Tue, 26 May 2020

LB Jatavis Brown: 'I'm ready to fly high' in defense

Philadelphia Eagles
29 Mar 2020, 18:12 GMT+10

In the defensive scheme the Philadelphia Eagles employ, linebacker Jatavis Brown has a chance to play in space and use his speed to get to the football, and that's just fine with him.

"I love it. I love the way they play and how aggressive they are," said Brown, who signed a one-year contract with the team in free agency. "They go out and get it."

Brown has a fresh start after four up-and-down seasons with the Chargers. A fifth-round pick from Akron in 2016, Brown plays the game with athleticism and intelligence. Brown packs speed and power into his 5-foot-11, 221-pound body. He joins a linebacker group that should be highly competitive when the team gets on the field with players who can move well and who have the kind of versatility that coordinator Jim Schwartz loves.

With 23 starts and 56 games played under his belt from four seasons with the Chargers, Brown thinks a fresh start in a new defense is exactly what he needs to find a steady niche in the league.

"Oh man, it feels great. I'm excited for the opportunity they gave me," said Brown, calling from California. "I want to thank the Eagles organization for giving me the opportunity to be part of their team and culture. I'm excited, grateful, and ready to get to work. I'm ready to fly high."

His time with the Chargers was inconsistent. At times, for long periods of time actually, Brown looked like he would be a big part of the Chargers' defense. He was terrific as a rookie with seven starts, 73 total tackles, 3.5 quarterback sacks, and eight passes defended. The Chargers used Brown in a lot of ways and he responded. Brown started five games in 2017, played in all 16 and produced a career-best 13 quarterback hits/pressures - up from 10 in his rookie campaign - and contributed 73 total tackles - 15 of those tackles, with 13 solos, came in a September 11 game at Denver - and two tackles for loss. And then in 2018, Brown continued playing a high percentage of snaps (61 percent) and finished second on the team with 100 total tackles.

A late-season ankle injury knocked Brown out for the postseason and kept him off the field through the Chargers' spring drills and into Training Camp.

He never recovered from a playing-time standpoint, participating in just 92 defensive snaps in the 2019 season.

He's an Eagle now with an eye on competing and "playing the game I love to do more than anything else, and that's playing football."

It helps that he's got a high school teammate, cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc, ready to be his initial point of contact in the NovaCare Complex locker room.

"The culture there, those guys know how to win. They compete. You can tell by how they play on Sunday," Brown said. "I think it's a good fit for me and I'm excited to be there. The fans are going to see a playmaker, somebody who enjoys going out there and competing and having fun. I'm going out there and balling every week."

The Eagles don't have anything set in stone at linebacker and they certainly could add to the position in the NFL Draft after releasing Nigel Bradham and seeing Kamu Grugier-Hill sign with Miami in free agency. With players like Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, and Alex Singleton, the playing time is there to be won by those who perform the best in the preseason.

Brown intends to be in the mix. Very much so.

"I'm going to learn the defense and go out and play my best football," he said. "I feel like this is a good fit for me. I can't wait to get started."

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