It was interesting to watch veteran free safety Mike Brown work on his back pedal over and over again with assistant defensive backs coach Gill Byrd Thursday afternoon. Long after nearly every rookie had done his due diligence of carrying the shoulder pads of veterans off the field, Brown was still working.
Byrd, a the career leader in interceptions for the San Diego Chargers who retired 15 years ago, explained it was the nuances of the game they were drilling, not the scheme.
"The defense, you don't work on with the veterans,'' Byrd explained. "It's the fundamentals. And no matter how old you are, no matter how seasoned you are as a veteran, you can always learn something. And that's the great thing about the Mike Browns of the world, those guys no matter how much credit they get, no matter how good they get, they always want to work on the little things. They always want to get better. That's why he's so special."
Byrd and Brown were reviewing his back pedal and scanning the field. It's recognition playing safety where you're starting out 15 yards deep or so.
"Fundamentals carry you through everything,'' Byrd said. "A lot of times you think it's scheme that carries you through things, it's not scheme. The fundamentals will get you through the game of football if you know what to look for and you start eliminating things and you know what is my responsibility. What is my 1/11th of the pie."
Brown called it a great opportunity any time he gets a chance to spend time with Byrd, a two-time Pro Bowl performer.
"I know a lot of people know that Gill Byrd was a helluva football player and he has a lot of knowledge and wisdom about the game," he said. "So I just like to soak it up. When you have guys around like that, you've got to learn as much as you can. Little things here and there can make a big difference in the game."
And how is Brown feeling after two practices?
"I'm healthy right now," he said. "I go day-by-day. Right now I am healthy but with my past and everything, who knows how long that is going to last. Hopefully it is the whole season. I am planning on it being the whole season. I am preparing to play the whole season. That's all I can do. Some things are out of your control. I come out here everyday, I feel blessed to be able to come out here with this team again. Just having fun with it."