To understand what an intelligent, seasoned professional Duane Brown is, consider what the left tackle showed coaches on his first day as a Seattle Seahawk.
"He just ran about 50 plays and he didn't have even a glitch in any part of it," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "That's pretty remarkable."
"He looked great out there," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said after practice. "Just being able to step in and just be able to flow with the offense today was really impressive."
Added offensive line coach/assistant head coach Tom Cable: "He has the fortune early in his career of playing in almost the identical system for about five, six years, so the transition is going quite well. Terminology, landmarks, aiming points, communication, a lot of similarity. So it's a matter of recalling for him… It's not like you're teaching someone brand new. He's done it at a very high level, and based on what I've seen on tape from Sunday watching him play, our guys, and then at practice today, he's going to add a really cool dimension."
And to understand the type of physical specimen the Seahawks acquired in a trade with the Houston Texans, listen to Kam Chancellor, a teammate of Brown's at Virginia Tech.
"He's a big, physical, athletic, freakish guy, and also a great person as well," Chancellor said. "He has always been an overall freakish athlete, and he's always been a team player as well."
Freakish how, Kam?
"In college he was a wing on punt team; he used to run down and make tackles and stuff," Chancellor said, laughing at the memory. "He was big and huge, so that was something I just always remember… Or if the quarterback threw an interception, you'd see him running somebody down. I just remember those highlights from college."
For those who don't pay attention to punt team formations, the wing is the player lined up off the line of scrimmage next to a tackle, and usually it's a smaller, more agile player who can both block a good edge rusher and still sprint down the field to help make a tackle. For example, Seattle's wings in last week's game against the Texans were safety Bradley McDougald and tight end Luke Willson. So no, it's not normal, not even a little bit, for a 300-plus pound tackle to be covering punts as a wing.
Now in his 10th NFL season it's a safe bet that Brown won't be reprising that role with the Seahawks, but the three-time Pro Bowl left tackle will be on the field Sunday, one week after he played against the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field as a member of the Texans.
"I'm counting on an immediate impact," Carroll said.
One of the biggest reasons the Seahawks expect an immediate impact out of Brown, aside from his physical ability, is that he began his NFL career playing for offensive line coach Alex Gibbs, who was considered a master of the zone blocking scheme Seattle uses today. Gibbs and Cable worked together in Atlanta, and Cable coaches a system that's all but identical to what Brown learned from Gibbs early in his NFL career.
"He was coached in the exact same scheme from Alex Gibbs, years ago," Carroll said. "For years, six years of it, so the transition we can already see, it is going to be almost an immediate transition for him. He is a really smart player. He is mature and savvy and all that. You put that all together and he is going to be able to play right away and I think he is going to play effectively."
Brown has had what he called "a bit of a whirlwind of a week," playing against Seattle on Sunday, flying back to Houston with the team that night, only to learn Monday that the Texans and Seahawks were working out a trade to send him right back to Seattle. The on-field transition, however, has been made easier by the aforementioned similarities in what Seattle does now and what the Texans did for much of his career.
"It helps tremendously," Brown said. "I was in that system for my first six years in Houston, so I'm very familiar with it. It's just all about learning the terminology, starting to jell with the guys I'm playing beside, and get a feel for how they play. It's a lot of recall that I have from that system, which helps me out a lot."
As for the trade itself, Brown wasn't totally caught off guard by the move. He held out to start the season seeking a new contract before returning last week, so his name had been tied to plenty of trade rumors long before this week. And ending up in Seattle was about the perfect scenario, Brown said.
"Just a lot of excitement for me being able to come out here and play for this fantastic organization, with great players and great staff," Brown said. "It's been awesome; just getting acclimated to everything, learning my way around the facilities, and learning the playbook a little bit. It has been great."
Even from afar, Brown knew Seattle was a special place to play thanks to relationships he had with players like Chancellor, former Texans teammate Oday Aboushi, linebacker Bobby Wagner and right tackle Germain Ifedi.
"I've got relationships with guys here before I got here, and I told them just on the outside looking in how much I respected this place, and respected the locker room," Brown said. "It's like a real, real brotherhood here, they have a lot of fun, win a lot of games, and on the outside looking in, I saw that and I loved it. To be here and be a part of it now, there's no doubt in my mind that I would want to be here the rest of my career."
In addition to playing for a team that has enjoyed the kind of success Seattle has in recent years, Brown is also excited about playing at CenturyLink Field, something he had never done in his career before last weekend.
"Extremely excited," he said. "Actually, that was my first time ever playing in Seattle in my career, but you heard so much about the fan base here and about the 12s and about playing in that stadium and environment and the havoc it can cause for opposing teams. To be a part of it for the first time, it was very eye-opening from the first play on, like they were so loud, so into it, but it was a fun atmosphere. Even just as a competitor being in it, you were just like 'Wow, this is awesome,' and you kind of just sit back and absorb it. Now to be out there week-in and week-out for home games, I'm going to love it… It's going to be a little quieter for us out there, but I get to watch when the other offense struggle."
From holding out through six games to a trade this week, it's been an unusual season for Brown, but he's excited about how things have turned out.
"It's worked out pretty good for me, I have to say," he said. "I thought I did some great things in my career and I thought we had some great years there in Houston, but to come here and immediately be a part of a contender and a chance to win, it's worked out amazing. I couldn't ask for anything better."
The best photos from the Seahawks' Wednesday practice at Virginia Mason Athletic Center in preparation for Sunday's Game against the Washington Redskins.