FOXBORO, Mass. — Brandon Browner knows that he has to change his physical style of play after NFL officials called 55 illegal contact penalties in the first two weeks of the preseason.
NFL officials told players they would put an emphasis on illegal contact and defensive holding, but Browner took a wait-and-see approach when training camp began a month ago. Browner, who was known to bump and hold receivers during his three years with the Seattle Seahawks, is using vision, not physicality, to track wideouts now.
“I’m just trying to keep my eyes to where I would place my hands,” Browner said Wednesday at Gillette Stadium after practice. “Just make you be tighter on honing in on your craft. That’s just what I’m trying to do so I won’t cost the team in the long run. A penalty like that could lose you a big game.”
Browner is hopeful that officials will decrease the number of flags they’re throwing once the regular season begins. Illegal contact was called just 54 times during the entire 2013 season.
“They said they would emphasize on the holding and the illegal contact on the field, so I was somewhat prepared for it,” Browner said. “Hopefully in the regular season, they don’t call as many. If they do, we just have to take emphasis on getting our hands right in the placement, things like that. Try to reduce penalties, because those things can cost you a big game somewhere along the season.”
Browner is partially to blame for the increase in defensive coverage penalties. Browner, Richard Sherman and the rest of the Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” secondary changed the game with this physical style of play, and they were rewarded with a Super Bowl victory last season. Browner had done a nice job of avoiding penalties so far during the preseason. He has played 47 snaps and hasn’t been penalized yet.
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