After spraining his toe at the start of training camp, cornerback Tarell Brown has had to watch many practices from the sidelines. That was a difficult thing for Brown to do considering he’s in the middle of a fight for the starting cornerback position opposite Nate Clements.
“I just want to compete,” said Brown, who is entering his third season. “I think every guy out here is just trying to compete for a starting job.”
After spending the last few weeks rehabbing his toe, Brown will get his chance during the last two weeks of the preseason to do compete for a starting spot.
“I think all of our guys, Tarell Brown, who’s had the toe, Dre’ Bly, Shawntae [Spencer], they’re just going to continue to compete just like they do when they come out here,” head coach Mike Singletary said on Wednesday. “And, they understand that. They’re going to continue to compete for that position and we’ll go from there.”
Brown was one of the front-runners for a starting job after last year’s starter Walt Harris tore his ACL and will miss the 2009 season. But the job was not given to Brown as the 49ers signed Bly, a two-time Pro Bowler, to compete at the position.
Brown was not discouraged, but knew that he would have the opportunity to fight for the job once being medically cleared to practice last week.
“It was a great thing they brought in a veteran like Dre’,” Brown said. “He’s a great player who’s done an amazing job since he came into the league. For me, it’s another opportunity for me to step my game up and learn from an older veteran. I’m a competitor and I won’t shy away from competition regardless of who they bring in.”
In Brown’s absence, the defense has played extremely well, notching six interceptions in the first two preseason games. Adding Brown to the lineup will only help those numbers.
“We’re clicking. We’re all on the same page. Our attention to detail is amazing right now,” Brown said. “We’re holding everybody accountable. Our d-line is doing a great job of getting off the ball, putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback. The linebackers are scrapping, hitting the edges. That’s making our job a lot easier.”
The defense must play as a collective unit to force turnovers and the secondary prides itself on trying to hold up its end of the bargain, especially some of the younger players who are starting to develop in the scheme.
“As young guys, we try to go out there and add a little swag to the game,” Brown said. “As a whole, I think our entire secondary has that swagger. We push each other every day. We battle every day. We compete every day. It’s the little small things that you really don’t see like us competing in the classroom, as far as who can answer the question the fastest or competing on who can get the playbook the fastest. It’s the little small things that are helping us out a lot. The young guys like myself are going to bring that swagger out of the old ones too.”
The plan is to have that “swag” in full effect this weekend when the 49ers travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. It’s fitting that Brown’s first game back will also be in his home state, making his friends and family all the more eager to ask for tickets.
“But I’m not buying tickets for everybody,” Brown said with a smile. “That’s too much.”
Looks like Brown doesn’t consider tickets S.W.A.G. (Stuff We All Get).
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