Tag Archives: sage 2014

Swanson, Travis

sa14 swansonCard: Sage 2014
Acquired: 2015, Box Break

Travis Swanson played for the Arkansas Razorbacks.  He moved to Center (from Tackle) and took over as the starter at the position for the program in 2010.  He’d anchor the Hogs line as it set school offensive season team records as he started the next 50 games.
Swanson really fit the mold of a zone blocking lineman going into the pros, and as there were not that many highly touted centers coming out of the draft so this made Swanson an excellent value find.

The Detroit Lions selected him with the 12th pick of the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft.  He fit in well with their scheme, and started 5 games in his rookie year. In 2015 Travis was given the starter’s nod, and after 14 starts, ended his season on IR due to a shoulder injury.  Since then Swanson has demonstrated versatility in the Lions offense to play both guard and center, and has started 23 contests over the last two seasons.

Duncan, Joe Don

Card: Sage 2014 (102/250)
Acquired:  2016, Box Breaker

Joe Don Duncan went to school at tiny Dixie State finishing second in school history with 1,994 yards.  He was an intriguing prospect to scouts, but bad timing (broke his foot before the Senior Bowl) did not allow them to validate his standing against his larger school peers.  An intelligent receiver who has a natural knack to find the soft spot in a defense to sit in and make the catch, Duncan was quite an athlete and could be counted on to be a kicker and a long snapper if needed in a pinch.

Joe Don was not selected in the 2014 NFL draft. In fact it wasn’t until 2015 that he  was signed as a free agent by the Denver Broncos where they kicked the tires on converting him to fullback/ H-back. Duncan surprisingly lost out in training camp to James Casey and was cut. He later had a tryout with the Patriots, but eventually ended up playing for the Brooklyn Bolts of the FXFL where he scored a TD on a run and also on an onside playing fullback. After the league folded Joe Don decided to hang up his cleats for good, but hopes to go into coaching in the near future.

Clowney, Jadeveon

Card: Sage 2014
Acquired: 2016, Box Breaker

While opening up this completely uninspiring box of Sage 2014, I got to the last pack of cards and pulled this gem in Jadeveon Clowney.

After the Texans monumental collapse in 2013 that resulted with the unceremonious termination of Gary Kubiak‘s staff, Houston had a new sheriff in town with Bill O’Brien. To make up for the additional dismissal of popular defensive coordinator Wade Philips, the Texans got Romeo Crennel- a mastermind in his own right. It was clearcut that Clowney was the most imposing and physical player in the 2014 draft by far, but no team was willing to pay the lion’s share in order to pry him from the Texans. So Houston did the most logical thing and drafted Clowney with the first overall pick to be a part of their already stout defense.

At 6’5″, 266, Clowney ran an eye popping 4.53 40, and dominated the combine as the leader at his position in the broad jump and vertical jump.  Clowney is tremendously quick and is known for his high motor pursuit sideline to sideline.  The Texans plan was to shift Clowney to the pass rushing linebacker position in their 3-4 alignment.

Jadeveon displayed some of those tantalizing abilities  during the preseason but had to have micro fracture knee surgery ending his rookie campaign. He finished 2014 with 7 total tackles (3 STF).

It was pretty rough for Clowney. A lot of people just wanted him to fail. The ‘bust’ label was thrown around a lot, but hand it to Jadeveon for ignoring and fighting through it. 2015 was more like his rookie season and in 9 starts he had 4.5 sacks, 27 tackles (5 STF), a forced fumble, and 6 passes defended. So when you think about it, Clowney’s 2015 was a solid debut.

With JJ Watt out for the 2016 season, the Texans had to rely on Clowney as the big dog on the defensive side of the ball. Crennel shifted Jadeveon back to his natural position of defensive end and he responded by leading the defense to a #1 overall ranking. He put up a solid line of 40 tackles (12 STF), 6 sacks, 2 passes defended, and a forced fumble.  During the playoffs Clowney was moved back to linebacker and with a new bag of finesse moves from a standing position he wrecked the Raiders game plan, coming up with numerous pressures and an interception early in the game deep in Raider territory. (The play was reminiscent of JJ Watt’s coming of age during his rookie season against the Bengals in the playoffs.) After the season, Clowney was the only player on the Texans defense to earn a Pro Bowl berth.

Texans fans were eager to see Watt and Clowney at full speed for 2017 but the Texans got bit by the injury bug in a bad way- as the team lost both Watt and Whitney Mercilus during the same game. Clowney however turned it up a notch. In fact he came to play especially in big games. With 3 games to go in the 2017 season, Clowney already has a career high 9 sacks. A true game wrecker, Jadeveon also returned a Tom Brady fumble for a touchdown.