NEPD Editor: Oliver Thomas
Even when the New England Patriots were in shorts and shells during the first two days of training camp, Brandon Browner was playing full-contact on his opponents.
Whether it was his strong press of the snap, or his disheveling of receivers down the field, the 29-year-old cornerback never turned off the switch. When the pads were on for the first time Saturday, it was clear that he doesn’t plan to.
Browner wants to make his presence felt early on in camp. He’s eager for the opportunity to make a play.
“I’ve just been itching to get out here period,” said Browner after the team’s third training camp practice behind Gillette Stadium. “Pads or no pads, I’m itching to get my hands on the ball, really.”
At 6’4” and 221 pounds, Browner has been known to bring a physical game to the table. That’s been his method of operation ever since he was in the Canadian Football League, even when the challenges differed.
“In the CFL, you’ve got to cover a guy with a 10-yard head start. You still got to press this guy. There’s challenges up there and there’s challenges here.”
Those challenges haven’t been too big for Browner. He made adjustments and became a three-time CFL all-star for the Calgary Stampeders before returning to the NFL. He then proceeded to register 39 pass deflections and 10 interceptions over 36 games in three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in 2011.
Browner’s style of play has constricted receivers at the line of scrimmage and beyond. And while there is a five-yard bubble for contact in place – something he’s been penalized for in the past – he doesn’t intend on doing anything different moving forward, even if the league is placing an emphasis on defensive holding, illegal contact and pass interference in 2014.
“I’m not going to change my game. I’m not going to let it bother me,” Browner added. “I’m going to force them to make the call. I’m going to try to stay aggressive. That’s what got me here.”
Browner got to Foxborough this offseason with a four-game suspension looming. He doesn’t know how he’ll be utilized in New England’s secondary, but he knows that training camp is the next step in his progression.
That’s been his outlook ever since he signed on with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted rookie out of Oregon State in 2005.
“I try to get more out of every training camp, every practice,” said Browner. “You try to better yourself, be the best player you can be. I’m going to let the chips fall where they may.”