On July 29th, 80 men will report to training camp in St. Joseph, Missouri with one goal in mind – to wear the Kansas City Chiefs logo on their helmets when The New Arrowhead Stadium hosts its first-ever Monday Night Football Game on September 13th. Chiefs fans are already familiar with the majority of players who will be competing for roster spots this summer, but the crop of undrafted free agents often enter camp anonymous to the fan base.
Starting on June 29th and ending on July 14th, we’ll meet each of the Chiefs undrafted players for conversation. These are members of the Chiefs roster that can’t be ignored. History tells us that several of these men will end up on Kansas City’s Opening Day 53-man squad.
Today’s Rookie Focus – NT
Quick Intro – Brown put together a solid career on the Minnesota Golden Gophers’ defensive front, playing in 47 games and making 33 starts. Brown concluded his collegiate tenure with 99 tackles, 12.5 stops for loss, 5.0 sacks, three passes defensed, three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.
JL: With the full off-season program nearly under your belt, what has the experience of being a pro been like?
GB: It’s definitely different than college. It’s nice to be able to adjust to something new and kind of get out of the mold of the whole college scene, having to balance both football and class. Now football is my job and it’s great to be able to focus just on football and kind of better myself as the days and training sessions go on.
JL: Is it what you expected it to be? Being from a Big Ten school, you’ve obviously had former teammates and buddies that play in the league. What did you hear about life in the NFL before you got to Kansas City?
GB: We’ve definitely got a few jokesters that tell you it’s going to be the craziest thing you’ve ever done. But really once you get into it, it’s very similar, the amount of time and effort that you have to put in is what’s different. The tempo is obviously different too. As for Kansas City in general, it’s lived up to what everyone has said and I’m really enjoying my time here.
JL: You were one of the first of the Chiefs undrafted players to go under contract. I believe reports had you linked to Kansas City as early as 7 PM the night that the draft ended. Why so fast? Why did Kansas City excite you?
GB: Just throughout my entire process of going through the pro days and everything, Kansas City had always been in contact with me. They were the team that showed the most interest and I kind of molded myself to see where the nose tackle situation was for each team and where I would best fit. It was obvious that this was the best fit for me as far as the teams that contacted me after the draft.
JL: You said that you talked to the Chiefs during the pre-draft process. In those interviews did you ping them about their philosophy regarding defensive line play or was it more about them asking you about your game?
GB: I definitely thought it was more them asking me about my skills in general as a defensive lineman. I knew that they were looking for players and I was looking for any way that I could gainful help the organization. With the team signing no other rookie players at my position, I have an opportunity to showcase my skills to the coaches and the rest of my teammates to let them know that I can be an asset for them.
JL: The nose tackle position is one of the most overlooked positions on the defense. It’s so vital, especially in the 3-4 scheme when you are a two-gap player the majority of the time. Has that challenge hit you yet without putting the pads on, or are you expecting to feel the physical aspect of the position a lot more once the pads enter the picture during training camp?
GB: This is my first time playing a zero-technique nose and you can definitely tell that all of the double teams are going to be a little bit different. I’m so used to playing in a shade that it’s taken time and lots of practice in just getting used to playing in a 3-4 defense. I know that once we get pads on, it’s going to be even more different. I’ll need to be even more stout than when we’re just in jerseys, shorts and helmets.
Figuring out how to really anchor yourself down and make sure that you’re doing everything possible to be technically sound is all that you can do. You’re going to have two 300-plus pounders coming down on you every play and you have to be able to anchor in.
JL: So this is your first go at a zero technique; talk about what you were asked to do at Minnesota.
GB: For our defensive line I did a little bit of everything. I played in a five-technique at defensive end, I played a four-eye inside the tackle, I played a three-technique and I played a little bit of nose as well. I really played everything and even stood up a little bit at times and they kind of let the big guy rush (laughing).
It was fun, and going from doing a bit of everything to playing specifically nose has definitely shrunken the playbook for me. Now I have to know less than I had to know before while I was playing three positions; now it’s just one. That part of the transition has been very successful for me thus far, learning the playbook and putting myself in that position rather than having to learn the three different positions.
JL: When they let you stand up at Minnesota, did you ever get into any zone drops?
GB: Ha-ha, yeah, I actually have. I wish that they would have thrown the ball to me and I would have taken it to the house, but I didn’t get the chance to.