After a decent start to the season, Clark has slowed down considerably.
His statistics were not impressive, but although we never should have expected that due to his assignments when he’s in the game, it still is bad when a guy is getting a decent number of snaps yet ends up with less tackles than games played over a month of contests (3 tackles total the past four games.
The advanced statistics aren’t kind to him either. Pro Football Focus rated him as slightly below average through four games, but he’s since taken a precipitous drop to just being bad. His run defense — the biggest plus in his game — has levelled off to be below average in their grading system, and his pass rushing is below replacement-level.
Part of the drop-off could seem to come due to other players returning (thus taking his usual snaps), but that isn’t exactly the case.
Through eight weeks, he’s behind only Mike Daniels in total snaps on the defensive line. He did have a couple 30+ snap games early on, but his average between games 1-4 (107 total; ~27 per game) and 5-8 (87; ~22) is basically negligible. Mike Pennel’s return from a 4-game suspension is part of that drop in Clark’s snaps, but with Pennel playing better than him against both the run and pass Green Bay is likely better served with lining Pennel up out there right now.
I wouldn’t worry too much about Clark though. He’s a rookie at a stacked position, surrounded by veteran guys more ready to contribute immediately. Green Bay’s not going to give up on him, and long-term he could still prove to be a nice option in the coming years.
Don’t be surprised if he drops off some more of his snaps in the meantime, though; with the team struggling to win right now, they may be leery of sticking with Clark in lieu of putting more experienced guys out there to try busting out of their 1-3 slump. He’ll still see some time, but it may be in the 10-15 snap range rather than his current 20+ output.