Brown takes pride in his no-sacks streak

Team­mates im­pressed with growth of rookie tackle; Charg­ers with­out Henry

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

has picked up where he left off.

Af­ter go­ing his en­tire ju­nior year at Ok­la­homa in 2017 with­out sur­ren­der­ing a sack at left tackle, the Ravens rookie has not given up a sack in 10 starts at right tackle, ac­cord­ing to Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus.

Ini­tially hes­i­tant to dis­cuss the ac­com­plish­ment be­cause he was “try­ing not to jinx the si­t­u­a­tion,” the 6-foot-8, 345-pound Brown ac­knowl­edged some pride in main­tain­ing a level of suc­cess from the col­lege level (which in­cluded only one sack al­lowed in 2016) to the pros.

“In col­lege, I very rarely got beat,” said Brown, the first of the Ravens’ two 2018 third-round draft choices. “That’s just some­thing I take pride in, pro­tect­ing the quar­ter­back. For­tu­nately, I was able to do that over 10 games, and we’ve got a lot more foot­ball left. So we’ll see.”

Brown’s ac­cel­er­ated de­vel­op­ment — which in­cludes rank­ing 15th among of­fen­sive tack­les in pass-block­ing ef­fi­ciency, ac­cord­ing to Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus — has been in­stru­men­tal for an of­fen­sive line that lost former start­ing right tackle af­ter six starts be­cause of a disk in­jury in his back. Brown, whose fa­ther

played for the Ravens and was af­fec­tion­ately known as “Zeus” be­fore his death in 2011, helped the of­fense fin­ish the reg­u­lar sea­son ranked sec­ond in the league in rush­ing at 152.6 yards per game. Right guard

the el­der states­man of the of­fen­sive line, has been im­pressed with Brown’s growth.

“I think the kid’s get­ting bet­ter ev­ery sin­gle week,” he said. “I think he’s grow­ing men­tally. He’s def­i­nitely get­ting some con­fi­dence that he can play in this game. He’s a big, strong man, and he’s do­ing a good job for us. He’s re­ally mov­ing guys on dou­ble teams. Like I’ve said, I’ve al­ways liked the kid’s ap­proach. He’s had a good, pos­i­tive at­ti­tude ev­ery sin­gle day, and he just needs to keep his head down and grind and keep grind­ing. But I like what I see.”

Brown re­turned the fa­vor, point­ing out that play­ing along­side a seven-time Pro Bowler in Yanda has aided his progress.

“Ob­vi­ously, he makes it a lot eas­ier, play­ing next to an All-Pro of­fen­sive guard,” he said. “I’m very for­tu­nate to have him and [cen­ter] and [tight end] work­ing on com­mu­ni­ca­tion and ev­ery­thing. It takes a lot of pres­sure off of me.”

With three penal­ties as­sessed to him, Brown is tied with Yanda for the sec­ond­fewest penal­ties among the start­ing of­fen­sive line­men. (Hurst leads with only one trans­gres­sion in 10 games.) Brown’s goal for ev­ery game is zero sacks, zero quar­ter­back hits and zero penal­ties.

“That’s how you play this game at this po­si­tion for a long time,” he said. “If you’re not giving up sacks or quar­ter­backs hits or hurt­ing your team with penal­ties, you can play a long time. So that’s what I’m try­ing to get to.” TO­DAY’S STAFF PICKS In­jury re­port: Los An­ge­les Charg­ers start­ing tight end was not ac­ti­vated off the phys­i­cally-un­able-to-per­form list Satur­day and will not play to­day against the Ravens in their AFC wild-card game.

Henry tore the ACL in his right knee dur­ing a May prac­tice and re­turned to prac­tice in mid-De­cem­ber. Coach An­thony Lynn said Fri­day that Henry would be on a “pitch count” if he played to­day. He was third on the team in both catches (45) and re­ceiv­ing yards (579) in 14 games last sea­son.

With Henry missing the 2018 reg­u­lar sea­son, 38-year-old led Charg­ers tight ends with 28 catches for 333 yards. Gates’ fum­ble late in the team’s Week 16 meet­ing with the Ravens led to a de­ci­sive de­fen­sive touch­down by cor­ner­back Charg­ers de­fen­sive tackle

re­mains doubt­ful to play to­day. He missed the team’s three prac­tices this week to be in Omaha, Neb., with his in­fant daugh­ter, Makenna, who is bat­tling a rare chro­mo­so­mal dis­or­der.

If Mebane is un­avail­able, the Charg­ers de­fense would be lim­ited up the mid­dle against the Ravens’ pro­duc­tive ground game. With start­ing lineback­ers

and out in­jured, the Charg­ers do not have a top-100 in­te­rior de­fen­sive line­man or line­backer, ac­cord­ing to Pro Foot­ball Fo­cus rank­ings. Reporter Jonas Shaffer con­trib­uted to this story.

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