New Orleans Saints cornerback Brandon Browner has been sidelined with a leg injury since Thursday's preseason opener, but he's not expected to be out for long. The Saints' top free-agent signing spoke recently with ESPN about the commanding presence he brings both on and off the field.
The Saints identified you as one of the best physical press corners in the league. Why are you so good at it, and why is it so important?
Brandon Browner: It’s important because it’s what suits my game and my abilities. I’m a big guy. Disrupting the timing between the quarterback and the receiver is what’s most important. You don’t want to give him a free release. You want to make him feel uncomfortable at the start of the snap. … It’s what I’ve been doing since college -- playing man-to-man. A lot of coaches have been smart in using my size to my advantage [and] putting me in press coverage.
Art is probably not the best word, given that it’s such a physical brand of football. But is there an art to press coverage?
Browner: There is an art to it, man. Being a technician, knowing the little ins and outs. The little things that go on at the top of the route, at the line of scrimmage, there is an art to it. But I’ve been blessed with being long, and with experience comes knowledge, so it’s been fun.
Which receiver are you most looking forward to facing and why?
Browner: Julio Jones, for the simple fact that I think he’s one of the best. I think we have the Giants on our schedule too, and I’m looking forward to Odell Beckham just because he’s a special talent. So I look forward to those two matches.
The Saints were probably looking at that Julio matchup too, when they brought you here. How many times have you faced him?
Browner: I’d say twice. We’re the exact same size, height and weight, and he just works hard every play. Run plays, he treats them just like he’s getting the ball. So I look forward to that matchup.
Your past two teams were Super Bowl champions. What common threads did you see between the two clubs? Do the Saints have any of those same qualities?
Browner: Two hard-working teams with great coaches, great players, guys who love to compete. Similar things that I see here with this unit, great coaching staff and guys who love to compete as well. ... Coaches who love to coach, players who love to play the football game, a defense that fits our skill set. We’ll do a lot of man-to-man and cover 3s, pretty similar to what I did in Seattle and New England, so it fits my skill set pretty well.
There was a lot of talk about needing to improve the leadership, character and locker room culture with this team. How much of that is your responsibility?
Browner: Yeah, I see that because we’ve got a lot of talent here, just some young guys, on this team. So I’ll play my role accordingly. … I’m not a young guy, I’ve played on good football teams, and I’m not scared of a leadership role.
Has that always been part of your makeup, or is it something you’ve developed over time?
Browner: I’ve always been the old guy of the group in all the situations, whether it was Seattle or New England, so I just fall in place.
A lot of guys say they like to blend in or lead by example, especially with a new team. Is that what you’ll do?
Browner: Well, I’ve been around the block. I’ve been fortunate to win two of them. It has worked so far, so why change something that ain’t broke?