The final video break down of Antonio Brown will go over the small details he brings to the Raiders. Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock both alluded to Brown one day becoming enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame . Antonio Brown, like other all time great wide receivers, goes above and beyond the play call, earning his recognition as one of the best of our time.
Winning in the NFL takes so much effort and usually games are decided by only a handful of plays. Sometimes the difference between a completion and an incompletion is getting both feet in bounds. Sometimes the difference between a touchdown and a broken play is never giving up. Antonio Brown brings more to the offense than elite route running, advanced hand fighting, and yards after the catch. He brings a mentality of giving an extra effort on every play which is why he has been considered a top wide receiver for the past 7 years.
Toe drag swag
The iconic play that wide receivers make on Sundays is getting both feet down in bounds on sideline catches. A great deal of concentration and awareness is required to this while hauling in a catch in a live football game.
Brown, lined up to the left side, leaves one defender in the dust on this double move against the Titans in 2017. When the pass arrives he drops his back foot so that both feet are in the field of play as he completes the catch. Brown is great at these because of the work he puts in to perfect his craft and will have his fair share in 2019.
Moving the chains
Brown is lined up at the top of the screen against New Orleans in week 16 of 2018. The offense is facing a 3rd and long situation. Knowing exactly how far he needs to go for a first down, Brown breaks his route off with enough depth to secure the first down.
This is a simple enough play and most receivers know to run their route past the sticks. Brown however threatened the cornerback with enough of a nod upfield to prevent the defender from sniffing this one out. Just knowing down and distance isn’t good enough because the defender does too. Brown will set up defenders throughout the course of the game so he can make a play like this look routine.
In week 10 of 2018, the Steelers and the Jaguars were in a tight game. The Jaguars did a great job of shutting Brown down by using double coverage or allowing Jalen Ramsey to play aggressive with safety help over the top. The play above is an example of the Jaguars using Cover 4 to create a two man bracket on Brown with Ramsey playing the fade and the safety jumping any inside routes.
Ben Roethlisberger isn’t even looking at Brown because he knows how much attention he’s getting in coverage. Brown, lined up at the bottom of the screen runs a curl route initially but two things happen; 1) Brown sees the safety jump his route, vacating the middle of the field, and 2) Brown sees Roethlisberger pat the ball and buy time in the pocket when his first read isn’t open. Brown sees an opportunity and sprints deep to create a 77 yard touchdown outside the original play design. This was the game deciding score in an otherwise meager offensive output by the Steelers. Proof that when you have a receiver of Brown’s quality—your offense always has a chance to score.
Drawing pass interference
Against tight man coverage, Brown uses his hands to create separation. There are times when Brown’s efforts don’t produce the intended result. In this game against the Bengals Brown is unable to rid himself of the cornerback William Jackson who does a great job of playing tight man coverage from a press alignment.
Knowing Jackson is running step for step with him, Brown gets his arm underneath the defender’s arm and basically waves at the official as if to say “throw the flag.” His efforts don’t go un-rewarded and this goes down as a penalty and automatic first down against Cincinnati. Plays like this don’t end up in the box score but Brown moved the chains for his offense putting them in a position to score.
As we go throw all the ways Antonio Brown helps an offense it’s clear why he is named as a top 3 wide receiver every year. The attention to detail Brown brings to the offense should provide immediate results help the Raiders offense stay on the field. Brown has the ability to win in multiple ways but the little things aren’t above him. Brown takes pride in mastering even the smallest nuances of playing wide receiver in the National Football League. For this reason he finds ways to make plays many receivers cannot. The Raiders made many splashes in free agency but none will have as big an impact as Brown in 2019.