Golden Tate and the Jimmy Clausen Conundrum

Some insist Golden Tate made Jimmy Clausen look good. Others argue the opposite. I'd contend that garbage time made their stats look good. Clausen rarely excited. A porous offensive line did not flatter his pop-gun arm. If 2009 reflected his true ability, Clausen would be a marginal prospect like Mike Kafka. To be excited about Clausen's future, one has to assume Clausen can combine his pre-injury tools with his post-injury decision making. Tate was the perfect receiver for post-injury Clausen. He could turn a good read and good timing into a homerun. Well, almost perfect. We all have our bad tape.

We revisit Wanny and the Panthers. They'll bore you to tears, but they were pro-style and talented. What can I say? I'll take this bullet for the team.

1. 1st and 10 at ND 9 Armando Allen Jr rush for 6 yards to the NDame 15.

Tate is alone on the left. Dame has trips on the right. Tate identifies coverage and then releases into a route. Decent take off. Sells it well. Run.

2. 2nd and 4 at ND 15 Golden Tate rush for 5 yards to the NDame 20 for a 1ST down.

Same formation, but Tate is now rightmost member of the trips bunch. Clausen fakes hand off and then hands to Tate on an end around. He displays good footwork to turn a sharp angle around left end and towards the left sideline. Linebacker Max Gruder snags his ankle but Tate attempts to pull free. He's wrapped and dragged down before he can be injured. I hate watching a ball carrier attempt to pull free in traffic.

3. 1st and 10 at ND 20 Jimmy Clausen pass complete to Golden Tate for 22 yards to the NDame 42 for a 1ST down.

Two wide a side, tight. Tate is outside left, just off left tackle. He runs a corner route into double coverage. The route is loose and meandering but effective. Tate turns early, and runs into the left flat, head on a swivel. Clausen lobs it high and the two turn a good read and good timing into a long reception. He high points the pass then is undercut for the tackle.

4. 1st and 10 at ND 42 Armando Allen Jr rush for 6 yards to the NDame 48.  

(Out)

5. 2nd and 4 at ND 48 Jimmy Clausen pass incomplete.

Good release, screen attempt. DNF.

(Timeout)

6. 3rd and 4 at ND 48 Armando Allen Jr rush for 8 yards to the Pitt 44 for a 1ST down.

(Out)

7. 1st and 10 at PITT 44 Armando Allen Jr rush for 2 yards to the Pitt 42.

Good release; searches for block.

8. 2nd and 8 at PITT 42 Jimmy Clausen sacked by Jabaal Sheard for a loss of 14 yards to the NDame 44.

Sheard becomes the latest end to victimize Sam Young. This play never gets started. It's an interesting series for Tate. He's split wide right. He identifies off coverage. Snap. Tate runs a real lazy looking quick curl. Clausen sees him and sees his back releasing towards the right flat, but Sheard is tearing through Young and any pass to his right has a good shot of being tipped. The weakside linebacker has curled under an idle Tate and the two are spectators for Clausen's demise. He double clutches and attempts to set up an outlet underneath. Replay shows Clausen is sacked before he can release.

9. 3rd and 22 at ND 44 Armando Allen Jr rush for 8 yards to the Pitt 48.

Tate is wide left: Good release; looks for block; ND runs a draw right.

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