The 2018 season was a strange one for Jaron Brown, statistically speaking.
In his first year with the Seahawks, and seventh in the NFL, Brown had 14 catches for 166 yards, well off the numbers he posted in Arizona the previous season. But Brown also made the most of those limited opportunities, hauling in five touchdown receptions, a career-high total that was tied for the second most on the team.
Now, with a year in Seattle's offense under his belt, and with a very real chance to win a starting job or at least a big role in the passing game, Brown is looking to show that 29 isn't too old to have a breakout season in the NFL.
"I still haven't played my best ball, I feel like that," Brown said following another strong training camp practice. "I feel great, I still feel young and I still feel like I'm able to run with these young guys, so as long as I continue to stay healthy, the sky's the limit."
Undrafted out of Clemson in 2013, Brown has had a solid career, and nothing points to that more than the fact that he is heading into his seventh season, a rarity for anyone in this league, let alone an undrafted player. But in Arizona, he always played in the shadow of Larry Fitzgerald, a lock to someday be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And while he was an important part of Seattle's offense last year, he was, by the admission of his coaches, underutilized as a pass-catcher.
"We probably underutilized him last year, I probably did," offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. "We as a staff did. He does everything right, you see him doing all the dirty work in the running game, he's physical, all the details that he does… There's not a guy out there that I trust more than Jaron to do anything. To run a route, to block, we put him in protection roles, not a lot of guys do that. So selfless, so all about the team, great teammate, really good player that we expect big things from this year."
With Doug Baldwin no longer on the team, there is a starting job open, and so far in camp, Tyler Lockett, Brown and David Moore have been the regular starters with the No. 1 offense. There will be plenty of competition for those spots, including from second-round pick DK Metcalf, who has been impressive early in camp, but Brown has done nothing but show he is ready for a bigger role in 2019.
"He's a starting receiver in this league, he's got starting skills, he's a playmaker," Schottenheimer said. "He stepped up last year and did all kinds of things for us, so I don't think there's anything he can't do, it's just us finding all the roles, and that's what's going to be fun, rotating all these guys though. There's a lot of guys on that team at receiver that can help us."
Added quarterback Russell Wilson: "He's explosive, he knows how to play the game. Coming from Arizona, they threw the ball a ton. Being around Larry (Fitzgerald) and those guys, he really understands the game, he really understands concepts and how to get open and how to get separation. He did a great job of that last year. He's great in scramble drills and blocking, too. He just does it all right. You can't get any more exact and perfect on what he's doing and how he's doing it. He's a true pro. It's great to have him as a receiver for us. He has been exceptional for us. It's been exciting, his plays. Going back over the film from last year, man, we have to get him more involved. He's really special. He caught, I don't know, five touchdowns last year, I believe. Can he double down on that? If we can double down on that, that's a good thing for us."
Photos from the fifth open practice of Seahawks 2019 training camp, presented by Safeway held on Tuesday, July 30 at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center.