches aren’t always all that smart. What do they think is going to happen in a joint practice. The other team doesn’t care about Tom Brady.

  7. I’d like to see Wilfork or Chandler Jones put the hurt on Josh Freeman tomorrow but they’d probably be doing the Bucs a favor.

  8. As a Buc fan, I’m also glad Brady is okay. This relationship with BB is good for the Bucs. Things do happen because last season the Pats gave Davin Joseph a torn ACL in the preseason game. Fingers crossed for a healthy season.

  9. If this was a game during the season, Clayborn gets “Roughing the Puss” against Brady and 15 yards.

    If Chandler Jones gets to Freeman, referees look the other way.

  10. thegronk87 says:
    Aug 14, 2013 7:58 PM
    it was clear as day that Clayborn wasn’t paying attention to when brady released the ball. you’re not supposed to push anyone into another player during a joint “practice.” to say this is solder’s fault is ridiculous


    God pat fans are pansies.

  11. Clayton wasn’t targeting Brady like Pollard was

    Clayton was doing his job by pushing back against the Tackle

    The vast majority of Patriots fans recognize this distinction and bear in Clayton no ill will

    I doubt even Brady would hold a grudge

  12. Thegronk, your story is conflicting. You say Clayborn wasn’t watching Brady as if that’s more of a reason he is at fault. Before you get to a QB, you must first focus your attention on the man in front of you. And that’s what Clayborn was doing. The fact that Clayborn wasn’t watching Brady is more of a reason to understand why no one is at fault but Solder. If Solder would have done his job, Brady does not get hurt. Kind of like how Clady keeps Manning clean.

  13. Brady is fine guys get over it.. You love to look for something to complain about, I can only imagine you in the real world off this site.. Haters till the end and I didnt know it was flag football. I’m sure if josh freeman had the same thing happen to him all the haters would say ” oh Donald Penn should have blocked better!” Get over it and move on.. Your precious GQ quarterback is fine and the pats will be back to cheating in no time 😉

  14. Shiano is the nut who on the final play as the clock ticks has the boys fire across the line Every moment every game is the super bowl to this “winner” why surprised?

  15. Solders fault all the way. Clayborn was doing what he was taught to do, go 100%! He wasn’t the one who hurt Brady. Solder needs to learn his mechanics, he needs to get low. Clearly it wasn’t on purpose so the guy that said he hopes the pats do the same to freeman are morons. As a bucs fan I don’t ever like seeing players get hurt no matter what team they play for.

  16. Teams have joint practices every year and how many qbs have gotten hurt? Don’t hit the quarterback during practice is preached at every practice at every level.

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