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'Hyper-competitive' Tony Brown becoming a fixture in Packers' secondary

-- Few players have stood out in this year's training camp slate more than Tony Brown.

The Green Bay Packers' cornerback has attracted attention in more ways than one, whether it's the resounding leap he's made on the field from year one to year two or how he prepares himself, he's becoming a fixture in the team's secondary.

That fiery, competitive drive on the opposite side of the field -- from the perspective of quarterback Aaron Rodgers -- is turning heads and only leaves his advocates wondering how he possibly ended up undrafted out of Alabama last year.

"He's loud. I love Tony," Rodgers said after Tuesday's practice, according to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic. It was the Packers' final public practice before their trip to Baltimore for Thursday's exhibition meeting. "If there's ever a time when you're like, 'Argh, need a little inspiration,' during the day, just look over at Tony because he's probably doing something -- dancing, singing, rapping, listening to something, mixing it up with somebody.

"He's just got a great personality and brings a great energy to our team."

Initially signed by the Los Angeles Chargers before being waived at the start of the regular season, Brown, along with his blazing 4.35 40-yard dash, was picked up by general manager Brian Gutekunst no more than two days after being waived.

He didn't see the Packers' active roster until the end of September, but he wound up playing in 11 games through the duration of his rookie season and registering three starts along the way. He helped revitalized defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's secondary with a speedy, ballhawk of a component whose talents are still very much in a developmental stage.

Even so, he's been running with the Packers first-team defense at various points throughout training camp and has even caught Rodgers' attention with his rambunctious, competitive demeanor.

"You don't really have to get him wound up too much because when we're out there, he's hyper-competitive, and he's played really well," Rodgers said. "I give Tony a lot of credit. I think he's continued to improve his entire time being here."

For as good as Brown has been this summer, it's his preparation that has Rodgers over the moon about the young cornerback. It's the things Brown immerses himself in behind closed doors that could help him take his own game to the next level -- something he's already shown he's committed to doing.

"What a lot of people don't see, and I'm gonna brag on Tony here for a little bit, is when I'm leaving here some nights, Tony's still working out. He's still doing something back in the weight room or he's watching something. He's always working.

"This guy is in here early and he leaves late, legitimately. Not like hyperbole of what it means to be a certain type of player in this league. Like, I can vouch that Tony is usually probably the first one in here and one of the last to leave."

Brown has a golden opportunity ahead of him on the Packers' depth chart. Kevin King has typically been placed ahead of Brown as far as starters go, but with King still nursing a hamstring injury that has kept him from practicing for a good while, Brown may be able to cement his spot in Pettine's secondary with his consistent play in camp and in the preseason.


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (41) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Coldworld's picture

I think he has cemented his place irrespective of King.

Ryan B Dub's picture

You can’t have to many talented corners. Looking forward to some meaningful games. I just hope if we are behind in areas like tackling our opponents are even farther behind. On paper Gute seems to really be packing talent across the board. It’ll be up to the coaches to see if this team can shape up and win enough games to make a good play-off run. Who doesn’t want to see a Packers Super Bowl victory this year? It’s not likely, but it has a nice ring to it.

EdsLaces's picture

Pairing him with 23 is gonna be so sick ..

Lare's picture

Brown is everything that Kevin King is not- consistent, healthy, hard working, etc.

Some people play football, some find an excuse not to.

ThxJackVainisi's picture

Why do you believe King isn't hard working?

dblbogey's picture

Lare is just having his time of the month.

Rak47's picture

Who knows? Peoples personal beliefs don't always mesh with reality though.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

I agree with Lare...King will be cut at some point during or the end of year. This his last opportunity.

ThxJackVainisi's picture

I love it when youngsters act as if they have a huge opportunity in front of them, because of course they do. (Actually I only love it when they're Packers)
I have a question for draftnics that was brought up in the article: Why wasn't Brown drafted? He's 6' (or close to it) and runs 4.35. And he played at 'Bama. I checked a couple of sites that listed potential draftees in that draft in order and he was well within 'draftable' range. Were there character or injury concerns? It doesnt make sense at such a key position unless there were those concerns.

Rak47's picture

Mainly because of game stats. He played with a lot of talented players at Alabama most of which were all 4 and 5 star recruits. So the numbers weren't high as there are only so many game stats to be spread around. He played well but like Rashan Gary didn't have the big numbers although as a Five star recruit he was the number 2 High School CB in the Nation coming out of Beumont Texas. So the talent has always been there. He also was state champion in 110 meter hurdles and won a Silver medal at the 2013 Pan Am Junior games in the 110 Hurdles. His 7.76 time in the 60 meter hurdles was the fastest time in the Nation in 2013.

ThxJackVainisi's picture

Thanks for that, Rak47. I remember reading he was state hurdles champ but didn't know the rest. It's to Gutekunst's credit how quickly he's improved the speed & athleticism of the roster. Brown is just one example of that.

Bure9620's picture

I mocked him 6th round, size and inconsistency in college was his knock.

Rak47's picture

He's 6'0 205. How is his size a problem? In reality he has Ideal size for a CB. Maybe the inconsistencies were there but size has never ever been an issue with Brown.

stockholder's picture

Brown had an off field issue. That dropped his draft status. He's going to be in the NFL a long time. I believed he could have made a good safety too.

Holecrap's picture

So he is fast, vocal, all over the place but got cut early by another team. Knowing nothing else, let me guess, 5'9 190 and can't tackle? It's got to be something that the previous team saw lacking.

dblbogey's picture

Sometimes players get better, and better.

Rak47's picture

Wrong! Try 6'0 205. And he actually tackles very well.

murf7777's picture

Someone’s trash is another’s possession. Happens quite often in the NFL. Someone misjudged his talent and or potential.

shystr's picture

I seem to remember a guy named something like Favray, who was drafted by Atlanta, but never got on the field there.

Sometimes a kick in the pants from being cut, a change of venue, a change of coaching staff, a fresh start can mean everything to a young player.

MITM's picture

Brown, Vitale and Lazard are 3 guys the Packers were very fortunate to pickup off waivers. I have NO idea how Brown went undrafted, and the only reason I can think of for the Chargers to not keep him is they are fairly deep and talented at corner - but still made a mistake letting him go.

If you look at Brown and King, there is one obvious difference. Brown looks like he was carved out of granite and King is skin and bones. Part of the reason King is ALWAYS hurt has to be because hes built like Snoop Dogg. The best ability is availability in this league.

dblbogey's picture

I'll upvote for the Snoop Dogg reference.

Johnblood27's picture

second that, Nephew...

mamasboy's picture

This is like payback for the chargers getting our talented d back ( can't remember his name ). We have a potentially very good player in Brown.

Rak47's picture

Casey Hayward is who you're trying to recall.

PatrickGB's picture

Agree, I have felt that Kings frame might not hold up to the wear and tear of NFL football. It’s not a knock on King because I think that he is a great CB. Perhaps some time spent on working on his body would benefit him. And not just bulking up either. He needs to have flexibility too with that frame in order to prevent pulls and tears. Brown has a lot of potential with his speed and attitude. I see Brown getting more reps with King stuck in the training room. Perhaps King will be able to get some games in and contribute to a few wins but Brown looks to be the more available player right now.

greengold's picture

Damn. King played through pain after injuring his shoulder his freshman year, the torn labrum. Played all 4 years with it. He is tougher than many realize or give him credit for.

He had significant surgery on that before the draft, tore the opposite labrum as a rookie, then groin and hamstring injuries killed his year two. I get that people think he's glass, and understand there is a lot they don't know about him.

I honestly think King will play a full season for us, and fans will finally see what made him Ted's first pick in 2017. He has worked really hard to prove himself this year, and I believe his being held out is pure precautionary. The guy can really play. Just don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

greengold's picture

Totally realize why people hate on him, but I think all of that is very short sighted, and they just don't know the whole story. Add to it, these are prime athletes that, yes, do suffer injury from time to time. He just ran into a buzz saw of them to start his career here. Let the guy show before completely discounting him.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I don't get this narrative that Brown is so good. I watched him a bit on Family Night and Preseason Week 1 and he got beat quite a bit. I go to a lot of the practices and he's constantly getting beat, and not just by top WR's, but bottom WR's and occasionally even TE's. Yeah, he talks a lot of trash and maybe he works hard, but does that make him good? Notice, nothing in this article actually explains why Brown is good. We're just supposed to take that for granted.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I don't get this narrative that Brown is so good. I watched him a bit on Family Night and Preseason Week 1 and he got beat quite a bit. I go to a lot of the practices and he's constantly getting beat, and not just by top WR's, but bottom WR's and occasionally even TE's. Yeah, he talks a lot of trash and maybe he works hard, but does that make him good? Notice, nothing in this article actually explains why Brown is good. We're just supposed to take that for granted.

Rak47's picture

I guess you feel the same about Jaire Alexander considering I've seen him get beat in practice quite a bit also. Every CB in the league gets beat in practice and in games. Brown basically shut Deandre Hopkins down in practice and in the game. So I guess that was just luck as far you're concerned?

porupack's picture

I agree, that the article doesn't back up how good TBrown is.
However, every CB gets beat a lot. WRs catch a lot of passes every game against starting CBs.
The advantage is that WR and QB have the planned route, and CBs have to anticipate. Advantage-offense.
Its a matter of how much the CB can narrow their gap of coverage, and percentage how often. Eventually, if CB sticks close enough to the WR, they are going to get INT or cause QB to overthrow. Then, eventually, QB throws elsewhere, and or gets sacked. So its not about getting "beat quite a bit", but by how much, how often, and in between getting beat, can you get picks, and alter the QB's plan.
Hopefully you or CHTV can give us more objective CB metrics as preseason goes along relative to other CBs.

Pierre's picture

Good cornerbacks are hard to find as are offensive tackles. Heard the Jets are looking for CB’s and perhaps there are other teams looking. Maybe King could go to a team with a dire need for a CB and in return GB can get a veteran ILB.

Rick F's picture

The ability to to be consistent is a credit to him. He is making the most out of his opportunity. Pettines has taken and put confidence and faith in his players and you can see it. The difference isn’t a measurable it is playing your part. Players will get beat on occasion that happens. They still have things to figure out, but the improvement is going to make Green Bay is nightmare.

PAPackerbacker's picture

Sounds like Tony Brown wants to make the 53 man roster and is doing his best to show what he can do. He has great speed and the heart and desire to go along with it. Not to mention dedication by showing up early and leaving late. Wow, what's not to like about this young man? His hard work ethics and dedication just may get him on the 53 man roster. I wish him nothing but the best.

Handsback's picture

Brown was a draftable player, the issue I heard was of attitude and off-the-field issues. Never bothered to investigate and if he continues to get better....who cares as long as he keeps his nose clean, figuratively speaking of course.

Bryan Chisholm's picture

Another one of those players I was watching before he was drafted. He honestly showed some potential in college, to go with his position and Alma mater.. I was lost when he went undrafted as well. I remember reading that the Chargers got him (same thing with Desmond King the year before) and thought "yeah they're gonna be loaded at DB" .. was blown away to see we picked up Brown. Didn't even know he was cut from LA lol.. and now seeing that he's holding his own against D Hop and he's not even our #1 CB is just amazing to see.

A Pickled Packer's picture

The fact that Brown specializes in press coverage has me thinking of Darrel Revis when he played for Pettine. His forte was in press coverage as well. Hey one can dream, right? Don't see Kevin King pressing anything but his pants at this point and I'm now on the Tony Brown bandwagon.

murf7777's picture

If T. Brown=young T. Williams then I’m a happy man. I’m hoping the young T. Brown continues his ascension. Very good DB’s don’t grow on trees!

greengold's picture

I am pretty stoked about Tony Brown and his growth year 1- year 2 in Pettine's system. I think he's going to be a very special player in GB before all is said and done.

I can add, my wife and I flew back from NY a couple of months ago with he and his daughter next to us. That is one stand up guy, and a great father. Tony is a very cool guy, and I hope he realizes his dreams of winning it all this season. The guy's got talent, and the drive.

IceBowl's picture

Nothing like "want to."

bgetz1's picture

Any thoughts Kevin King's heart maybe in the West Coast, more so than Green Bay? No doubt He loves football and is highly talented, but perhaps his full potential is meant to blossom in a different city, such as Seattle. Can a trade happen?

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