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NOTEBOOK: Clemons Proving To Be A Safety Valve; Other Notes

Posted Nov 9, 2013

Fifth-year defensive back is enjoying his finest season.



Unless you are a safety in the National Football League and your name is Ed Reed, what you do on the field goes largely unnoticed. But the Miami Dolphins’ Chris Clemons is making a name for himself.

This is Clemons’ fifth season with the Dolphins after he was selected in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft out of Clemson and third as a full-time starter. He first assumed that role in his second season back in 2010 when he started 14 out of 15 games, but then the next season he lost his starting job to Reshad Jones before teaming up with him last year to form a solid and young tandem.

Clemons is only slightly behind his pace of a year ago in terms of total tackles with 46 (35 solo) through eight games (he had 96 with 69 solo) in 2012. But the 6-foot-1, 215-pound sure tackler is third overall on the team in that category behind Jones and linebacker Philip Wheeler and he has earned the praise of Head Coach Joe Philbin.

“He’s very solid. Sometimes there may be flashier players around somewhere but he consistently does his job well,” Philbin said. “He’s a good tackler, he understands his role in the defense and he’s a dependable guy. He’s an available player, he practices every day and he always shows up. He’s doing well.”

In his role back in the secondary, Clemons is the one that gets all of the defensive backs lined up properly and anticipates the play being run by the offense. Once he has done that part of his job he can focus on making plays either against the run or the pass.

The confidence Clemons gained as a three-year starter in college helped him make an easier transition to the pros and prepared him for dealing with the adversity of losing his job once. Now he goes about his business with a steady hand while still cognizant of how much room he has to grow.

“I feel like I’m still getting better and better,” said Clemons, who has 214 career tackles (163 solo), 1.5 sacks, four interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. “My ceiling is still growing. Reshad and I talk before every play and we communicate very well because we both can do it all and can switch roles.”

Cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Dimitri Patterson also have nothing but praise for Clemons and how he makes their job easier both with his leadership and communication skills and his physical play.

“The best way to describe it is he makes a lot of plays that the average fan or somebody that doesn’t know football like that doesn’t really recognize,” Grimes said. “He makes a lot of key tackles and at the beginning of the play he’s making sure everybody’s in place and making all the checks. So the cliché is safeties are like the quarterback on defense. … They’re also the last line of defense and he makes a lot of 1-on-1 tackles and our coaches always puts on film of Clemons making tackles and he’s solid at that.”

Patterson echoed Grimes’ sentiment.

“He’s a field general,” said Patterson, who leads the team with four interceptions. “He’s just real consistent and you know where Chris is going to be and that he’s going to give you everything that he has and he leads by example. They both provide us confidence knowing that if I see something I can go get it because I know that they’re going to be back there to clean up everything else.”

At this stage of the season, Clemons is starting to get his due recognition.

MOSLEY AND DOLPHINS AMICABLY PARTED WAYS

Former assistant offensive line coach Chris Mosley left the team about a month ago to take care of a personal matter and Philbin acknowledged his departure at the beginning of his press conference today.

“As you may be aware, Chris Mosley is no longer a member of our coaching staff,” Philbin said. “He has not been with us for over a month. Chris is a good man. He’s a fine coach. We mutually agreed to part ways and I want to thank him for his contribution to the program and wish him well in the future.”

His position on the staff has not been filled.

PRESIDENT OBAMA IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Traffic on University Boulevard was slightly impacted this morning by none other than a golf foursome consisting of the President of the United States Barack Obama and former Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning. The first level of the Nova Southeastern parking garage adjacent to the Dolphins’ practice level was used as a staging area for the Broward County Sherriff’s deputies assigned to the presidential detail, as Obama and company took to the links at Grande Oaks. That’s the same course that was used during the filming of Caddyshack.

THE LAST WORD

“When you look at their record people might say it’s a sure thing but it’s not. You look at the game they played and how tough they played Seattle and I think they put 200 yards on the ground on a team whose defense is pretty good, so as far as we’re concerned this is a situation where you’ve got to out there and we’re going to have to be on top of out game.” – defensive end Cameron Wake on facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night

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