Toucher & Rich

BOSTON (CBS) – When offensive free agents sign with the Patriots, it’s commonplace to hear how hard it is getting on the same page with Tom Brady and learning all the intricacies of the system.

Rarely do we hear the same about defensive players, especially ones that have been here all offseason, training camp and the first month of the season.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported yesterday that Brandon Browner is “struggling to grasp” the Patriots defense, and that’s the reason he was not active Sunday night against Cincinnati.

Albert Breer of the NFL Network called in to Toucher & Rich Friday morning to offer his thoughts on the situation.

“Everything I’ve heard about Browner, they’re going to have to use him in a specialized role. He’s someone who does a couple of things very, very well. It fit what Pete Carroll wanted to do in Seattle. He’s long, he can get in guys faces at the line. He can set a physical tone with the receivers. But he was brought in here to be a specialist. I don’t think he’s a guy that’s going to be playing 70 snaps a game opposite Darrelle Revis,” said Breer.

On Revis, when the Patriots signed these two players in the offseason, fans mistakenly used the two cornerbacks interchangeably — “We got Revis and Browner!” — but Breer says that’s not fair to Browner.

For Browner to have a good season, Breer believes fans need to lower their expectations of him.

“He’s gonna be a matchup guy for the Patriots. You only want to ask him to do certain things, and I think that’s what he was brought here to do. [Playing time] is gonna be a matter of what the matchups dictate.”

Listen below for Breer’s full assessment, plus his take on the AFC and much more:

Also joining Toucher & Rich on Friday morning was former Patriots linebacker Rosevelt Colvin.

Colvin came over from Chicago to play in the New England defense once upon a time, so he knows firsthand just how hard it is to grasp.

“Bill Belichick’s defense and thought process when it comes to football is more complex than most,” Colvin said to lead the conversation. “Players have to be able to adjust week-to-week. You hope that’s not the case with Browner coming over from Seattle, that he can only play Cover-3 or zone — you’re not gonna get that with Bill. You’ve got to be able to be multi-talented and do multiple things at one time.”

Colvin thinks “the jury is still out” on Browner because he was suspended for the first four games, and likely wasn’t getting the bulk of snaps in practice to learn the system.

“It can be a process at times,” said Colvin.

Another aspect that’s unique to Browner is his affinity to only play on the right side of the defense, which Fred finds to be curious. Colvin says that sort of thing is normal in the NFL.

“Some guys are more comfortable on one side. They hit better, they come downhill better, they see the field better on one side. There have been guys in the Patriots system that have been like that. Asante Samuel, I think when he was there he just played the left side — and he flourished in that role. He had a lot of picks; he played the run better,” said Colvin. “I think that situation is less of a concern than why he’s not on the field. What is the reason he’s not out there, besides the suspension?”

Listen below for the full discussion with Rosevelt Colvin:

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