NFL players have to be supremely confident in their abilities. Unfortunately, that bravado sometimes gets the best of them. Just ask former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker, Zach Brown, who decided to engage in some public trash-talk.
Before the Eagles game against the Vikings this past Sunday, Brown put his confidence on display, calling out Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins. When the linebacker couldn’t back up his trash-talking, however, he paid a serious price.
Brown’s ill-advised trash-talk
Zach Brown previously played with Kirk Cousins in Washington. That familiarity, it seemed, gave the linebacker the confidence to call out his opponent.
“Cousins, I think every defense is going to want that guy to throw the ball,” Brown said after Friday’s practice. “For me, that’s probably the weakest part of their offense is him. Everything else is good. They’ve got a good running game, probably one of the best in the league. They have real good receivers. You just want them to pass the ball. You want Kirk Cousins to get it in his hands.”
While Brown’s claims weren’t entirely inaccurate—the Vikings offense had been dealing with some internal conflict, as Stefon Diggs felt he wasn’t getting enough targets—he still provided some classic bulletin board material. Cousins would make him eat those words in a major way.
Kirk Cousins’ revenge
On Sunday, Cousins and Diggs linked up like a pair of long-time partners. The quarterback threw the ball 29 times on the afternoon, completing 22 passes. Diggs hauled in seven of them, racking up 167 yards and three touchdowns. It was a complete reversal of Browns’ prediction, as Cousins picked apart a weak Eagles secondary.
Brown finished the game with five tackles, one of which went for a loss and didn’t speak to reporters after the game. That performance, however, wasn’t good enough. In addition to losing the match-up 38-20, Brown lost his job. His willingness to make a bold statement and failure to back it up made him expendable in Philadelphia.
What comes next for Brown?
While Zach Browns’ comments may have been ill-advised, he’ll definitely land another NFL job. There are plenty of teams willing to overlook a bit of public stupidity if it means they can get defensive help.
Two potential landing spots are in the AFC West, with both the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders in dire need of defensive reinforcements. The former club’s infamously weak run defense is currently floundering and dragging down Patrick Mahomes; the latter could use a replacement for the suspended Vontaze Burfict.
The New York Giants and Tennessee Titans are also dealing with some injuries in the center of their defense and could use a veteran presence. While Browns’ numbers have tailed off since his big year with the Buffalo Bills, he’s still a capable player if you can sign him to an affordable contract.
Wherever he ends up, Browns’ new teammates will hope that he learned his lesson about the cardinal rule of trash-talk. If you’re going to call out an opponent publically, make sure your play can back it up on Sunday.