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5 Questions with Pats Pulpit on Malcom Brown

Rich Hill from Pats Pulpit joins us to preview one of the newest defensive linemen for the Saints.

NFL: New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Our friend Rich Hill over at SB Nation’s Pats Pulpit on the New England Patriots, was kind enough to answer a few questions about one of the new additions to the New Orleans Saints: DT Malcom Brown.

Looking at Malcom Brown’s statistics, he seems solid if uninspiring. In a nutshell, what can the Saints and their fans expect out of Brown in the middle of the defensive line?

Brown was a solid defensive tackle with the Patriots, but could shine more in a different scheme. He’s a great run defender when allowed to be aggressive from the three-technique, which is where he stood out next to Alan Branch. But when Branch left, Brown was tasked to take over that space-eater role and he was not as well fit for that job.

If the Saints allow him to be more aggressive in the middle of the defense, he should be a great run defender with some pass rushing upside. But if he’s asked to take on multiple blockers, he won’t fare as well.

For the first time in his career, Brown failed to register a sack in 2018. What do you think was the culprit here? Was it lack of effort, lack of ability, bad luck, or something else?

Part of why the Patriots asked Brown to be a space-eater was the emergence of Lawrence Guy as a high-quality three technique. Guy was better at the job than Brown had been, so Brown had to transition to the new role.

Simply put, that role is not conducive to racking up stats, like sacks or hurries. The job is to allow the other defensive tackles or linebackers to make plays. Brown did that extremely well and received a lot of praise from his teammates. That selflessness deserves a lot of credit.

The Patriots defense had its ups and downs last year. If Brown were the only player to leave the defense and no new pieces were added, would it be better or worse in 2019?

It would be worse because he was such a vital and versatile piece in that defense. The Patriots operate in a three defensive tackle rotation, with a fourth player seeing time on passing downs. Removing Brown would hurt the Patriots defense plenty.

And, honestly, that could be said about any of the Patriots defensive tackles. The Patriots’ defense had its worst three-game stretch against the run when they made Danny Shelton a healthy scratch. Shelton was the third defensive tackle in the rotation, and I imagine removing Brown would have made a worse impact.

Last year, were there any locker room concerns as far as Brown is concerned?

None whatsoever. All his teammates praise him and go as far as to say he’s the most underrated player on the defense. He’ll do whatever is asked of him.

Brown signed a 3-year, $15 million dollar deal to come to New Orleans. Was this an overpay, did they get a bargain, or was it just right?

Depending on how they use Brown, it could be just right. If Brown plays a similar role as he did in 2016-17, then he might become a bargain. If he plays the same role as he did in 2018, then it’s an overpay.

I’d split the difference because I’m not sure how he’ll be used. But regardless of scheme, the Saints have a player that will give all of his effort and ability.

Thank-you, for taking the time to talk with us! Saints fans, make sure you check out their work over at Pats Pulpit. You can follow them on Twitter at @PatsPulpit and Rich @PP_Rich_Hill. Of course, as always, you can follow me on Twitter @dunnellz.