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Jeromey Clary Adjusting Well to New Position
When the offense took the field Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks, it was a familiar sight to see Jeromey Clary running out there with the starters.
What was quite different, however, was seeing number 66 lined up inside at right guard instead of at right tackle. The eight-year vet started 14 games in 2012, and 46 of the past 48, at right tackle, but with the addition of first-round draft choice D.J. Fluker, the decision was to move Clary inside to guard. While the 6-foot-6, 320-pounder out of Kansas State admits initially he was flustered on draft night when he saw the team select Fluker, but head coach Mike McCoy reached out to him immediately to let him know he was still heavily involved in his plans moving forward.
“It was great to hear from (McCoy) right away and it meant a lot,” he said. “Obviously when you see someone drafted in the first round in your spot it can be a little discouraging so obviously I was a little worried, but he called me and told me he still wanted me here and just wanted me to move inside. So I jumped on the opportunity. I told him I want to play football and I want to play football with these guys. I’m grateful they gave me the opportunity to move me inside. It definitely eased my nerves for sure.”
McCoy remembers the phone call he had with Clary as well, stating that from day one his new right guard was all in on the decision to move him inside.
“The night of the draft after we drafted D.J. I called him and said, ‘Hey listen. This is nothing against you,’” said McCoy. “’We’re taking players that are going to help this football team win. Here’s our plan. Here’s what we’re going to start out with.’ And he said, ‘Great. I just want to play. I want to be part of the front five and I’ll do whatever I can to help the football team.’ And he’s had a great approach to the game. That’s what we love about him.”
So how does Clary feel he did during his first real test in the preseason opener against the Seahawks?
“It was good and a lot of fun,” he said with a smile. “I had some new plays in there and it was a good, comfortable first outing. But it’s just the preseason. It’s something to build off of and hopefully next week I’m one step better.”
According to Clary, the guard position is quite different against both the run and the pass. He has new assignments, a more confined space to work in and a new set of responsibilities.
“There’s less space and guys are coming from different directions,” he said. “At tackle you have a guy on the outside and he can go inside and then there’s no one else coming out there. But at guard you have one guy coming from the outside but also there is someone inside and they both could be coming in. So I need to work on better vision and being able to feel what’s happening. The linebackers are closer to you and you’re playing against big nose guards like (Vince) Wilfork so it will take some time until I become fully comfortable. But I’m getting there. It will come with game reps.”
Clary’s next opportunity to get those reps comes Thursday in a nationally televised game against the Bears in Chicago.