PHOENIX – Brandon Browner is a big, physical cornerback who won’t back down from anything or anyone.
Unless you happen to be doing a story on the best cornerback in the league and you ask him to pick between current teammate Darrelle Revis and former one Richard Sherman. Only then does the 6-4, 221-pounder back off a bit.
“I’m not going there,” Browner said Wednesday at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass resort, where the Patriots are staying leading up to Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday. “They’re both great players.”
At this point, Browner is just happy that he’ll be on the same Super Bowl surface as his new and former teams. A year ago, when Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” defense was smothering Peyton Manning and Denver’s record-setting offense 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII, Browner was on the outside looking in.
If not for an unusual drug suspension — a “missed” test that was counted as a strike against him even though he wasn’t in the NFL at the time — he would have played and started for the Seahawks in last year’s Super Bowl. A one-year ban was reduced to four games and ultimately led to the two sides parting ways.
Until this week, that is. Now, they’re on a collision course with a collection of defensive backs that could be stacked against some of the best to ever play in a Super Bowl. And Browner wouldn’t have it any other way than to be facing his former teammates with a chance to derail their quest for consideration as the best defensive team in NFL history.
“I couldn’t have drawn it up any better,” Browner said. “Those guys are my best friends. It is a blessing to be in this game with those guys.”
He’s also happy to be playing for Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who took a chance on him in his desire to build a defense that was more similar in secondary strength to the ones that won three Super Bowls in four years a decade ago.
With Browner on one side and Revis on the other, the Patriots are able to play more man coverage than they have in recent seasons. Revis, of course, is the prototypical shutdown corner that Belichick uses to shadow the receiver that he considers to be the other team’s most dangerous aerial weapon.
According to Pro Football Focus, Denver’s Chris Harris was the league’s top corner this season with a point total of 28.4. Next was Indianapolis’ Vontae Davis (21.8), followed by Sherman (18.2) and Revis (17.7). Browner finished 79th at minus-5.0.
During Tuesday’s media day, Hall of Fame cornerback-turned NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders asked Revis, “Who was the best cornerback at the Super Bowl?” Revis smiled, dodging the question by saying, “You!”
Everyone knows where the outspoken Sherman believes he ranks among the world’s greatest cornerbacks. Browner, of course, wouldn’t pick a side publicly. But he did offer some comparisons between Revis and Sherman.
“We play a lot more man-to-man in New England,” Browner said. “They play a lot of Cover 3 in Seattle. [Sherman] plays to his leverage, knowing where help is coming from. He is a cerebral football player and so is Revis.
“Revis, he just has a nice balance about his game. It never seems like he takes a false step left or right. His game is pretty smooth and polished. It seems like he isn’t running as hard as the guy he is covering. The guy he is covering always seems like he is sprinting and [Revis] kind of has a jog about his game.”