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Matt Elam, Arthur Brown Growing On Special Teams

Posted Sep 12, 2013

Once thought to be potential rookie starters, the Ravens’ top two picks are being patient.

Asked for his take on his first regular-season game, Arthur Brown looked pensive and stroked his beard.

“I felt like it was a stepping stone,” Brown finally said.

“There wasn’t really a whole lot as far as production goes. But I feel like there’s a progression that needs to take place.”

There was a time not too long ago when it looked as if the Ravens could have up to four rookie starters. The team’s top two picks – safety Matt Elam and Brown – seemed to have a great chance.

But both youngsters are for now making most of their impact on special teams, learning and growing into what they hope will be defensive roles sometime this season.

“There’s some antsyness being out there contributing,” Brown said. “But you can learn a lot being in the position that I’m in and Matt is in. It’s about understanding our role as players on special teams. That is definitely important as well.”

Special teams is very new to Brown. The rookie said he didn’t play special teams at Kansas State, where he was an immediate defensive captain. Blocking is entirely new for him.

Brown was the man at fault for the blocked punt in Denver. He was in charge of blocking Broncos safety David Bruton, but Denver’s special teams captain bulled through Brown’s outside shoulder and got his right hand in front of punter Sam Koch.

“Techniques were not good,” Special Teams Jerry Rosburg said. “We didn’t block the guy, it’s that simple. He’s a good rusher and we need to block him and we didn’t block him.”

Brown said special teams is still a “learning process.”

“There’s a lot that I don’t know about special teams and there’s a lot of technique that I’m learning at this point in time,” Brown said. “I’m still not where I want to be at this point.”

Special teams comes a bit more naturally to Elam. He shined there at Florida, and his excellent tackling ability, size and speed make him a natural.

“My role was on special teams and I did my job,” Elam said. “It was a pretty good game. I think I played very well. It gave me a little confidence.”

Elam is on all of the Ravens’ kickoff and punt units, a core member in that facet of the game. He also played a lot of special teams while at Florida, even when he was a starring safety.

“I made most of my plays on special teams in college,” Elam said. “I take it very seriously because it’s very important in this game. It’s a big thing for me.”

Brown is playing behind second-year linebacker Josh Bynes for the time being. Bynes took 68 snaps while Brown was given six. Brown was in three times in rush situations and three times in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus.

Elam is playing behind safeties Michael Huff and James Ihedigbo. Ihedigbo played all 74 defensive snaps in Denver, tied for the most on the team with inside linebacker Daryl Smith. Elam played 13 defensive snaps, stepping in for Huff at different points in the game.

Fans who saw Huff struggle with tackling in the regular-season opener called for more of Elam. But even the rookie admitted that when it comes to communication, he’s not yet on Huff’s level.

“I need to communicate on these guys’ level. Their communication is on a whole different level than the college level,” Elam said.

“It’s a very humbling experience. You’ve got guys here who have been around and know the plays. They’ve got experience. I need to keep growing and learning and improving and be ready when my name is called.”

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