Bill Belichick added Corwin Brown as a defensive coach this offseason, and Brown can share a unique perspective that allows him to better relate to the players. Brown played for Belichick for three seasons in the 1990s — one year in New England and two years with the Jets — and Brown can identify with the players' learning process at practice and in the film room.
"Each coach brings something different to the table," Patriots safety James Sanders said. "[Brown] brings the experience of playing in this league. He knows, personally, some of the things we go through on an everyday basis. From the short period of time, it’s been great. You can tell he’s real knowledgeable. He’s real passionate about what he does, and it’s going to be exciting playing for him this year."
It's the first time Sanders, Brandon Meriweather and Patrick Chung have worked with a position coach in New England who actually played safety in the league, and the three of them have said they can't be happier to get the chance to learn from Brown.
As Belichick has often said about defensive line coach Pepper Johnson, who also played for Belichick, it's much better for the players to listen to someone who has gone through the process. Sure, Belichick has the reputation of being a defensive genius, and players love that about him, but he hasn’t played a down in the NFL, and he can't always see things from a player's point of view. That’s why it helps to have coaches like Brown and Johnson to relay the message.
"It’s easy to say something when you’re just looking at it from an X’s and O’s perspective," Meriweather said. "But until you actually have done it, you get a lot more credit when you say something. Everybody knows Bill is a mastermind at what he does. He’s a great coach. No disrespect to Bill or anybody else, but once you’re actually in that spot and know exactly what I’m looking at back there, then you know what I was thinking. Bill is very great at that. For him not to ever have played in the NFL, he actually knows 90 percent of what I’m looking at and what I’m thinking. I think with those two together, and [defensive backs coach] Josh [Boyer] and the rest of the defensive staff, I think we’re going to be very, very good this year."
Brown was the Patriots' fourth-round pick in 1993, and the Michigan product spent four years in New England before spending two seasons each with the Jets and Lions. He retired after the 2000 season and spent three seasons as the special teams coach at Virginia, three years as the defensive backs coach with the Jets and three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame.
"It helps a lot," Chung said. "[Brown] played in it, he knows what’s
going on so he can translate it a lot easier. He’s been through all of
the experiences, so he can relate to us. He’s a good coach, and he’s
smart. He’s really smart."
Brown's official title in New England is defensive coach, but it's apparent he'll have a heavy role with the safeties. Just a couple of months into offseason workouts, his presence has already made an impact.