By Kevin Saleeba
Sept. 9, 2011
One day after being promoted from the practice squad to the active roster his rookie season, Patriots safety Sergio Brown was forced into action because of injuries in the defensive backfield. He made an immediate impact.
With the Patriots clinging to a 23-20 lead against the Chargers with less than a minute to play, Brown stopped Antonio Gates short of a first down on the Patriots' 27 yard line. The Chargers would miss the eventual game-tying field goal as the Patriots escaped with the victory.
Brown finished the game with four tackles and played two different roles on nickel and dime packages on defense. Following the game, Belichick said "I think it's a great example of all our players being ready to go. You never know when you will get that opportunity."
Brown did make the most of his opportunities when he was initially signed as an undrafted free agent in April of 2010. Cut during training camp, he was signed to the practice squad soon after. Six weeks later, he was activated to the 53-man roster. After the Chargers game, he spent the rest of the 2010 season as a reserve on defense and played more extensively on special teams. He played in 11 games with 11 total tackles.
In 2011, however, his role this season will be much different with much more responsibility. Just two weeks into training camp this season, he was playing alongside starting safety Patrick Chung at practice. He eventually beat out former starters James Sanders and Brandon Meriweather for the job. Brown had 20 tackles and two assists in parts of four preseason game, leading the team in tackles twice. Brown's play led to the Patriots' decision to cut loose both Sanders and Meriweather.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick said "Sergio's in good condition, he's worked hard, he hasn't missed any time, he's been out there on a consistent basis, and he's gotten better like everybody who has been out there on a consistent basis. How could you not improve?"
When the Patriots cut Sanders and Meriweather, Brown said it just motivates him more to keep improving.
"Shoot, it's kind of scary, to tell you the truth," Brown told the Boston Herald at camp. "It's a real bizarre reality. I just use it as motivation to push harder, do better, to focus more, so you can just take the good out of the situation."
For the Patriots to succeed, he will to have to continue to push harder.
Kevin Saleeba is a frequent contributor and columnist to Patriots Insider. A former beat writer for local media, Kevin has extensive knowledge of the team and experience covering the Patriots. Share your thoughts on this article, or send your questions to Kevin (here)
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