When Owner Steve Bisciotti and Head Coach John Harbaugh discussed what the Ravens still need to address this offseason, both of them pointed to the No. 3 cornerback spot behind
The job opened up when Corey Graham signed with the Buffalo Bills. Baltimore could fill the need in free agency or the draft, but fourth-year cornerback
“I feel that No. 3 spot is on lock by me,” Brown said before a workout at the Under Armour Performance Center. “They can bring players in and keep competition going, but I went through competition my whole life.”
Brown isn’t the only one confident in his ability to take on a larger role. Harbaugh said the 27-year-old defender is primed to step up this season.
“Chykie’s ready,” Harbaugh said at the NFL owners meetings. “We’ll see how ready. He’s ready to make a run with a lot more playing time.”
Brown has stayed in Baltimore during the offseason to work on honing his game, and Harbaugh has been impressed with his work ethic. He is heading into the final season of his rookie contract, and he’s motivated for a big year after seeing some of his teammates like Arthur Jones, Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe cash in with breakout seasons during a contract year.
“It’s a big season, and a big opportunity in front of me,” Brown said. “Every season is big, but this is a contract year, so it’s an opportunity for me to make some plays, catch teams’ eyes. This is a big season for me, so that’s why I’m getting a head start right now.
“I’m trying to stay ahead of the game. While everybody else is out enjoying the offseason, I’m still working.”
Brown specifically said that he is working to improve his footwork, hand-eye coordination and overall strength. He wants to play more press coverage next season, so getting stronger and improving his movement is critical.
He has talked several times this offseason with Harbaugh, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Secondary Coach Steve Spagnuolo about fine tuning his game.
“The biggest thing with him is attention to detail,” Harbaugh said. “He’s way more detail-oriented than he used to be. That’s been the key for him. If he’ll be a detailed press corner – if he’ll put his hands on people and stay squared and be physical at the line of scrimmage and communicate with the safety on every single play – Chykie can play. It’s the lapses that he has to get out of his game. He knows that. He’s working hard at that.”
Brown was the Ravens’ No. 4 cornerback last season behind Graham, Smith and Webb, and finished the year with two tackles and one pass defensed. The pass breakup came on a critical two-point conversion against the Steelers on Thanksgiving where he forced an incompletion by wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Brown has mostly played special teams during his three years in Baltimore, but he does have experience on defense. During the 2012 season, Brown was used as the No. 3 cornerback and even had a spot start because of the injury riddled Ravens secondary.
“It’s been a great experience to show the coaches that they picked me up in the fifth round, late, but I can play at a high level,” Brown said. “I kind of think that’s the reason why they kept me around, because I can play special teams and I can step in and be a starter at any time when one of the guys goes down.”
Brown will get his chance to earn a significant role on the defense during training camp this summer, and he will use the next few months to make sure Harbaugh’s expectations come to fruition.
“He thinks I’m ready, and I think I’m ready too,” Brown said. “It’s just a matter of me showing him what I’ve been doing this offseason.”