Second-year DE Everette Brown ready to take on bigger role in Panthers defense
Written by Steve Reed
Monday, 05 April 2010 11:23
The Panthers don't have a first-round pick this year because they traded for Everette Brown. (Photo by John Clark)
CHARLOTTE – Everette Brown is frequently reminded the Carolina Panthers don’t have a first-round pick in this year’s NFL draft.
And he knows why. A year ago, the Panthers traded away the rights to that pick to San Francisco to acquire Brown with the 43rd overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. And now, with the Panthers franchise at a crossroads and defensive Julius Peppers having bolted for big money in Chicago, Brown senses fans, coaches and teammates are expecting big things from him entering his second NFL season.
Pressure? You bet.
But nothing the former Florida State star says he can’t handle.
“In trading away the first round pick to obtain me, the expectation level for me is high – and that’s great,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t want it any other way. But nobody’s expectation level is higher than my own. So I’m working hard and working out and getting ready for the season. It will take more than one person to replace Julius. But if we come together as group on the defensive line then we’ll be successful.”
Brown played in 15 games last season, mostly in a reserve role behind Peppers and Tyler Brayton and finished with 22 tackles and 2.5 sacks. But this year he’ll be taking on a much bigger role with Peppers gone. He's likely to open the season at right defensive end opposite Brayton or Charles Johnson.
Brown’s strength is his pass-rush ability, but he’s been trying to improve his technique against the run. He’s added more muscle this off-season to his frame, although his weight remains around 260 pounds.
“I’m really focusing on my strength and speed and being more powerful coming out of my stance, more controlled movements on the field,” Brown said. “With one year behind me things are starting to slow down and now I’m paying more attention to detail which will make me a better player.”
That has meant a lot of time in the film room.
He’s studied his play from last season at length and realizes there’s a ton of room for improvement.
“Sometimes I look at (last year’s games) and I’m like, ‘What was I thinking?’” Brown said. “It’s funny I can see I was doing things that were out of my character. I might not have recognized a draw play quick enough or I would take the wrong ankle to the ball of come out of my stance late. It’s just things that are unacceptable for a guy in my position.
“My takeoff, my explosion out of my stance, that’s my game. If my takeoff is good I can beat the other guy a high percentage of the time. So I will look at some plays and I’m like, ‘What was I thinking on that play to get such a late takeoff on the ball.’ Those little things, the attention to detail will make my game that much quicker.”
With so much turnover on the defensive line, Brown knows the 2010 Panthers will need new leaders to emerge and he plans on being one of them.
“I want to be a leader,” Brown said. “I always consider myself a guy who takes on that leadership role, whether it is off the field or on the field. I tried to pay attention to how those guys carried themselves. But I do see myself taking on a leadership role. We have a lot of great guys on this team and a lot of guys will need to step up for us to win. But one guy’s leadership can be contagious and get everybody going.”