Making A Case For Vincent Brown… Again

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Sep 9, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Brown (86) heads to the end zone to score a touchdown in the closing minute of the first half action the Texans at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY

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Last year, I posted an article saying that Vincent Brown was primed for a breakout season. I posted another one saying that I still had faith in him after Alexander & Floyd went down, and Royal was missing snaps to a toe injury. The new coaching staff is building a foundation off of players seizing their opportunities, when they are given them. Vincent Brown was given a shining opportunity, but was unable to take advantage of it. Plain, and simple.

As fans, we all love to play “armchair GM”. We think that we know better, and curse the team as they make (or don’t make) certain changes to the roster that we might disagree with. From the moment the ball is kicked off, we are busy evaluating players, watching coaches, and taking notes. This is usually followed by an intellectual statement, based upon what we have seen, read, and heard. We stand by our opinions, and often pound the table..  pretty hard, actually.

And, why shouldn’t we? Part of the fun of following our beloved team is to express our feelings about what “we would do”, or what “Telesco should do”, or what “McCoy should do”, or what some other person… who is getting paid WAY more money than us to be a professional sports figure… should do. These amateur opinions usually fall on deaf ears, unless you somehow have your finger on the pulse at Chargers Park. Aside from a few peeks into training camp, 99.9% of us are just guessing.

At the end of the day, we throw out the “told you so’s” when we hit, and eat crow when we miss the broadside of the barn. We curse Telesco when he misses, and we praise him when he hits. Fortunately, he has more bulls eyes, than busts.

This brings me to the curious case of Vincent Brown.

After showing signs of being a promising receiver, Brown went down with a busted ankle. He was out for the year, despite fans hoping he could return by year’s end. When 2013 came around, fans were foaming at the mouth to get him back, after a disappointing 2012 campaign. Robert Meachem was total garbage. Royal was almost as disappointing, and battled hamstring issues all year. Had A.J. Smith not picked up Danario Alexander off of the scrap heap, the receiving corps would have been absolutely dismal. Having Brown back was something we were all looking forward to.

Well, we all know that didn’t end up being the case. Brown had the worst season of any Charger receiver, except for ex-Charger Lavelle Hawkins, who barely saw the field. You could make the argument that Seyi Ajirotutu had a far worse season, statistically. But, Brown never had a walk off catch like the one Tutu caught in the Kansas City upset. Tutu is remembered as “the hero that saved the day”. Brown is remembered as the most disappointing receiver of 2013.

The high hopes for Brown’s return, have quickly turned into rumblings of him being cut. Why would Telesco keep him around, after he was so ineffective last season? The team has brought in some young talent to compete at the wide receiver position, and there are only so many roster spots. Brown hasn’t earned the privilege to be the 4th guy on the depth chart, right?

Let’s look at some reasons why Telesco might not be ready to replace Vincent Brown so easily.

 

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Tags: Featured Popular San Diego Chargers Vincent Brown

  • diomar espinal

    very good read peter. You made alot of interesting points. That being said, i feel you are holding out hope for the guy based on your previous assessment of him and based off his play last season i just dont see it. I think deep down people still hold on to that one game against the raiders where he caught a couple of deep balls . Ive stated to you before on how i have NFL rewind and go back and watch alot of film and i just dont see him making the team over a reciever who brings athleticism. Pete he RARELY gained separation from DBs last year. Mind you alot of defenses last year played cover 1 against us which means its just you and the DB. Hes not 6 ft tall and even before the injury he was never an athletic guy who was going to run past you. That being said if your not overly athletic you can bring a different skill set to the field like Keenan did, which is the ability to beat the press man at the line and use quick deceptiveness. VB never showcased any of that either which is why alot of the times Philip targeted him it was almost an interception. I understand what you stated as far as saving money goes and having good locker room guys, but at the end of the day its all about winning and competing. If VB is truly better then those other options then im all for him staying. But from what i saw on film i just think he does not have much to offer and feel we can give his spot to a more athletic player who can expose defenses who like to only keep one safety over the top. Mind you peter, look at our brutal schedule this year, with all those NFC west defenses. If VB had a tough time gaining separation vs the teams we played last year, wtf is he going to do against the likes of patrick peterson, darrelle revis, richard sherman and so forth? All teams with great pass rushes and solid number 2 corners. Its why we implemented a quick passing attack. Our OL was better in actuality because they werent asked to block forever how they were under norv turner. We all love the team, that being said i can only be truthful in my assessments of is play. Let me know what you think

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      I think you have a lot of valid points. I also went through the film (painfully) and saw what you did. I still got the feeling that he wasn’t ready for all of it. Call it a hunch, I think he will produce this season. He isn’t going to be Vincent Jackson, or anything. Just produce. In the back of my mind, I see Keenan Allen struggling more than Brown, now that defenses know who he is. I hope he doesn’t, but sophomore slump could be in Allen’s immediate future. I see Te’O having a good year, though.

      • diomar espinal

        yea i agree we started to see it during the second half of the season where teams started clouding their safety over to keenans side. That being said we will need someone to take the pressure off of keenan and a fast prospect like Reese or a big prospect like Inman is something we could deff use who can take advantage of single man coverage. All those NFC west teams all play cover 1. From that alone i dont see VB being useful. But as of now if he makes the team i pray you are correct because i want our team to be successful.

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          I think that the Chargers need to make the system fit the players, not make the players fit the system. Pagano does that with Reyes & Liuget, and it drives me nuts. Brown WAS showing promise at one point. What did they change that made him suddenly ineffective? If we have signed all of these olinemen, then they need to be able to block for more than a few seconds. We signed Dunlap, Ohrnberger, Rinehart, Fluker, Watt, and we kept Troutman, Harris, Hardwick, & Clary. If they can’t blcok for the occasional deep ball.. then why did we invest so much in these players? I think Reich is going to be calling more deep balls than Ken “no passes past twenty yards” Whisenhunt did. I think he is going to mainly run Whisenhunt’s system, but resurrect some of Norv’s deep passing plays… especially now that we have Reese.

          • Julien Bélair

            Well if Floyd played 16 games last season I think we would have try way more deep ball

          • NateLew

            Just realized I basically made the same comment as diomar. Yes, asking Liuget and Reyes to 2-gap isn’t using them to their strength and you’re not alone in being angry at that. But for Brown, he showed promise in the 2011 season and 2012 preseason, back in Norv’s system. I don’t think VB is a good fit for this west coast intermediate route style of offense. Can’t say the offense doesn’t fit that system though, look how successfully they ran it first year. I’d rather work to Rivers strengths than Browns. Give Rivers this 2nd offseason and I’m sure he’ll find a way to make Brown look useful again if Reich is really somewhat of a mix between Norv and Ken.

          • diomar espinal

            to answer that question, I think a big reason we did that was because Clary stinks in pass protection which im pretty sure you agree with and Fluke was a great rookie, but overall he did not have a good showing in pass protection. So i think we did it to protect those guys. On top of that we just dont have a downfield target. I know we saw VB do well that one season but overall he is not a burner, so i mean i personally dont trust our downfield target to be a guy under 6 ft tall who needs jump balls thrown to him. i agree about us making the system fit the players at times sucks, and i deff agree on it as far as the defense goes. But, as far as offense goes i think we did the right thing implementing a more west coast short passing game offense. Aside from ladarius, when Malcolm went down we simply did not have a down field threat . Once Malcolm gets back and once Ladarius is allowed to wreak havoc, i think we will be attacking teams alot more.

      • Julien Bélair

        Please get off the Allen will struggle bandwagon. ..it’s based on nothing and it comes from all the doubters and chargers haters

        • diomar espinal

          Honestly Keenan is by far my favorite player in the league right now. I also told peter earlier in the month that if left in single coverage with a corner i believe that Keenan will have success against any corner in the league, ie sherman revis etc. But that being said Julien, teams toward the end of the season started to shade keenan with a safety and leave our weakside WRs in one on one coverage, which is why we started to see keenans numbers dip. Not only that but it let you know VB wasnt doing his job. If Malcolm comes back and shows hes the player he was pre injury then i cant picture my boy KA13 having a down season. But if Malcolm goes down again and we are forced to rely on VB again as a secondary option then yes he will probably struggle mightily as opposed to his rookie season.

        • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

          Funny.. Mike McCoy even said he will have to work harder, and won’t be able to sneak up on people like he did last year. Does that mean he’s a hater too? I’m just saying that we face much tougher defenses this season, and he essentially got shut down in the Denver playoff game, until Denver was forced to put in Jammer. So that’s what I’m basing it off of, which is (in fact) something. I am DEFINITELY on the Keenan doing well bandwagon.. don’t get me wrong.. I wouldn’t be totally surprised if he struggles a little this season, though.

          • Julien Bélair

            McCoy said that and Rivers too to make him continue to work and not sit on his early success. Keenan is a winner. He wants to be the best and be recognize he will work his tail off. 2014 is not going to be easy… not for him not for anybody… but right now he has give us nothing to make us doubt him.

            I know you like him. You just can’t be a Chargers fan if you don’t haha I’m just getting tired of hearing all the Allen doubters

      • NateLew

        It’s not like defenses had no idea who Keenan Allen was his rookie year. Maybe they dedicate a little extra time now, but he faced consistent double teams throughout the 5 games in December last year. Averaged about 62 ypg and averaged 1 TD throughout the 5 games also. Get him more comfortable with the playbook, give Floyd and Green more snaps to stretch the defense and I except him to build on his rookie production. Even with the secondaries he’ll face this year.

      • Sergio Quintero

        I think Allen can be a jerk, but jerks can be amazing players, Floyd has never been the no1 I wish he stays healthy, but make no bones Allen is the no1 and the offense in the passing game will be built around him, there are even people here that Floyd will actually have to compete with Brown to start to earn the no2. I am not one of them Floyd is the starter and flanker, and Allen is the split-end, simple as that.

        I always thought Merriman was douche when he was here, but he was my douche because he made my team better, in terms of Allen I feel the same way. There is something about the guy that the game comes easily to him, he will get the an incredible run of no1 corners this year, so he will be tested.

  • Tazzster

    Pete, I think your assessment of the ‘open competition’ is off.

    I think McCoy and TT are all about getting the best players on the field. Sure the vets have a bit of an edge becuase they know the playbook and system. Having said that there are probably 3 locks at WR… Allen, Floyd and Royal. If you want one of those last spots you better step up.

    Dontrelle Inman, Tutu are going to be gunning for spots… How many WR are they going to carry?

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      Let me put it this way… name one newcomer that unseated a starter, coming out of camp last season. I am pretty sure that everyone that was “expected to start” did start. MAYBE you could say Starks, but he was pretty much just garbage, and I am not sure he was considered to be the immediate starter.

      I am thinking they carry 6, based on how bad last season’s WR position was.. they still need to figure out how to keep Grice in there, though. If they carry 5 receivers, it’s a toss up between Reese, and Brown, and it will come down to a camp battle. I would say Reese would win, as he is a draft pick of Telesco’s. But, he is also small, and was a seventh rounder. I really couldn’t make a call, without seeing the camp battle first. I still think they are going to keep both Brown & Reese, and everyone else is on the outside. Unless, they dazzle the crap out of McCoy, or there is an injury. I mean, Lavelle Hawkins had no business being on our roster before someone got hurt, right? But, he was on there.

      • Tazzster

        Let me put it this way…. Addae had no business making the roster last year. I mean he wasn’t even drafted. He ran around in pre-season looking bamboozeled by what was going on. He played poorly at times. (last play of the tenessee game). BUT obviously TT and crew saw something in this kid…. they believe he could pull it together AND HE DID!

        Now when camp ended someone was booted to keep a spot for Addea… I’m sure there was a vet who could have made the team instead, BUT they kept the new kid, because he came to camp and competed.

        Lets take a closer look at what is going on. I DON’T think they just fill camp with warm bodies. There is a reason you are at camp and that is because somewhere along the line, somebody said, “Hey, I like the looks of that kid. BRING HIM IN!” They don’t go out and get Dontrelle Inman because they need a warm body at camp. They expect him to COMPETE and MAKE THE TEAM.

        So, what are they looking for. Ball Skills obviously, but also … How hard is this kid willing to work. How smart is he. How quick does he pick up the playbook. And the big one ATTITUDE! Those last 4 don’t always show up in pre-season but they can be the big reason that you make the roster. I am sure Addae showed a great work ethic in camp last year. He competed and impressed someone and they said, “make a spot for that kid on the roster”.

        In CONCLUSION, its all about competition. There are more guys than spots. If you want to be on the team, you better work hard, be a team player and COMPETE.

        Vet status…. does Brown have that going for him? 41/472/1 is not a bad line. Brown had the chance to step up and compete for the #1 when Floyd went down. He got beat by a kid named Allen 71/1046/8 is a much better line. COMPETITION BABY!

        Dontrelle Inman’s line last year (allbeit CFL) 50/739/6. The kid is no rookie. There will be competition in camp. BELIEVE IT BABY!

        Too much rambling so I will leave you with two words…. UPSIDE!

        • tubbs45

          Making the roster and being the starter coming out of camp are very different. I think PT and you are fighting the same argument with just the slight variation of the role of the veterans being starters is TT’s preference coming out of camp, kind of their spot to lose.

          • Tazzster

            Pete and I would never fight… were are like blue and gold brothers.

            He is just making wide sweeping generalizations and I am helping him see more clearly :) And having a little fun….

          • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

            Lol… thirty years watching the Chargers, I don’t miss on much. I got the same grief last season when I said Mathews would dominate.. that Philip still had it.. when I said Cox should be cut (everyone said he would turn it around), When I said moving Gilly to safety was a horrible idea, and when I told everyone Floyd would be back. So, you wouldn’t be the first guy who tried to help me see the light… I think I’ll stick with what I know, thanks…. still, I love talking shop with you though, mang!

          • Tazzster

            Fair enough… but if it happens different… like maybe Dontrelle makes the team, I will expect a full article titled…. How Tazzster helped me see the Light, by Peter Thompson

          • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

            Hahaha… I always admit when I’m wrong. I was wrong about Starks last season, and I admitted it publicly.

            For the record, I never said Inman won’t make the team. In the article, I said Brown would have to be awful, and Inman would have to dazzle… and that it will come down to a camp battle. I think the chances are slim, but over 160 other people in this poll also think V-Brown will be on the team. If he gets cut… I’m not writing an article… YOU should be writing the articles, in that case… mainly because have your finger on the pulse, of that happens… lol.

          • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

            We kind of ate.

            You should be able to earn a starting job, based on talent & production.. right now, you probably will have to wait for someone to get benched (Cox) Marshall moves from slot to the outside, and Gilchrist moves back to slot.. and bang!!! Addae is the starter… which is kind of my point. They didn’t start Addae because they thought he was better than Gilly. They just forced to make up for Cox’s bad play. But, people act like btw won the starting job out camp, where we literally had nobody threatening Addae’s depth spot, except fir someone like Cattouse.. not exactly a difficult guy to beat out.. lol.

  • OP Bolt

    I thought this was an excellent article. Nonetheless, since all of us are bored to tears by the Padres, I thought I would kibitz a bit.

    Now most of all, I want the Chargers to put the best team, with the best players on the field, and if VB is one of those guys then I am in his corner. I have less confidence in Malcom Floyd’s ability to return at a high level of performance, or his ability to stay healthy for the season. Assuming Inman performs well (I seem to have more confidence in him than you), I think he will be on the team (sort of Malcolm’s backup). Assuming your prediction for VB is correct, then I think Eddie Royal is the guy most on the bubble. I don’t think he will be the KR/PR because I think (hope?) the Chargers are going to find new KRs/PRs (Chancellor, Grice, Davis, …). With that sort of talent for KR/PR, I don’t think the Chargers will risk Tevin Reese (or Weddle, Allen, Woodhead) in the return game very often. If they go that route, somebody has to go to make room.

    I would suggest that some of TT’s loyalty to lesser veteran’s (e.g. Clary) might be due to limited skill and depth options, leading to the need to limit on the field rookie mental errors, as well as the intangibles as much as ‘thanks for the hard work’ and good team chemistry. (Also, we are only talking about a one year data point.) But, I think he has now managed to bring in enough talented players, who will be good enough (mentally and physically) to allow the paring off of some older, slower, less talented and/or frequently injured veterans (e.g., Royal, Clary, Williams, Mouton, English, Jones, C. Butler, etc.)

    Obviously practice performance and injuries are independent variables here. The challenge for the coaches as they go through the elimination process is not to mistake inertia for momentum. In the end, I believe the final team and the PS will see a fair number of new names.

  • Julien Bélair

    I think I am the only who disagree on the premise that Brown has and shown potentiel. He showed nothing to me but 3-4 good catches… VB brings nothing unique on the table and he is not a good ST player.

    I understand and respect what you think and what you see in him. But I don’t see it and I never did.

    With that being said I hope he is able to prove me wrong

    • diomar espinal

      sadly i agree on everything you said bro. I never saw any real potential either. I saw him make a good catch here and there but after that i never saw anything that made me believe he could be something of an important contributor. We gave him the oppurtunity to do so and he layed an egg. People say it might be the injury but as a previous poster said, an ankle injury takes 2 or 3 months to heal not over a year. To add to that even before the injury he wasnt an explosive athlete. So yea i agree 100% i hope we are wrong and he brings somthing to the table this year but overall i dont see it happening and see one of the young guys taking his roster spot.

      • Julien Bélair

        I think he could very loose his spot if the staff don’t believe in him

    • tubbs45

      I would have to agree. but I was hoping he could turn into something better. I did think that he was a possible special teams guy like Osgood, with backup wr options on special teams. Unfortunately he is a horrible tackler…

  • shane

    does anybody think that brown’s ankle was not quite back to 100% last year? I’m no dr. but i know those things can be pretty nasty. Seems odd that a guy has a decent year absolutely stellar preseason then just lays an egg last year. I blame a lot of it on the injury. Looking for him to capitalize on opportunities this year and will garner less attention with a healthy receiving corps in place. He has made some absolutely SICK catches in the past. Mad skills

    • NateLew

      I’m on the other side of this. It’s not an ACL injury where there is a 6 month rehab at least. He broke his ankle, 2 month recovery time roughly, at worst maybe it could take 6 full months to rehab the muscles in his leg back to full strength. I want to give Brown every excuse I can, don’t see how an ankle injury happers you over a year down the line.

      • shane

        That makes sense, but how do you explain his inability to do anything really last year? vs what he was able to do in his first 1.1 years?

        • NateLew

          I think he’s a better fit with what we had done in Norv’s offense when he played well in 2011 & 2012 preseason. Norv’s offense was more downfield where Vincent would excel at making contested catches over the middle. In 2011, Brown had 19 receptions for 329 yards, that’s 17.3 yards per catch! This year he had an impressive 41 receptions, for just 472 yards, which is 11.5 yards a catch. I remember seeing Brown catch quite a few underneath routes and a few hitch passes which he was terrible at. He’s not a YAC guy, but he can get open downfield.

  • gpack17

    They will keep him..no point in sending him off now during his contract year when he will be a 3rd or 4th option…if theyre really worried, they just wont resign him next year and will get someone else..at this point with a thin free agent wr market and the draft already passing..wouldnt want to take a chance thinning the wr depth more…

    • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

      This is the most sensible comment on this thread. Nice job!

  • tubbs45

    Medial fractures are not always average ankle break. usually requiring of absolutely no weight of the leg for at least 6 weeks and 3-5 months of rehab depending on how invasive the surgery was to repair it. Injury and recovery are part of the game and that isnt an excuse

    I don’t really care if it hampers him, If you aren’t ready to play get the f-outta-the-way. I am hopeful he is back at full skill set for the season cause I really like the kid, but damn he was down right bad last year.

    • Sergio Quintero

      I want him to succeed, but until he gets a whole lot stronger, and a whole lot better at creating separation, and lets not forget earns Rivers trust, he is playing to just be active on sundays, because the 2013 Brown was a bad player, no way to say it nicely.

      • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

        I think he knows that, and had worked very hard this off-season. He is, after all, a competitor.

        • Sergio Quintero

          I remember channel 69 in SD did a spot about Brown training in a MMA gym, to improve his hand usage and gain strength and explosiveness at the point of contact, its a creative solution I hope it creates a difference.

          • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

            Nice!!! It seems to be working for Addae… does Brown have Instagram? Lol.

  • Sergio Quintero

    I don’t tend to let the perception of players personality or nostalgic value get in the way of how I view players, and Brown is a player that struggles terribly to beat the press, and is player that has below average speed for a 5’11 190 lbs WR, those are the facts. He does have excellent hands, he was tied for the fewest drops in the league according to PFF at 1, but until he can break the press its rather useless.

    Lets have some perspective in terms of how much he struggled, after he had his career game against the Raiders in week 5, 8 catches for 117 yards, the remaining 13 games including playoffs resulted in 36 catches 264 yards, the per game average is 2.76 catches for 20.30 yards, and 7.35 yards per catch. The last 3 games the chargers played including both playoff games, games in which he started, he had the grand total 0 catches.

    He also happens to be a 3rd round pick, and that means he really needs to stink up the joint to get cut (I’m looking at you stinky Jonas Mouton), do I expect him to be cut no, did I see a better player before his ankle injury hell yes, am I hoping he will be a better player I sure am, but the return of Floyd means he’s the 4th WR as Royal is a much better slot WR and player in general, and all signs point to a boatload of inactive sundays in 2014 on his resume. I hope he proves me wrong, I have apologized to player before, Fluker I was wrong you were the right pick as an example.

    And I will admit I was one that said after the 2009 season Tomlinson sucks right now, they should cut him, so yes I will admit, I can be callous, and if Gates reaches the point he’s a shadow of himself I will say cut his butt too. In terms of players you pay for future performance not past performance. I will admit I was a quality consultant in my past with a stopwatch, just the facts.

    • afroamongfew

      Thank god you posted a sensible take, Sergio. I got to page two, and the second I saw, “TOM TELESCO IS LOYAL TO HIS VETERAN PLAYERS” my eyes rolled so hard they felt like they were going to roll out of my skull.

  • afroamongfew

    Not a single team we faced took the assignment of covering VB seriously last year. Him being on the field allowed opposing defenses to double up Allen like no tomorrow and it showed. He was the only offensive player who seemed totally out of sorts in the new system (even Royal adapted a lot better than him, and he was injured all year). I won’t be surprised if Inman or Reese beats him out for a spot on the roster, and, frankly, it might be more advantageous for him to find another team where he can succeed in the role of being a WR3 or WR4 (maybe Minnesota?).

  • arnie

    At the end of the day Brown is a player with veteran experience, familiarity with playbook, AND under contract in a Chargers team with cap issues.
    VB is good route runner, but he struggles to get of the line an create seperation. His hands are not in question to me, if he is to impress and separate himself in camp, he’s going have work on his technique to get of the line of scrimmage. If he can, he has a shot of increasing his production, and being a assent to the team to be resigned in ’15.
    As far as “competition” goes, players with experience and knowledge of the system will always have an advantage. Ask any coach.

  • http://www.BoltBeat.com/ Peter Thompson

    160 to 7 on the poll… Wow. .. with all the comments about how he will get cut that I have been seeing lately, I thought this poll would be MUCH closer. Guess the majority of fans think he’ll be sticking around. Can’t always trust the comments section, I guess… lol. That’s why we poll.

  • Robert Fairbanks

    We are always partial to our SDSU grads; I have a two degree grad in my home.