Wide receiver Reggie Brown entered the off-season with the mindset that he was going to fight as hard as he could to regain the starting Z-receiver job that he lost to DeSean Jackson last season. Injuries slowed down Brown early in the 2008 season and by the end of the year he was inactive for games.
Brown may not beat out Jackson for the starting job, but he hasn't fallen behind Jason Avant or rookie Brandon Gibson on the newly released official depth chart. When Jackson missed a couple of workouts with a hyperextended knee, Brown got to take some reps in the old familiar spot with the first-team offense.
"We're all trying to become a unit out here and we need everybody to be at our best," Brown said. "I'm just filling in until he gets back. It's good to get some one-team time with Donovan to get on the same level, some good work."
Jackson returned to the field Sunday afternoon. Once upon a time, Brown was like Jackson in that he excelled in his rookie year. Brown set the team rookie receiver record with 43 catches in 2005 before Jackson broke it last season with 62. In 2006, Brown scored eight touchdowns and had 61 catches the following year. But last year he had 18 grabs for 252 yards and one touchdown in 10 games - all career lows.
"I still have some work to do," Brown said. "I've worked hard on getting my speed back this off-season, get my routes down in mini-camps and working with Jason Avant on trying to get to his level (as a route runner)."
Brown was never quite sure why he was inactive for three games, including the NFC Championship game, last year. However, he feels that he's had a fair shake in this training camp.
"I think so. I've had plenty of opportunities to come out here and make plays. That's all you can ask," Brown said.
In fact, we should expect to see a lot of Brown in the preseason. More so than in previous years when he was entrenched as the starter.
"It's just a chance for me to go out there and prove myself. I'm not going to look at it as a negative thing and just go out there and play ball," Brown said. "I didn't set any goals (for 2009). I just go out there and do the best that I can. If I go out and do that on every play, I'll be all right."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 3:33 p.m., August 9