Chris Clemons is finally back practicing with the Seattle Seahawks after suffering a season-ending ACL injury against the Washington Redskins in the 2012 playoffs. It has been a long road back for the defensive end, but he may be available very soon.
The key question with Clemons has to do with effectiveness. Clemons did pile up 11.5 sacks in 2012 and he has 33.5 sacks in three years with the ‘Hawks. Unfortunately for Clemons, the NFL is very much a “what have you done for me lately” league. There is little room for sentimentality.
When you describe the situation, you have to wonder what Clemons has left. The repaired ACL makes you wonder about long-term strength, agility and speed. Another problem is his age, as Clemons will turn 32 at the end of October. Unless you are a quarterback, that is fairly ancient in the NFL.
When you break down the sack total from 2012, you do see a distribution that is not particularly encouraging. Four of those sacks came against the Green Bay Packers in a sack-happy first half on September 24. Granted, Golden Tate is the player that Packers fans probably remember a bit more than Clemons.
Of those 11.5 sacks in 2012, seven of them happened in the first six games. Clemons had 2.5 sacks in a blowout win against the Buffalo Bills on December 16, but he did not record a sack in the final two games of the regular season.
If Clemons does still have that burst, then the team will certainly take it. However, it would not be a huge shock to see Clemons struggle, particularly in the first few games as he re-adjusts to the grind of the NFL.
Seattle would certainly like to see another 11 sacks from Clemons in 2013, but I doubt they are expecting it. It will be interesting to see if Clemons and Cliff Avril can turn into a dominating tandem.