If there was one thing Arizona Cardinals receiver John Brown was last year, he was fast. He was not very big and he, in the words of head coach Bruce Arians, "hit the wall about December 1" and his play declined a bit. It wasn't unexpected as "most rookies do."
So to help with endurance and strength, Brown has changed his body a bit in the offseason.
When asked about whether Brown has changed his eating habits, Arians joked, "I don't know, he's still little."
Then, speaking more seriously, he said Brown has gained "about 10 pounds," focused on his upper body, and his speed is still there.. "You can tell," Arians said. "He doesn't get knocked around as much as he did last year."
There is a common concern with gaining weight. Many believe it makes players slower. Brown disagrees with what he has done. "The advantage (to gaining weight) is I can be more explosive," he said. "I feel like I'm much faster."
Brown added he is "better than ever" and he is "comfortable" with the weight he has added, saying, "it doesn't slow me down at all."
One of the main reasons Brown needed to add weight is to be stronger and to withstand the physical nature of the NFL over a long season. When asked if it was so he can take more hits, he said, "I'm not trying to take hits at all, but I will take hits, but it enables me to bounce right back up and to keep me going far into the season."
Brown finished his rookie season with 48 catches for almost 700 yards. He scored five touchdowns, although he did not find the end zone in the last seven games of the year. He did not reach five catches in a game after November 16.
There are some who believe Brown can be as productive and explosive a player as other smaller, faster receivers Bruce Arians has had on his teams -- Antonio Brown and T.Y. Hilton. In 2014, Brown caught 129 passes for almost 1700 yards and 13 touchdowns. Hilton had 82 receptions for over 1300 yards and seven scores.
Hilton is 5-10 and 183 pounds. Antonio Brown is 5-10, 180. John Brown is listed at 5-11, 179, although if Arians is right in Brown gaining about 10 pounds, he would be closer to 190.
If Brown can add a little strength to his speed and fluid movement, he will be in a position to have a very good season in just his second year.