During training camp, I wrote that Anthony Brown’s job may no longer be safe. While versatility had kept him on the roster longer than any of his teammates in the secondary, the arrival of players like Kelvin Joseph and Nashon Wright, as well as veteran Maurice Canady, seemed to bring into doubt Brown’s future with the team.
There were some developments that worked in his favor, of course, with Joseph suffering a hamstring injury that landed him on the short-term IR and Wright needing a bit more seasoning before potentially pressing for Brown’s snaps. Canady has also not translated his amazing camp into real game action.
Week 1 was brutal for Brown, being targeted repeatedly by Tom Brady and Antonio Brown as the Buccaneers pulled out a 31-29 win over Dallas in the season-opener. Despite the hot takes and snap judgments from Cowboys Nation, Cowboys coach Dan Quinn and Executive Vice President Stephen Jones insisted Brown had played well in the loss and having suffered a couple of unfortunate breaks during the course of the game. Given Brown’s history of inconsistency, it sounded like little more than an excuse.
Flash forward to today, however, and the Cowboys are 4-1. Trevon Diggs is the talk of the town with six interceptions in five games but overlooked in everything has been Brown’s play. In the Cowboys 44-20 thrashing of the Giants Sunday afternoon, Brown capped off the game with a pick-six.
It was his second interception of the season and, were it not for a dropped INT against Sam Darnold on 3rd-and-8 the week prior, would have made for three consecutive games with a pick— the best such stretch of his career.
Sure, moments after the dropped INT vs Carolina Brandon Zylstra scorched Brown for a huge gain that kept Carolina’s improbable comeback hopes alive, but overall Brown has played very good football in recent weeks. He had three passes defended against the Panthers and another against New York along with his pick-six. All while seeing some added looks due to Diggs’s sensational play. Unfortunately for Brown, that won’t be changing any time soon.
With Diggs leading the NFL in INTs, quarterbacks are bound to look his way less frequently. When that happens, Brown will be the target of their aggression. Brown is playing serviceable football as of late, some of the best of his career. His reward will be getting tested far more often by opposing offenses as teams look for a way to break down a surprisingly good Cowboys defense.
Is he up to the challenge? It’s hard to say. But at the very least, he looks more capable of doing so than at any other point of his career.