Believe it or not, people still love to listen to vinyl records. It’s vintage. Be that as it may, how a sapphire diamond tip of a needle rubbing along the grooves of a vinyl record somehow projects wonderful music is rather mystifying. Okay actually, it’s not mysterious, it’s science, but that was always something that puzzled me growing up.
It’s sorta like, why is Noah Brown still on the Dallas Cowboys roster? Can you explain it? Each year, we ask ourselves this same question, but each year we come up with very little to stand on. Yeah, we know the coaches all love him and he does this, that, and the other, but is that really enough to warrant taking up a roster spot?
This year the Cowboys have a lot of questions at the wide receiver position, especially early in the season, so it becomes really important to load up with as much talent as they can. When the team is rounding out their receiving group, do they really want to hang on to a meh player like Brown when they could keep the leaping T.J. Vasher? Or wouldn’t it make more sense to pass on Brown this year to have the speedster KaVontae Turpin in their back pocket?
These are the questions we will once again be asking ourselves as some try to will Brown off the roster in lieu of a new flavor of receiver with a specific skill set. Yet ultimately, when the dust settles, Noah Brown will still be here and those other guys will not. Why? Can anyone tell us why?
The easy answer to this is that Brown offers the team insurance and that insurance comes in many forms. The biggest element of Brown’s game is his precision. He has just enough physical ability combined with excellent mental processing to be exactly where he needs to be and execute his assignment. This is the reason why he possesses so much versatility on this Cowboys football team.
While he’s not thought of for his contributions in the receiving game, Brown is a solid pass catcher. His footwork is good and he sneaks into the soft spots in zone coverage. He gets to his spots quickly and he has reliable hands. Those are key qualities and it’s why Dak Prescott feels that he can trust him. Players like CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and now Jalen Tolbert will make the splashy plays, but the team needs a player like Brown to do the dirty work. And that’s what he does.
Brown is a gritty player who will sacrifice his body as a blocker. In fact, he’s the team’s top blocking wide receiver. It’s easy to overlook this aspect of his game as he quietly played in 25% of the offensive snaps last season. That’s a lot of playing time on a team that had Amari Cooper, Lamb, Gallup, Cedrick Wilson Jr., and Malik Turner also on the roster. Brown’s 302 snaps on offense were the most non-special teams snaps from any of the team’s top 10 special teams contributors (players with 150 or more ST snaps). His value as a quality in-line blocker combined with his ability to sit in coverage makes him a reliable tool for the offense.
Of course, we can’t praise Brown’s contribution without mentioning what he can do on special teams. Similar to everything else he does, he’s not elite in this department either. He’s not a special teams ace like C.J. Goodwin, but he’s someone who can always be counted on to handle his assignment. His processing, his discipline, and his toughness all come in handy on special teams.
And we have to mention how the coaches love this guy. Not just the current coaches, but all the coaches. Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, Derek Dooley, Sanjay Lal, oh wait, there’s more... Keith O’Quinn, Adam Henry, Rich Basaccia, should I keep going?...Kellen Moore, Mike McCarthy, and John Fassel. He’s not a guy that one coach or one coaching staff overvalued. All the coaches value Noah Brown.
So, the next time you find yourself questioning what can Brown do for you, just remember, the answer is a lot of different things. You just have to have your needle in the groove to truly appreciate what he has to offer. And while we may prefer to enjoy our CeeDee’s or MG13 player, there’s still something warm and comforting about Noah Brown. He’s vintage.