The Antonio Brown era is officially underway in Oakland. Brown along with head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock were all present for the introductory press conference. Here are my three biggest takeaways.
No. 1 A Fresh Start
Part of the rocky ending Brown endured in Pittsburgh was a straining relationship with his former quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. Brown appeared on “The Shop”, a new show started by NBA player LeBron James and gave his candid but verbally explicit thoughts regarding Big Ben.
Brown will now be paired with Derek Carr and with it brings a breath of fresh air. In regards to playing with Carr, Brown said, “It’s just refreshing. I think he’s hungry for success. Hungry for turning the organization around. Hungry to get on the winning side of things.” Brown added he is “hungry for the same thing.”
This duo, as noted by TMZ, was quick to get to know each other as they were spotted practicing at a park. Establishing chemistry on and off the field is paramount for the success of this team. Brown is certain Carr is the type of man he wants to be around as well. Brown shared, “We stand for the same causes. He’s a God fearing man, family first type people.” He continued with, “In the meetings and on the field, he’s just like a sponge trying to absorb everything.”
Considering Brown was able to put up eye-popping numbers with an ailing relationship with Roethlisberger hints that his production could see a spike with a quarterback he’s on the same page with.
Of course, this is the “honey moon” phase where everyone is all smiles and excited about what the future holds. I for one, am rather curious to see how this fresh start will play out in situations on game-day when things will be more tense. But for now, this is an enjoyable moment not only for Brown, but also for all of Raider Nation.
No. 2 Accountability
Brown made it a point, stressing the fact that he will bring a strong sense of accountability for all the receivers in Oakland. Last season for the Raiders, accountability wasn’t necessarily an issue, but consistent production was. The addition of Brown will cover both of those areas.
AB said to reporters, “I bring accountability. I bring actions, you know, not what I say, but what I do.” That doesn’t mean Brown won’t be talkative, because he certainly will, but his production on the field speaks for its self.
Over the last six seasons, Brown’s lowest reception total is 101 while his highest was a career best of 136 in 2015. Over that span, Brown has recorded 67 touchdown catches with an astounding 9,145 receiving yards. Safe to say Brown has the actions, now he will look to translate that production to leadership in the locker room as well.
No. 3 No Adjustments Needed
During the press conference, Gruden was asked if there would need to be any adjustments to help accommodate Brown’s presence. Gruden was quick to respond with, “We won’t have to adjust anything with this guy.”
Regarding the trade, Gruden remarked that he doesn’t “want to have a good receiving corps” rather, he wants “the best receiving corps in football.” Based off last season, the receivers in Oakland were far from the best and to label them as “good” might even be a stretch as well. Throughout the season there were individual flashes of brilliance followed by weeks of inactivity.
Brown is arguably the most talented receiver in the NFL and he’ll bring stability to the position. Gruden acknowledged this as he said, “I think to have the best [receiving corps], you have to have the best [player], and in my opinion, we acquired the best receiver in football.”
Gruden continued with his gushing remarks by praising the versatility Brown brings by saying, “He can play split end, he can play flanker, he can play in the slot and return punts, and sell popcorn at halftime!” Gruden ended by saying with a chuckle, “We’re excited about this guy.”
The love goes both ways as well. There were many factors that led to Brown joining the Silver and Black but two prominent reasons included the presence of Derek Carr and Jon Gruden. Speaking on Gruden, Brown shared that, “He’s an offensive guru. You get excited just talking with him. He’s got so much knowledge of the game.” Brown also said Gruden has “coached some of the greatest players ever, so he knows what it takes. He always makes sure you’re highly prepared.”