Rod Marinelli offers the highest praise for Anthony Brown. The Cowboys defensive coordinator, asked if he had seen a rookie play as well as sixth-round pick from Purdue, compared Brown to Ronde Barber.
“You’ve got run gaps and things like that you’ve got make sure you’re doing a good job of,” Marinelli said. “You’re asking him to play the run. He’s got to blitz. He’s got to cover man-to-man on usually a pretty doggone good player in there. And then your zones. So it’s a lot to that position, so we’ve been very impressed with him.”
Brown had never played inside against the slot receiver. He’s caught on quickly.
“That’s what you look for in that position, a guy that can do that,” Marinelli said. “And the quickness it takes to play inside because those little slot guys, man, they’re quicker than all get out. He’s come in there, and some guys just fit those positions. He’s got instincts. You have to have awareness and instinct to do all that. He’s done a good job.”
Brown has made 20 tackles and defensed two passes in 177 defensive snaps. Quarterbacks have targeted him 16 times, and Brown has allowed 12 catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns, according to STATS, Inc.
“I feel like I’m doing a good job, but there’s always room for improvement and things to work on every week,” Brown said. “I feel like I’m getting better each and every week as we go.
“Being out there three, four weeks straight, getting plenty of reps at nickel, seeing a lot of different receivers, a lot of different offenses, the game is kind of slowing down for me now.”
Orlando Scandrick has missed the past three games with strained hamstrings, and owner Jerry Jones said Scandrick likely sits out this week. The Cowboys can afford to be patient with Scandrick because of Brown’s play.
“He’s done a good job,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s someone who’s gotten better and better. Really day after day, week after week, he’s improved in all aspects. I thought he made some big strides from last week to this week in his blitzing, in his tackling. He did a better job with consistent leverage in his coverage. He’s someone who’s really listening to the coaching and trying to take it to the game. Not perfect by any means. There are some things in the game that he certainly has to improve upon that hurt us. But he’s certainly getting better, and he’s approaching it the right way. You see the strides he’s making.”