The San Francisco 49ers offensive line struggled in Week 1, but Trent Brown was a bright spot. The third-year right tackle didn't allow a sack against the Carolina Panthers talented defensive front. Brown's 82.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus was the best of any 49ers player.
Brown will be tested again in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks. He'll see a mix of Seattle's trio of top pass-rushers – perennial Pro Bowlers Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril as well as third-year standout Frank Clark. Avril and Clark each had double digit sacks in 2016. All three got at least a half sack in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers (Bennett had 1.5).
"They pin their ears back and go," Brown said of those three. "They play relentless. There isn't much thinking for them, they just play ball. That's what makes them so good."
The way Seattle cross-trains its players and rotates its defensive line, Brown's matchup may vary on a snap-to-snap basis. That's why the best plan of attack may be no plan at all.
During training camp, Kyle Shanahan used the phrase "paralysis by analysis". Brown has experience against all three of Seattle's pass-rushers. That is far more valuable than any film he could watch. Understanding tendencies is one thing, but the last thing any lineman should do is predict what move is coming. That's especially true when Brown's matchup changes so regularly.
Sure, each player has a different skill set, but Brown still has to approach his job the same way.
"(I see them as) nameless and faceless," Brown said. "Film helps with certain tendencies, but if you are looking for specific moves and they don't happen, then you're in trouble. You have to rely on your own technique."
And Brown is confident in his ability to read and react off the ball. At 6-foot-8 and 355 pounds, there's no reason why Brown can't be the aggressor.
The 49ers team photographers will highlight a select playerâs gameday routine each week throughout the 2017 season.
"I don't let the rusher determine my set," Brown said. "I make my set determine the rush. If I do my part then it will be OK. I have to stay inside-out. I have to use what God gave me to my advantage. If I do that, I shouldn't get beat."
Beyond keeping Seattle's pass-rush at bay, San Francisco must clean up the procedural miscues that hindered the offense in Week 1. The 49ers were called for three false starts and two illegal formations. That's cause for concern regardless, but especially so when playing at home.
Things won't get any easier inside the raucous environment of CenturyLink Field.
"They definitely use the crowd to their strength," Brown said. "Noise will definitely play a factor as a positive for them, but as long as we clean up our communication, there won't be as many errors."
The 49ers o-line will have to hold its own if San Francisco hopes to get its first win in Seattle since 2011.