Few Arizona Cardinals, in recent memory, have been as maligned as Levi Brown.
An offensive lineman taken with the fifth overall in 2007 out of Penn State, he has not been able to live up to what were likely unreasonable expectations.
Yet, his absence last season due to a torn triceps was noticeable, as the offensive line, which was not particularly good to begin with, was significantly worse without him.
So, where does that leave the 29-year-old? Kind of in the same place he’s always been, not worrying about what everyone is saying and just going out and trying to play well.
“It’s just how I am,” he said of why he can just take all the criticism with a grain of salt. “It’s the way my parents raised me, I guess, I don’t know. I guess that’s just how I’ve always been.”
That’s not to say Brown, who has spent his entire career playing for the Cardinals under Ken Whisenhunt’s coaching staff, does not have room to improve. Entering his seventh NFL season, Brown says he can still improve his footwork and hand placement, which he says will go a long way toward helping him improve in both pass and run blocking.
Improvement would be good, for both Brown and the offensive line as a whole. A weakness last year after giving up a league-high 58 sacks to go along with a league-low 1,204 total rushing yards, the hope is a new coaching staff along with an upgrade in talent will turn the group into a strength. But on a personal level, Brown understands that all fans, not just the ones in Arizona, tend to be especially critical of left tackles around the league.
“If we mess up, obviously, their favorite player can get hurt or their favorite player doesn’t get the ball,” he said with a chuckle. “So it’s understandable. You’ve got to be perfect, and it’s hard to do.”
Brown added that his rehab is going well and that while he’s not yet back at full strength, he feels “comfortable” with where he’s at.