Brandon Brown came to the New York Giants last year in the role of assistant to newly hired general manager Joe Schoen. He arrived after five years in Philadelphia where he worked under perhaps the best GM in the business, Howie Roseman.
The 35-year-old Brown helped Schoen revamp a vapid roster and helped lead the Giants back to the postseason for the first time in six years.
Needless to say, he’s just getting started. With a year under his belt now, Brown is taking on a bigger role both behind the scenes and in public. This past week at the Giants’ mandatory minicamp, Brown spoke to the media with confidence and clarity about his philosophy.
“The biggest thing when you look at the 90-man roster from last year to this year is improving the depth. We don’t want anybody to be comfortable,” he stated.
“Every day we wanted to make sure, hey, everyone has to earn their check. I think at whatever level you are on the roster; the undrafted guys are going to be given an equal opportunity. You see how many rookies that we played last year. It’s merit-based. Best man wins out.”
Brown explained that the initial roster upheaval should calm down over time if you do it right.
“I think we improved the depth, and I think as you churn the roster, especially that bottom third, if you do a better job in Year 1, Year 2, you’re not going to have that much attrition where you’re going to need those heavier numbers,” he said.
And Brown has been hard at work getting those ‘best men.’ In his second draft with the club, he looked for not just talent, but football acumen and — yes — speed.
The Giants finished 9-7-1 last season but were not without holes. Brown said the front office knew they had to improve the run defense and sought out players in free agency that could satisfy that need.
“I think we looked at what our pain points were,” he said. “We wanted to get better against the run, and you’ve seen what we did in terms of adding Nacho (defensive lineman Rakeem Nuñez-Roches) and (defensive lineman) A’Shawn (Robinson) and getting (linebacker) Bobby O(kereke) in free agency, adding (safety) Bobby McCain as a vet in the secondary. Those things are not being satisfied. It’s being reflective, looking in the mirror, being honest with each other and saying, ‘Hey, how do we give the coaches the best opportunity to put the best product in the field?’”
The Giants’ first-round draft pick this year was Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks, who impressed the club with the way he dealt with adversity and failure.
“If you go back to September, Deonte wasn’t somebody that was on the radar,” said Brown. “We had an area scout who watched him early and liked him. Actually, Joe got a chance to go see him live in person. Tim (McDonnell), Dennis (Hickey), they both watched him. Then I go live and go see him play against Ohio State. I see him get beat by (Ohio State wide receiver) Marvin Harrison Jr. the first play of the game and then line right back up and play relentless with effort the rest of the game. Then he ends the game and blocks a kick. I just think his competitiveness is something that you covet in our system, especially playing a lot of man.”
Giant fans should enjoy Brown while he’s still here. He will obviously be in line for bigger things in the league. Many would not be surprised if he becomes a general manager soon — very soon.