QB Kellen Clemens, Free agent
HT: 6-2, WT: 218, Born: 6-6-1983, College: Oregon, Drafted: Round 2
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2013 Game Summaries
Week 7 - Clemens threw a couple short passes, overthrew Chris Givens on a deep ball, and fumbled the ball twice in his two series of work. Clemens seems to have a decent arm, but hasnít played a lot in his . Because we havenít seen a lot of Clemens, itís going to be tough to give a good feel for what this offense is going to look like with him at the helm. Heís an 8-year backup, but heís only played a few games in his career.
In 2011, Clemens did get three starts at the end of the season when Bradford went down with an injury. He played pretty poorly in those games, as the Rams lost each one and didnít mount much of an offensive threat. The schedule looks brutal for Clemens, and the rest of 2013 is unlikely to be much different than what Clemens faced in 2011.
Week 8 - Kellen Clemens has been a backup for a long time. At times when that happens, the player will get so used to not playing that he looks as bad as a rookie when he finally hits the field. This happened to Clemens on Monday night when he entered the game against perhaps the best defense in football. In the first half, Clemens had happy feet, was dancing, and was throwing the ball way too high, leading to perhaps the worst half of football Iíve seen by a QB. He actually was getting pretty decent protection, and had some time to make throws. But in the first half, most of his completions were short sideline routes. He did have one rollout where he threw it over the defenders head to Pettis for a 26 yard gain. In the rest of the first half, he was truly horrible. He threw two horrendous interceptions, both of them just floaters that sailed over the receivers heads right to the DB. However, as he got into the game and got settled down, he did a bit better in the second half. The coaches focused on the running game, and Clemens made a few big 3rd down conversions. He started using the middle of the field, hitting Cook and Tavon with a few decent gains, and at least was able to get a few field goals. On the final drive, he took the Rams 96 yards down to the 1 yard line. He hits Givens across the middle for 21, nailed Kendricks on playaction, and let his running backs help him out as well. However, on the final play of the game, he threw a fade route to Brian Quick that fell incomplete, ending the game. Clemens is obviously not a great QB, but he will have better days as the defenses get a bit easier. He should have the ability to at least manage the short passing game. He wasnít able to get anything going deep downfield though, and if he canít force opponents to respect the deep part of the field, then the Rams offense is in trouble.
Week 9 - The Rams were left with Clemens as their QB for the remainder of 2013 when Bradford was put on IR. But fortunately for Clemens, he has something Bradford never had when he played. A dominant running game. With Zac Stacy chewing up yards, Clemens could play the part of game manager, and keep the Rams in the ballgame. For the majority of the game, thatís what Clemens did. He kept it short, moved the chains, and handed off to Stacy 27 times. As was mentioned a few weeks ago, Clemens has in the past utilized the running back out of the backfield, and he certainly did so against the Titans, throwing Stacy the ball 6 times. Clemens was at his best on a game-tying drive late in the fourth. After Stacy had put the team on his back with a couple monstrous runs, Clemens anticipated a Jared Cook opening, and threw it between three defenders into the endzone for his only TD of the day. However, Clemens then made his worst mistake of the day on the next drive, one that lost the game for his team. While the Rams were backed up deep in their own territory, Clemens fumbled the ball after getting sacked. The Titans scored the go-ahead TD on the next play. Then Clemens had two chances to try and tie the game, but in obvious passing situations, he struggled greatly. His inability to push the ball deep downfield in this game will likely begin to harm the running game and the overall offense in future weeks. For now, the receiving talent on this offense is being wasted on short underneath running routes, because Clemens lacks the ability to connect consistently on the deep ball.
Week 10 - Clemens only threw 16 passes in this blowout victory. He started out the game under heavy pressure, getting sacked by Mathis twice early on. Clemens seemed to focus on Chris Givens early on, hitting him on crossing routes across the middle of the field. Both routes went for big gains, and the second pass to Givens was a long play that ended at the 2 yard line. Clemens got most of his yards on two plays, long TDís to Tavon Austin. On the first TD, Clemens delivered a very nice deep ball right to Tavon, and Austin went untouched for a TD. The second TD was on a crossing route, and Clemens delivered a strike to Tavon, who then turned upfield and smoked the defense for a long 80+ yard TD. Clemens has been doing an excellent job of managing the game, and thatís what he did in this one. Jeff Fisher is clearly trying to rely on Stacy and his defense to win games. Clemens is doing an excellent job of managing things, not turning the ball over, and not taking chances. That being said, Clemens isnít shying away from making plays. On two occasions, he scrambled out of the pocket and hit open receivers for long gains. Clemens is making intelligent decisions, delivering the ball accurately, and trusting his WRís to make plays.
Week 12 - Kellen Clemens has turned into the quintessential game manager for Jeff Fisherís run-first squad. A week after destroying the Colts, the Rams beat up on the Bears with a punishing run attack, and a passing attack that made big plays when it was needed to. Clemens had a few errant throws in this one, but not many. He missed Kendricks in the endzone on a fade route, but then on the next play a pass interference put the Rams at the 1, and Stacy ran it in. Clemens had one dynamite series in this game, and it came early. After getting 14 quick points on Austinís run and after the Forte fumble, the Rams looked to build on the early momentum. On play-action, Clemens hit Quick for a nice 16 yard gain. Then he connected with Stacy for ten, and then fired a strike to Bailey on 2nd and 19. Clemens and the Rams did a great job of overcoming penalties on this drive, and over the course of the entire game. Finally, Clemens threw a bullet in the middle of the zone to Cook for a TD. A great drive for Clemens, and virtually the only drive in which the passing game played a prominent part. For the rest of the game, the big gains came on play-action, but for the most part Clemens only needed to hand off to Stacy and Cunningham. He also didnít turn the ball over, which warms the heart of Fisher and the coaching staff. The big question for Clemens is how heíll fare as he heads into the tough portion of their schedule. When the Rams need him to pass, will he be able to?
Week 13 - Clemens has done a nice job of putting up points and yardage over the last few weeks. That all came to an end against the 49ers. In this tough and physical game, Clemens only had 67 yards passing deep in the 4th quarter. Clemens was under pressure and was throwing inaccurately. His receivers also were not making plays. Cook dropped 2 balls early that were both poor throws but catchable. Clemens was faced with a 3rd and 18 early and threw a ball to Givens that should have been a conversion, but the ball was thrown woefully short. Clemens threw a deep ball to Tavon and the ball ended up way over his head and right into Eric Reidís hands, who dropped the easy INT. Later on 3rd and 1, the offensive coaches decided to throw it deep instead of run it, and Clemens hit Givens deep downfield, but the ball was dropped. The only success Clemens had in this one was late in the game when the score was 23-6. He led them on a couple drives in garbage time and threw a late jump ball to Brian Quick for a meaningless TD. But overall, Clemens had a pretty awful day, as did the entire offense.
Week 14 - The Arizona Cardinals threw a relentless pass rush at Kellen Clemens, and Clemens failed to respond. He was unable to get anything going all day, getting sacked 4 times, throwing two interceptions and losing a fumble. Clemens actually started the game ok, leading the Rams across midfield before the drive stalled. But after that, they didnít cross midfield again until late in the game, and that came on a Tavon Austin run. Clemens threw behind receivers, was inaccurate, and looked more frazzled as the game progressed. John Abraham sacked him three times, and on one occasion Karlos Dansby absolutely annihilated him on a blindside blitz. Clemens opened the second half up with the critical mistake that really put the game out of reach. He was facing intense pressure, and instead of taking the sack, tried to force the ball toward a receiver in the right flat. Clemens couldnít get anything on the ball, and Dansby broke ahead of him, intercepted the pass and walked into the endzone for an easy td. Overall, it was a miserable day for Clemens and the Rams offense as a whole. The OL didnít block well, and Clemens didnít step up and make any plays at all, with the majority of his yardage coming on the first drive, and in meaningless garbage time at the end of the game.
Week 15 - Clemens against Brees seemed like a recipe for disaster. Yet, it was Clemens who quickly struck when Brees threw a turnover in the shadow of his own endzone. Clemens immediately hit his TE Harkey for a short gain, and Harkey rumbled into the endzone for a 31 yard TD. Then on the next drive, Clemens made a big 3rd down throw to Pettis for a first, and then hit Kendricks on a corner route with a perfectly dropped ball into Kendricks hands for a 4 yard TD. In the second half, the main goal for the Rams was to keep the clock moving, and keep the ball away from Drew Brees. Clemens made some big throws that enabled the Rams to do those things. On third down, Clemens was pressured, rolled out and found Bailey wide open for a big 20 yard gain and a first down. He also hit Kendricks for an 8 yard gain on play-action and then threw a couple first downs on the Ramsí final drive. Clemens does a great job of holding onto the ball and not making mistakes. When the running game is working, the Rams offense works very well. They did a good job of protecting Clemens, and keeping his attempts low.
Week 16 - Now that Jeff Fisher has a solid defense and a running game, heís really molded the Rams into a young version of his old Tennessee Titans squad, minus the QB. The greatest strength of Clemens is his ability to work the short passing game and not turn the ball over. Despite starting 8 games, he only has 5 intís, which has really helped the Rams morph into a solid offense. Against Tampa Bay, the offensive gameplan was clearly to run the ball, whether it worked or not. Clemens only threw the ball 20 times, but amazingly he completed 16 of them, almost all of them short passes. He only had 3 completions of any considerable length. One was a short pass to Cook that Cook made a nice play on. One was a high throw to Givens on the sideline for 21. The throw was actually a bit too high, but Givens made a great play to catch the ball. His longest throw was a deep crossing route to Bailey that went for 28 yards. That pass was a bit behind Bailey, but Bailey made a tremendous play on the ball. Clemens did have a costly fumble inside the ten yard line. This fumble at the time really hurt. But aside from that mistake, he spread the ball around, kept things short and kept the chains moving when he was called upon to make a play. Clemens doesnít have an accurate arm when he unloads it deep, so this current setup puts him in perhaps the best position he could be in, which is a starting job in which he doesnít have to make too many plays.
Week 17 - The combination of the Seahawks defense, the home crowd in Seattle, and the end-of-the-year doldrums did in the St. Louis Rams. Clemens and the Rams couldnít do a thing offensively, as they scored their only TD late in the game when the game was out of reach. The Rams didnít cross midfield until late in the fourth quarter. On one occasion in the 2nd quarter, they started a drive across midfield, but their offensive had less than 100 yards as they entered the fourth quarter. Clemens could do nothing more than check down. Nothing worked downfield. He tried to hit Givens twice downfield, and both times didnít come close to completing the pass. He threw a pick 6 on the opening drive when he faced heavy pressure and threw a hard pass to Kendricks that sailed through Kendricksí hands and into the hands of the waiting defender. Clemens has proven to be a very capable backup, and one that the Rams should re-sign. In a Jeff Fisher offense, he can usually be an effective game manager. His weaknesses are obvious though, and were apparent in this game. He isnít a good deep ball thrower, and he needs a running game to succeed. Seattle took Stacy completely out of the game, and Clemens just doesnít have the weapons around him to make it happen against that defense.