Trash-Talking Zach Brown is Here to Win
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — If Zach Brown is within earshot you might as well prepare.
The veteran linebacker, who recently signed a one-year deal with the Eagles, is no shrinking violet and he likes to have fun. You can imagine what that might mean in an NFL locker room and the eight-year pro has finally found the kindred spirits he's been looking for after stints in Tennessee, Buffalo, and Washington.
“Everybody’s cool," Brown said of his new teammates in Philadelphia. "Ain’t nobody have a problem with anybody. This locker room is different than the locker room I came from [with the Redksins]. There are no cliques."
Using language that is not safe for most workplaces, Brown joked that the Eagles shouldn't have placed him near the running backs and receivers because he's been giving them "s@#$" non-stop, a hallmark of the 6-foot-1, 250-pound wrecking ball's style.
He and Eagles All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson even got into a high-profile public dustup back when they were rivals but trash talk is just a game in a competitive environment for both players.
Johnson hasn't been participating in on-field work at OTAs but he's been in and out of the NovaCare Complex so anyone expecting a heavyweight brawl from past transgressions doesn't understand that game.
“[Lane] was here last week, I was messing around with him all last week," Brown joked. "Ain’t nothing wrong with a little competition. Me and Lane, he’s right there [on the other side of the locker rrom], we talk, we chit chat every time. He’s a good person."
One of the strengths of the Doug Pederson era with the Eagles has been the culture cultivated and the closeness of the locker room, something Brown confirmed by explaining the difference between Philadelphia and D.C.
"It’s one big clique [with the Eagles],” he said. "I can go over there and mess with the linemen. Talk, chit chat, play cornhole."
And the Redskins?
“Linemen is linemen, they might talk to you, they might not,” Brown smiled.
Whether he's really that savvy or not is up for debate but Brown won over Philadelphia in record time by announcing his old team's dysfunction but the quick assessment here is that Brown just likes tweaking others. What is real, however, was the desire to get to the Eagles.
“Just being here is fun," Brown admitted. "It feels good. It feels different. When you walk into the building, it’s a different mentality."
As a big, old-school LB Brown projects as a two-down run-stuffer and perhaps the starting Mike in the base defense as the replacement for Jordan Hicks. However, when the Eagles go to nickel, it's going to be Nigel Bradham and perhaps Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, L.J. Fort or a to-be determined name next to him.
The Eagles aren't concerned that the former Pro Bowl selection will not accept a more limited role, however.
"He wants to win,” Eagles executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman said. "His desire to have an opportunity to win is something you can feel, and when you get guys like that who got hunger, who have this kind of fire in their belly to try to win, those are guys that we love bringing in here."
Brown seems to have already validated Roseman's assessment.
"They’re here to try and win the ring. They want to win," Brown said. "It’s not: ‘oh, we rebuilding’. They trying to get back to the big game and I’m trying to get there.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen