|03-31-2005, 04:01 AM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Mar 2004
Brown Officially a Bronco
Brown-Out: Former No. 1 Pick Signs With Broncos
By Andrew Mason
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Just hours after trading for a pair of Cleveland Browns defensive linemen, the Broncos finalized a contract with defensive end Courtney Brown, bringing the top pick in the 2000 NFL Draft to the Broncos and further fortifying the defensive front.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the addition of Brown brings a third former No. 1 draft pick to the defensive line in the past four weeks. Denver acquired 2001 No. 3 overall pick Gerard Warren from the Browns on March 3 and procured 1998 No. 20 overall selection Ebenezer Ekuban earlier on Wednesday afternoon. The team also picked up defensive tackle Michael Myers in the same trade.
Brown comes off of a season in which he injured his left foot in Week 2 and missed the rest of the season. He has 17 sacks over the five years in his career, along with 220 tackles (154 solo), 21 pass breakups, six forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
"I think this will be a tremendous fresh start for Courtney," said defensive front coach Andre Patterson, who coached Brown in 2003 and again in 2004. "The Broncos organization sees Courtney Brown for who he is, and has a great appreciation for how well he plays the run and what style of pass rusher he is, and I think that's a great thing for Courtney."
Brown including a career-best six in 2003, the only full season of his career in which he played under the tutelage of current Broncos defensive front coach Andre Patterson. Brown also established career-highs in forced fumbles and quarterback pressures that year.
"I really thought if he hadn't gotten hurt last year, he would have just gone through the roof," Patterson said. "A year ago at this time, I was expecting huge things from Courtney. He'd played 13 games (in 2003) and had six sacks and had a tremendous year before he tore his biceps muscle."
Brown established a career high in tackles during his rookie season, when he started all 16 games and notched 4.5 sacks.
"When you look at his rookie year, he played 16 games, he played well for them, but everybody thought he didn't have that good of a year," Patterson said. "But if you go back and you watch how he played, he played great. The hard part for a defensive lineman is everybody evaluates you off of sacks. So you could have 70 tackles, be great against the run and have a bunch of pressures, but everybody puts your defensive lineman's value in sacks. That's the only reason why they perceived that his rookie year wasn't a good year."
When Patterson got the chance to coach Brown in 2003, he emphasized the need for Brown to play to his strengths, and the result was perhaps his strongest season.
"I think (Brown) can be one of the best. But that's a process you have to go through," Patterson said. "I always use the example of Michael Strahan. When he first came into this league, people doubted him because everybody expected Mike to be a speed rusher. That's what Mike expected himself to be. But Michael found out through the course of his career that for him to be successful in rushing the quarterback, he had to be a physical pass rusher -- physically moving offensive linemen, going through them, not going around them. That's what Reggie White did (as well).
"Once Strahan figured that out for himself and worked on those types of things as a pass rusher, his numbers went through the roof. That's what I did for Courtney his first year. I told him to stop trying to be what the media is telling you that you should be as far as a speed rusher. Be who you are, and his numbers came way up."
Only an early-season foot injury last autumn kept Brown from building off of 2003.
"I thought last year was going to be a huge year for him, because he started to understand who Courtney was," Patterson said. "The guy we're getting knows who he is. That's exciting. The Denver Broncos respect him for who he is as a player. They respect how well he plays the run. They respect the effort and how he sells his body out. So he doesn't have to try to be anything other than Courtney, and I think that's going to be the most impressive thing for Courtney."