Centers Matter

ExtremeRavens .comCorrespondent IOctober 15, 2009

ESPN has a piece up today by Jeffri Chadiha about the emergence of centers as the new stars of NFL offensive lines. It’s an interesting read, and the Ravens feature prominently throughout the article. It includes a good few notes from Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome on how the 3-4 is changing offensive play in the league, but other Ravens players and coaches feature as well. Check it out here.

But one of my favorite pieces of the read is the first few paragraphs about former Ravens center, now with the Rams, Jason Brown. It tells the story of Brown going into his meeting with the Rams during free agency and touts not only Browns playing ability, but his poise and professionalism off the field.

Jason Brown’s briefcase was the first indication that he was going to be all business when he made a free-agent visit to the St. Louis Rams in March. The team knew the 26-year-old center had everything they coveted for the position: agility, intelligence, leadership ability and a sturdy, 6-foot, 3-inch, 328-pound frame. What they couldn’t have anticipated was his meticulous preparation.

After pulling a legal notepad and a ballpoint pen from that briefcase, the Baltimore Ravens free agent interrogated the team’s officials like a defense attorney bracing for a career-making day in court.

Scribbling notes furiously and firing questions rapidly, Brown drilled head coach Steve Spagnuolo and general manager Billy Devaney on every possible topic. He wanted to know the vision for the team and the best schools for his children. He asked why certain coaches were hired and how he could jump-start his community work.

Brown was a stand-up guy for the Ravens for his time here and is clearly continuing that in St. Louis. It’s nice to catch up with former favorites every once in a while.

The article ends with a discussion of Brown and new Ravens center Matt Birk, and how big of an impact both have had in developing the Ravens offensive line over the last few seasons.