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Six Snaps with Chris Clemons

At the time of Darryl Tapp trade, I thought Chris Clemons was a throw-in, perhaps initiated by the Eagles. He was a career backup, passed around the league, habitually injured and signed to a somewhat burdensome contract. Even on a team that is as defensive-end crazy as Philadelphia, five-years/ $12.6 million is pricey for a situational pass rusher. Mid-tier contracts given to mediocre talent is one way to get into cap trouble.

So it's with some surprise that I deliver this news: Clemons is pretty good.

San Francisco travelled to Philadelphia with their playoffs hopes on the line. This was a slow-burn blowout. The 49ers never exceeded 50% win probability and the "time of knockout" was early in the second quarter. A couple more quick notes: right tackle Adam Snyder sucks and so does Alex Smith. You heard it here first.

Clemons played special teams for the Eagles. Hopefully he won't for Seattle. He's good but he's a starter now. Whatever it takes to keep him healthy, keep him healthy.

2-D.Akers kicks 58 yards from PHI 30 to SF 12. 84-J.Morgan to SF 29 for 17 yards (91-C.Clemons).

Clemons is a good all-around athlete and runs like linebacker but is thick like an end. He separates, squares and tackles.

6-J.Nedney kicks 74 yards from SF 30 to PHI -4. 39-Q.Demps to PHI 18 for 22 yards (47-B.Miller).

He misses his block and his assignment becomes the player that tackles Quintin Demps. Clemons is right there to help him up.

1-10-SF 27 (5:50) (Shotgun) 11-A.Smith pass incomplete deep right to 46-D.Walker.

First traditional down Clemons is in on, and the Eagles break in an untraditional formation.

SF: WR (left), 2WR (right), RB (right), TE (right), Shotgun.

PHI: 5-1

The defensive line is set: XXXX----X <--This being Clemons.

One thing I notice is that Clemons prefers a four-point stance. I hope he's not married to that. Nothing happens here. Clemons gets a decent jump off the snap, attempts a narrow edge rush and is blocked out by Snyder. Then he's out for a long time.

3-9-SF 40 (3:41) (Shotgun) 11-A.Smith pass incomplete short right (24-S.Brown).

Same drive.

SF: 3WR (left), WR (right), RB (left), Shotgun.

PHI: 4-2

The front six looks like this:


XX-------XX <-- This being Clemons.

Eagles overload the left, blitzing Joselio Hanson and dropping the left inside linebacker and left defensive end, Clemons, into cover. He's well-matched for a zone blitzing team, tools-wise, but doesn't look very confident in cover. Glen Coffee trips escaping the backfield and that leaves the 49ers a man down. Smith flexes into his infinite drop back of yore. He throws towards the right sideline and Clemons breaks towards the ball, but is nowhere near.

(Many plays later)

3-9-SF 36 (7:36) (Shotgun) 11-A.Smith pass short right intended for 85-V.Davis INTERCEPTED by 22-A.Samuel at SF 46. 22-A.Samuel to SF 28 for 18 yards (68-A.Snyder).

SF: 2WR (left), WR (right), TE (right), RB (right), Shotgun

PHI: 4-1

Nothing fancy. Clemons substitutes at right defensive end.

Superb jump, about as good as possible, followed by another tight-angled edge rush. He beats Snyder back, separates and inspires Smith to throw towards Vernon Davis. I say inspires instead of forces because in typical Smith fashion, the pass rush isn't anywhere near as threatening as he interprets it. Asante Samuel breaks man cover on Josh Hill and cuts underneath Davis for the leaping interception.


2-D.Akers kicks 69 yards from PHI 30 to SF 1. 84-J.Morgan to SF 23 for 22 yards (91-C.Clemons).

Good square and contain by Clemons and a solid shoulder tackle on a leaping Morgan.

(Many plays later)

3-13-SF 37 (2:25) (Shotgun) 11-A.Smith pass incomplete short middle to 85-V.Davis.

SF: 3WR (left), WR (right), RB (right), Shotgun

PHI: 2-3

Two ends, three standup players in a bunch two to four yards off the line.




Something like that.

Clemons starts four yards deep and aligned defensive right. He loops around and rushes the right guard. Some push. Some presence in the scrum. Some hand fighting.

(McNabb throws a bad pick.)

1-10-SF 20 (:44) (Shotgun) 11-A.Smith pass short middle to 21-F.Gore to SF 27 for 7 yards (22-A.Samuel).

SF: 2WR (left/right), RB (left), Shotgun.

PHI: 4-2

Clemons gets a good jump, spins inside, separates from a disoriented Snyder and forces Smith to roll right and outlet to Frank Gore.

(Next play!)

2-3-SF 27 (:36) (Shotgun) 11-A.Smith pass short middle intended for 21-F.Gore INTERCEPTED by 52-T.White [75-J.Parker] at SF 34. 52-T.White to SF 29 for 5 yards (62-C.Rachal).

SF: 2WR (left/right), RB (left), Shotgun.

PHI: 4-2


XX-------XX <-- This being Clemons.

Juqua Parker is playing left defensive tackle. Adequate jump, edge rush, Clemons is halfway around Snyder and grasping towards Smith. Smith steps up and into pressure by Parker. He heaves the pass. Interception.

That's it for the half. Second half tomorrow. The kid looks alright.