Two hundred and twenty-three tackles in two seasons weren't enough for the Washington Redskins to keep linebacker Zach Brown for 2019. So, it would seem only natural that Brown is licking his chops and out to show the Redskins a thing or two on Sunday when the teams open the regular season at Lincoln Financial Field.
Uh, Brown is here to ruin a good revenge story. To borrow a cliché, Sunday is "just another football game for Brown.
"No. It's not like (the Redskins) are the team that drafted me or anything," Brown said. "They're the team I picked (in free agency) after (playing in) Buffalo. This is just another game. It's better because I know them a lot. It kind of, you know, made it easier. As I watch film I'm saying, 'I know this. I remember how this goes. I remember when Jordan (Reed, tight end) is here. And it helps to know who their main receiver is.'
"They have a new quarterback in their system so they'll probably have more RPOs (run-pass options), try to run the ball. Really run the ball now because they have (running back Derrius) Guice back. It's going to be interesting to see what happens because they've got three good backs."
Brown said that Guice is a "hard runner" who goes "north and south" and rarely runs laterally. Guice is a second-round draft pick from 2018 who spent all of his rookie season on Injured Reserve after suffering a preseason knee injury. Brown thinks that knowing the Redskins' personnel will help him "a lot" as he makes his Eagles debut.
Signed as an unrestricted free agent in May, Brown dug into the Eagles' defensive playbook through the summer and says he has the scheme down. He's excited to play in Jim Schwartz's system, one that puts players in positions of strength.
And Brown's strength is getting to the football. A Pro Bowl player from the 2016 season who enters his eighth NFL year, Brown is healthy after opening last season with a torn oblique muscle. He's good to go, he's excited to be an Eagle, and he, like everyone else, has high expectations.
"We've got everybody here and it's time to go," Brown said. "It feels good. It feels real good."
The only disruption as the regular season nears for Brown is a change of jersey number – from 51 in the preseason to 52 now. Brown said he "wasn't feeling" No. 51 and that "it was an ugly number, anyway."
So, he's 52 and ready to start game No. 1 in an Eagles uniform.
"I'm there in the defense. Whatever Jim throws at me, whatever he asks me to do, I'm going to do it," Brown said. "He's got a sense, he knows his players, he knows his players' weaknesses and strengths. Jim always puts you in a position to take advantage of your opponent."