FOXBOROUGH — Tarell Brown has hardly had much time to focus on anything other than football since joining the Patriots less than a month ago.
For the veteran cornerback, who signed with the Patriots as a free agent in July, most of his time spent outside the team facility is dedicated to learning the team’s terminology.
In the three weeks he’s been here, Brown said, he’s already filled a binder with keys and notes, and he’s almost always shuffling through flash cards — an effort to position himself to be on the field for meaningful snaps when the regular season begins.
“I have a couple of little things I do that help me pick up things a lot quicker than usual, the same way I used to study for tests in school,” said Brown. “You can’t cheat out here because you need to know your calls or you’ll get beat.
“I’ve already finished a full binder of notes, just little things I brief and refresh myself on every night and in the morning. If I’m in a car catching a ride, or I might be going to the movies, I don’t watch the credits, that’s overrated. Now I’ve been in training camp, I don’t get time to watch movies.”
During Monday’s practice, Brown had a strong showing in the secondary.
While the Patriots worked on situations where the quarterbacks threw into tight windows, Brown made consecutive interceptions, both on deflections — one against Tom Brady and one against Jimmy Garoppolo.
The first one from Garoppolo deflected off Danny Amendola and into Brown’s hands. The next play, Brady’s pass to Brian Tyms was broken up by Duron Harmon and Brown was there to snag it.
“It’s always good to make sure you know the situation, down in and down out, because during the games, things move a lot faster,” said Brown. “We worked on a few things today. Offense did a great job, defense did a great job.”
Brown was back on the field after he had come off in the middle of Saturday’s practice. Brown, who was put on injured reserve last season with a broken foot and missed the Raiders’ last two games, said leaving Saturday’s practice was just a precaution.
“Checking on a few things and that was about it,” Brown said. “It was just something that we were dealing with earlier in the week, and it was just the trainers being precautious.”
Monday was a good day for Brown to be a full participant as the team prepares to leave for joint practices with the New Orleans Saints in West Virginia. It was a thorough session that lasted more than two hours despite temperatures climbing into the 90s, which still wasn’t enough to stop Brown from wearing long sleeves.
“It’s not that bad,” he said. “It gives you a little extra sweat, something I’ve been doing since I’ve first started in the league. Keeps me from pulling muscles. Prehab before rehab.”
There are still questions regarding the Patriots secondary after the departures of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Kyle Arrington, which leaves Brown ready to do whatever is asked of him.
While spending seven seasons with the 49ers and last season with the Raiders, Brown primarily played outside corner; on Monday, he played inside against Amendola.
“We’re all out here to do a job, and whatever they ask me to do, I’m out here to do,” Brown said. “Have to learn it, have to come out here, compete at it and be the best I can be every day.
“I think it’s a lot more option routes, choice routes on the inside. You’re dealing with a lot more smaller, quicker guys. You’ve got to get your hands on them a lot faster. Besides that, it’s pretty much the same. You’ve just got to cover your man.”
While Brown missed last Thursday’s preseason game against the Packers, it appears he’ll be ready to get playing time Saturday against the Saints.
Until then and moving forward, he’ll continue to put in the work to carve a role for himself.
“I never get comfortable,” he said. “When you get comfortable, you get left behind. I never want to get complacent in this business or any type of business.
“For me, I’m starting to get comfortable in the language of the football. But as far as out here competing, I can never get comfortable. I’m excited to put my best foot forward every day to compete with these guys.”