Patriots

Patriots

FOXBORO -- Tarell Brown put on a one-man show late in Monday's Patriots practice. On two consecutive pass plays, one attempt by Jimmy Garoppolo and one by Tom Brady, Brown was able to focus well enough to snag interceptions on throws that were deflected.

After nearly two hours of work in 90-degree heat while wearing full pads, it was an impressive display of concentration and soft hands.

The first pick came after a high Garoppolo throw intended for Danny Amendola appeared to bounce off of Amendola's hands. Brown was in the right place at the right time and snatched the pass before it hit the ground.

The second interception came when safety Duron Harmon got into Brady's passing lane and tipped the ball to Brown, who once again was well-positioned.

Both plays seemed to come during a situational gotta-have-it period, where the quarterbacks forced throws into tight spaces. Brown, giving a nod to the heat and the difficult workload of the day, admitted he couldn't quite recall what exactly happened during his interception of Brady.

"It's so hot out here, man, I can't really remember," he said. "We're working on situational football. It's just a play we've been practicing on and the offense has been practicing on it as well. Just out here trying to do the best we can as far as learning to the situations, adapting to the situations and being able to be ready when a situation comes about."

For Brown, that hasn't been all that easy. Coming into a new system when he signed with the Patriots in late July, just before the start of camp, he has had to work quickly to pick up the nuances of the team's defense.

 

He said that lately he feels as though his grip on the playbook is a little more firm.

"A lot more studying, getting with my coach," he said. "A lot more interacting with my teammates, making sure I'm getting the right calls in the film room as well. I try to blurt out things just so I know I'm doing it consistently so I know when I get on the field I'll do the same thing. It's coming along. It's coming real well."

Brown, like many players in the Patriots secondary, has had to get accustomed to playing in a variety of spots. On Monday, he was seen playing corner on the outside, but he also got some work in the slot.

Playing inside, he said, is not something he has done much of during his seven-year career in San Francisco (six years) and Oakland (one), but he's been open to the change.

"In Oakland and San Francisco I played primarily on the outside," he said. "We're all out here to do a job and whatever they ask me to do, I'm out here to do. Have to learn it, have to come out here compete at it and be the best I can be every day."

It's a different position, Brown pointed out, but many of the skills required to play in the slot -- a spot that has been manned primarily by newly-acquired free agent Robert McClain this summer -- are similar to the ones used on the outside.

"Just the routes. I think it's a lot more option routes, choice routes on the inside," Brown said. "You're dealing with a lot more smaller, quicker guys. You gotta get your hands on them a lot faster. Besides that it's pretty much the same. You just gotta cover your man."

Brown dealt with a season-ending foot injury last year that landed him on the Raiders injured reserve list. He waited to sign with a team as a free agent until he felt he was fully healthy to give himself a chance to make a strong immediate impression. He said that injury is behind him, but he was seen leaving Saturday's practice early. When asked about that departure, Brown explained that it was simply a precautionary move by the trainers that was not due to the extreme heat experienced that day.

It was just a blip on the radar screen for a player who is working to get both his body and his mind right so that he can contribute to his new club.

He was held out of Thursday's first preseason game -- "That's coach's call," he said -- but on Monday, he appeared to be thriving in both areas with two interceptions.

"It's cool. As a professional you have to be able to adjust," he said. "I understand that. Just like ya'll's job. You have to adjust to different situations and things like that. For me, I'm always willing to adjust, I'm always willing to work. As long as you put your head down and just get to work, everything else will take care of itself."