Words from The Trenches, Gilbert Brown #93, The Grave Digger

Gilbert Brown, The Grave Digger,”excelled for ten years in The Trenches as the nose tackle for the

Gilbert Brown, Packers HOF, and Trench Fantasy Ambassador

Gilbert Brown, Packers HOF, and Trench Fantasy Ambassador

Green Bay Packers with 292 career tackles, 7 sacks, and the 1996 Super Bowl championship.

What is your most memorable moment in The Trenches?

When we played San Francisco in the mud. We were having fun like we were 12 years old. We whooped up on them too, which made it even more memorable, but just seeing the guys faces in the mud made it a great experience.

Can you provide an example of teamwork or camaraderie in The Trenches that the cameras never saw?

As far as the defensive line, we always had LeRoy Butler coming up to do sneak modes. We had to stunt or turn guys a certain way in order to create the space for LeRoy to sneak though. On the inside we also did a lot to make sure we got Reggie free or Santa free to rush one on one. There was a lot of team work to make the plays work.

What was most important to you during a game? What were the little things you kept an eye on or tried to do during every game?

The little things for me was watching the double teams and when they were coming. I would really watch the hands and stances of the offensive linemen it would tell me a lot.  I had to try to stay low at all times and move my feet because guys were always trying to chop my legs.
Was there a single player that you really looked forward to playing against?  Was it how they played? Was it their ability?

It’s hard for me to single anyone out because I always got double teamed but it was always a challenge to go against Nate Newton and Larry Allen. Larry used to come of that ball and when we’d hit it would be like two bulls ramming heads – wham!

Was there a single player that you really looked forward to playing against?  Was it how they played? Was it their ability?

The Dallas offensive line, they were like five big ol’ buffalo dancing like ballet dancers in tune. They were a power team. Denver was more of a finesse line, almost like chiguagas nipping at your ankles. They were both very good, but had very different styles.

What was the best advice you received from a coach or another player on how to be part of a team?

Fritz Shurmur always came to us at the beginning of practice and said it always starts with us. He would spend the first part of practice with us because we set the tone for the entire defense. The best thing he ever told me was to stay low and use my hands to shed blocks and to make sure my power base was good. He was a great coach.

What is your take on fantasy football games that only include QBs, RBs, WRs and focus on TDs?

We were the guys who hit every day in practice and in the game. We were always banging and never got days off. We were the most important guys in the game and we made the linebackers and DBs look pretty. The o-line and d-line, the game always starts there.

What was your initial reaction to hearing about the idea behind Trench Fantasy?

I was ecstatic because someone was finally giving the unsung heroes their just due. The guys in the trenches make everyone else look good. Emmitt Smith got a lot of good blocks to score all those touchdowns. Guys don’t catch touchdowns unless the quarterback gets time to throw. Trench Fantasy gives us our just due.
What is the one statistic, other than final score, that you think is the best measures the success or failure of a specific game?

I’m a defensive lineman so hurries and pressures and stops behind the line of scrimmage. If you pressure the quarterback and get him out of his rythym and can’t step up to throw you can make a lot of things happen and change the game. Pressure on the quarterback can definitely change the outcome of the game.
If a football fan was to look at one thing in The Trenches, what should they pay attention to on game day?

Pay attention to who’s getting off the ball at the snap. How fast is the d-line getting off and who’s getting across the line of scrimmage first, the o-line or the d-line. It’s amazing how you see guys who have that snap count down, it’s like they’re reading the quarterback’s mind.


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