Heading into the Week 6 matchup versus the Tennessee Titans, I was really excited to watch Left Tackle Laremy Tunsil and EDGE Jadeveon Clowney go to battle. Two of the best players at their positions, I was expecting a bloodbath. However, the Titans smartly avoided Tunsil (who has been dominant), rushing Clowney off the left edge majority of the time, versus Right Tackle Tytus Howard instead. Clowney seemed to have met his match, as Tytus played tremendously, all day long. Clowney finished with 2 tackles, 1 TFL, 0 sacks, 0 QB hits and 1 pressure. Let's take a look into why Tytus was so successful, and how he can continue to improve going forward.
Houston Texans Tytus Howard Locks Down Titans Jadeveon Clowney
The first thing I want to get into about Tytus' play is just how effective his length can be. A freak athlete, Tytus has extremely long arms at 34 inches and this gives him a deadly punching radius. Tytus is extremely successful when he lands his punch before the defender can punch him. It's a simple concept, but quite hard to master, in the heat of the moment.
For a powerful punch, you want to aim your hands towards the chest of the defender. Tytus often tries to attack that area with his outside (right) hand. On this play, he gets some help from Fulton, but look at Tytus' right arm. It's close to his hip, which allows him to shoot his hands into the chest of Clowney. This allows him to give up ground slowly, and eventually put Clowney in the dirt.
On this next play, we see that Tytus lands his right hand on Clowney's chest, and his left hand on Clowney's right shoulder. Clowney tries to use a "club-rip" to get away from Tytus, but he counters this move nicely. Tytus repositions his right hand, to keep hold of Cloweny's chest. Because of this, he stops Clowney from bending around the edge, and can push him out of the play.
This next play looks almost identical, as Tytus gets his right hand into the chest of Clowney, and the left hand on his shoulder, then back. It's clear that when he gets his hands on you, it's game over. Clowney ends the play in damn Narnia.
The thing about Tytus is his hand placement isn't always perfect, but the length of his arms really hinder Clowney's ability to get into Tytus' chest. On this play, Tytus' right hand lands on the face mask of Clowney. You can see the shock it engulfs into Clowney, as he jolts backwards. Pass blocking isn't just about the initial punch though, and Tytus finishes the block by extending his arms into Clowney's chest. This really irritates Clowney, and makes it exponentially harder for him to drive Tytus back, eventually getting stood up.
Before I move on, let's take a look at what happens when Tytus' length gets combatted, when he isn't able to land his punch first. As per usual, Tytus tries to land his right hand into the chest of Clowney, and the left on his shoulder pad. But Clowney times it perfectly and gets his right hand into the chest of Tytus first. He has all the power now and drives Tytus backwards, winning with leverage and leg drive.
Tytus isn't always going to be perfect. He's still a young player, who has very little help from the coaching staff, if you ask me. He's a moldable ball of clay though, with loads of potential and a great set of traits to work off. Let's hope the Texans hire a new offensive line coach that will help him reach his full potential.
Win Physical - Win Ugly
The other thing I love about Tytus, and was shown on Sunday vs the Titans is how he will be the most physical player on the field. His mentality is something to be admired, and you can tell he takes pride in demolishing whoever is in front of him. This translates to his matchup with Clowney by the way of Tytus winning ugly.
Off the snap, Tytus takes a large step to his outside, anticipating a speed rush from Clowney. Instead, Clowney attacks inside. Clowney's most successful move is the inside rush, and he's demolished tackles in years past. However, Tytus isn't your typical tackle. He rushes back inside and sort of hugs Clowney, to stop him. He wraps his left hand around Clowney's back and uses his right hand to guide Clowney back outside. This type of fight is great to see, and I love how Tytus sustains his block to the whistle. Look at every other offensive linemen, they all stop blocking. Couldn't be Tytus though.
This next rep is a perfect example of the battle to attack each other's chest. Tytus aims his punch right in between the numbers, but Clowney meets him with his own hands. The two look like they are high fiving and because Tytus can't get into Clowney's chest, he is less powerful. As he is getting driven back, things are looking grim, but he repositions his hands, keeps his feet moving, and pushes Clowney out of the play.
That desire to never give up and the ability to recover when beaten, is awesome to see out of the young tackle. Even if his technique isn't perfect right now, he'll almost always be effective with his natural athleticism and this type of effort.
Overall, Tytus Howard more than held his own against one of the most talented EDGE defenders in the entire NFL. Was he perfect? No, but he kept Deshaun upright (wasn't responsible for any sacks) and comfortable in the pocket (only one pressure). Tytus will be a pillar of the offense going forward and the Texans are in a good position with their offensive tackles. The next step, fix the interior of the line (mainly RG Zach Fulton) and hire a new offensive line coach. Giving Deshaun Watson the best possible protection will be pivotal for the success of this team, and Tytus is doing his part to carry that out.