Brandon Browner has played with some awfully good, Super Bowl-winning secondaries, including the Seattle Seahawks' "Legion of Boom" and a New England Patriots unit led by cornerback Darrelle Revis. So he wasn't about to anoint the New Orleans Saints' upstart unit after just one solid week of training camp.
“I think we have the potential, but it’s so far away. It’s training camp. We’ll know midseason,” Browner said. “I hope I have that same confidence in my guys midseason.”
The starting defense allowed only one touchdown during the scrimmage while taking turns facing the first- and second-string offenses. And that scoring drive included a heavy dose of running back Mark Ingram and tight end Benjamin Watson rather than any big throws outside or over the top.
“I think we had a pretty good day,” Browner said. “That was a D-end matched up on Ingram (on the touchdown pass). If I was an offensive guy I’d like that matchup, my Pro Bowl running back against a D-end.”
However, Brees hasn’t had much success beating the Saints’ secondary over the top. Dynamic receiver Brandin Cooks hasn’t really broken out yet -- though he has slipped past the defense with a couple nasty cutbacks. And the starting DBs have rejected a healthy amount of passes while playing a physical, press-coverage style that is a big part of New Orleans’ simplified defensive scheme.
Lewis (6-foot-1, 208 pounds) has played at a high level as the Saints' No. 1 cornerback for the past two years. But opposing quarterbacks picked apart the rotating group of No. 2 and No. 3 cornerbacks around him last season. Browner (6-4, 221) was the first player signed by the Saints in free agency to help instill that more physical style of play.
“First of all, they’re big, long, physical guys that play a tough brand of football," Brees said. "And one of those deals where, man, they get their hands on you and it’s hard to slip by and get separation.
"I think Brandon’s been a great addition, both just the role that he plays, obviously, as the starting corner and his presence that he brings there and from a leadership standpoint. He’s been on the past two Super Bowl teams and knows what it takes.”
Browner, 31, already knew Lewis from when they played together in college at Oregon State. And he actually met Breaux a few years ago through a mutual friend during a Mardis Gras parade in New Orleans, of all places.
Breaux, a New Orleans native, promised Browner he would meet him in the NFL one day -- and sure enough, here they are.
“I’ve got a lot of love for that cat,” Browner said of Breaux, who is attempting to make the same leap from the Canadian Football League to the NFL that Browner himself made in 2011.
Breaux, 25, is also continuing his remarkable comeback from a broken neck suffered in high school. And so far he is looking more and more like someone who will not only crack the 53-man roster but play a significant role on the team.
“I’m still working at it. I can’t say I’m there yet. But just getting up, taking reps every day, it’s getting my confidence built up,” Breaux said. “And I kinda see I’m gonna be ready for this.”
Breaux (6-1, 196) showed off his own physical press-coverage ability during the scrimmage with an impressive rejection against big receiver Kyle Prater with the third-stringers. Among other highlights (and lowlights), Breaux should have had an interception Thursday in a two-minute drill, while breaking up a pass.
“I want to get it all, I want to do everything perfect. But I know it’s not gonna be perfect,” Breaux said. “I just wake up every day with a smile on my face saying, ‘I’m ready to work.’”