|Ravens CB Chykie Brown has earned himself playing time in Baltimore's nickel package. (US Presswire)|
Brown immediately knew he had to be ready to return to the big stage. After being the third corner in games against San Diego and Pittsburgh, Brown was relegated to the bench for the Washington and Denver games in favor of corners Chris Johnson and Jimmy Smith.
But the Ravens decided to put Brown back out there against the Giants, giving him another shot to succeed on Baltimore's defense. It wouldn't be an easy task going against two of the NFL's better receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Throw in Rueben Randle and Domenik Hixon and you're talking about one of the best receiving groups in the league.
Brown relished the challenge, though, and came up big with four pass deflections and two tackles (one for loss). It was a game that should give him momentum for the coming weeks.
"It helped me out with my confidence," Brown said. "It lets you know that just because I'm young (opposing teams) aren't going to test me a ton. I'm going to stand up for myself."
Brown is a second-year cornerback out of Texas, selected by the Ravens in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. He was taken in the same class as Smith, Baltimore's first-round selection, who he now appears to be ahead of on the depth chart.
Smith had sports hernia surgery almost two months ago and is still working out the soreness, which has affected his play. With the opportunity, Brown has begun to make a name for himself in the defense's rotation.
Following the Giants game, coach John Harbaugh met with Brown to discuss both the positives and negatives of his game.
"He's really starting to gain some confidence," Harbaugh said. "There were a couple of things that didn't look right on tape that we talked about. But he's getting to the point now as a player where he can explain or articulate why he's doing things, what he saw or what he thought the defense called for, and they make sense."
Harbaugh added: "You can understand what he's saying. It may not be right, but he's starting to really think the game out there. That's good to see in a young corner."
Brown's stellar outing caught the attention of his teammates as well, who saw Brown's breakout game coming sooner than others outside of the organization may have thought.
"He's a guy who understands the game," S Bernard Pollard said. "He's a young talent that's waiting to just come out. You see it the last couple of weeks. He's getting there. He knows his gifts, he knows what he has."
Said S Ed Reed: "I told Chykie to keep building. Even though he is a young guy, he has a lot to build on. We just have to keep growing, get better.”
When Brown found out he'd be getting his snaps back in the nickel package, he said he forced himself to hone in and focus on the task at hand. He studied as much film as he could in preparation for facing the Giants' receivers.
His practice paid off, and it's now working out in his favor. With the Bengals up next, Brown is hoping a repeat performance is on the way.
"All I can do is get better and stack another good game," Brown said.