New Orleans Saints: What’s the deal with Brandon Browner?
By John Hendrix
It’s evident when you struggle in the NFL. When losing becomes the norm, the worst tends to come out in you. Brandon Browner has honestly failed to find anything that resembles a groove with Rob Ryan’s defense this season, and it may have reached a boiling point after yesterday’s loss. According to Times-Picayune columnist Jeff Duncan, Browner refused post game interviews and jawed with a local reporter in the locker room.
It’s okay to be frustrated. That’s a good sign. It shows that you generally care about what’s going on. No one likes to be singled out, especially when the tale of the tape shows nothing but opportunity. However, a prized free agent like Browner, who signed a 3-year, $15 million contract this offseason to play for the New Orleans Saints, arguably isn’t currently bringing in a return on his investment.
Brandon Browner is currently the league’s worst cornerback, as per Pro Football Focus. His grade of -14.1 on 329 snaps isn’t hard to notice. He currently leads all cornerbacks in penalties, which is actually the norm for the Saints defense right now. Rob Ryan’s crew leads the NFL in defensive penalties, and it shows. It doesn’t stop there for Browner, who is also at the bottom of the league tied for missed tackles with 8.
Tale of the Browner – Cornerback Ranks
Overall Grade (-14.1) – 107th
Penalties (9) – 107th
Penalty Grade (-2.4) – 107th
Missed Tackles (8) – T-106th
Longest Catch (67) – T-105th
Percentage Caught (61.5%) – 48th
QB Rating Against (89.4) – 50th
It appears that the New Orleans Saints have made their bed by shelling out money for yet another potential free agent bust. By making Brandon Browner a defensive captain this season, it shows his value is there from a leadership and teaching perspective. I firmly believe that there are traits that he brings to the team, but just can’t seem to have them show up. Whether that blame ultimately falls on coaching, scheme, or the player is hard to say.
Last week, NFL.com went as far as saying that Browner was one of the top five disappointments through the first quarter of the football season. Gregg Rosenthal pointed out that Bill Belichick knew how to cover up his weaknesses in New England.
What everyone expected out of Brandon Browner this season was this:
"Brandon Browner isn’t going to be that quick, shifty defensive back who can keep up the with the league’s speedier receivers — many teams tend to drool over those type of players. No, he’s more of a guy who will size you up. Browner is meant to cover the Calvin Johnsons and the Jimmy Grahams of the NFL, not the Antonio Browns and the T.Y. Hiltons.Browner’s presence will be crucial all season long. His physicality, which continues to get praise from coaches and players, along with his size, motor, championship experience, and veteran leadership are exactly what this Saints team was lacking a year ago on the defensive side of the ball."
While it’s still relatively early in the season, it appears that the Browner-Saints marriage is off to a shaky start, and could be headed for a very bitter divorce when it’s all said and done. However, I firmly believe that getting a healthy Keenan Lewis back into the mix will honestly put Brandon Browner back into the role he was supposed to be in all along. The question will then be if it’s all too late when that actually happens.