On one of the most prominent defenses in the National Football League, Tarell Brown quietly goes about his business… and produces.
In his first year as a full-time starter, Brown, a 49ers fifth-round draft pick five years ago, has been solid with 34 tackles and 10 pass breakups.
But on Monday, a day after the 49ers clinched their first NFC West division crown since 2002, Brown didn’t sound satisfied.
Sure, Brown and many of his teammates were pleased about the biggest accomplishment of their careers in San Francisco, but Brown knows it’s just the start.
“We have to keep playing hard, try to keep collecting wins,” said the cornerback who’s made 16 career starts in 67 career games. “At the end of the day, the most important thing is getting better.”
Brown and the 49ers will have another chance to improve this Sunday in a road contest against the Arizona Cardinals, who are now with starting quarterback Kevin Kolb, who was inactive for San Francisco’s 23-7 home win over Arizona in Week 11.
“Kolb is a gunslinger,” Brown said. “He’s been that way since his college days. He does a lot of great things for his team, so I definitely think they’ll try to throw it around a little bit more.”
Arizona is coming off a 19-13 overtime win at home against the Dallas Cowboys, proving how competitive it will be in the final four weeks of the regular season.
Brown wants to continue his strong play down the stretch, starting against the Cardinals. In his estimation, the challenge of facing Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and the return of Kolb will be a great test.
Strong performances in the coming weeks will only help the 49ers in the postseason.
“We have to peak at the right time,” Brown stressed. “There’s a lot of room for improvement. There are plays out there that y’all might not see, but we see that we could’ve made. I think it’s important for us to compete and make plays.”
Some of the plays being made, like the 2.0 sacks from rookie Aldon Smith, have caught the eye of the veterans on the 49ers defense. Brown included.
“To see a young guy go out and play as hard as he’s playing and make the plays that he’s making, it’s special… And his dances were cool, too.”
Notes and Quotes
Patrick Willis was not spotted in the 49ers locker room on Monday, a day after injuring his hamstring against St. Louis. The injury caused him to miss most of the game, but teammate NaVorro Bowman doesn’t expect it to be too serious. In an interview with NFL Network, Bowman said Willis is in high spirits. “He’s confident he can come back soon.”
According to Brown, the 49ers will continue to scoreboard watch NFC contenders for their potential playoff seeding. “I think we still watch, we’re fans of football like y’all,” said the Texas native and former UT standout.
Clinching was important to linebacker Parys Haralson, but more so because he was able to share the experience with his teammates. “You get excited, but more for the real veteran players like Moran (Norris), Justin (Smith), Shawntae (Spencer), Isaac (Sopoaga), the guys who’ve been here longer than me. Guys like Frank (Gore), Andy (Lee), and Brian (Jennings), can’t forget about them. You’re so excited for them, more than yourself.”
Gore had a chance to reflect on his big achievements from Sunday: Winning the West and becoming the 49ers all-time rushing leader. “It’s a blessing to do something like that. Especially with this organization with a lot of great players who have been here. My name being mentioned amongst those guys – it was hard work. I had ups and downs and now it’s just a blessing.”
Tags: Frank Gore, Parys Haralson, Tarell Brown
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