WR Vincent Brown shows growth, durability

SAN DIEGO -- Drafted in the third round of the 2011 draft as a development prospect, hometown product Vincent Brown has shown steady growth and durability in his third NFL season.

The San Diego State product missed all of the 2012 season after suffering a broken ankle in the preseason. And Brown dealt with a nagging hamstring his rookie year that limited his availability.

But Brown has persevered in 2013, learning how to play through the bumps and bruises in the marathon that is an NFL season.

After season-ending injuries to fellow receivers Malcom Floyd (neck) and Danario Alexander (knee), Brown was viewed as the main beneficiary with an increased workload. Although Brown has started every game this season, rookie Keenan Allen has been the more frequent target of Philip Rivers’ passes.

Even with the limited touches, Brown hasn’t complained. And he’s been a willing blocker in the run game.

“When he’s gotten his number called when it’s came up in the progression, he’s answered,” Rivers said. “And he’s done that all year long. He probably hasn’t had as many catches as he anticipated, or even I anticipated. But I think he’s been consistent, and he’s been out there for us every week. This will be his 16th consecutive game, and I think he’s had a solid year.”

Brown has seen the ball come his way more lately. He’s been targeted 14 times over the past four games and has nine receptions for 138 yards in that time. For the season, Brown has 41 catches for 472 yards with a touchdown and just one drop.

“Whenever you can make plays and help out your team, of course that builds your confidence,” Brown said. “Everybody wants to be involved, try and make plays and help this team win.”

Most importantly, Brown is on pace to play a full, 16-game season for the first time.

“It means a lot, especially with the unfortunate things that did happen early in my career,” Brown said. “Missing the whole year last year with my ankle, and the first year with my hamstring, it’s been fun to just be out there and not have to worry about any big-time injuries.”

“It’s critical for any player,” added San Diego coach Mike McCoy, when asked about Brown’s durability. “It’s a physical game out there. Everyone tries to stay as healthy as possible, and fight through some nicks and bruises. And that’s what we’ve done all year long.”