Orlando Brown: Life sans Marshal Yanda 'so different'

Orlando Brown’s right-hand — well, left-hand, technically — man is no longer in Baltimore.

Marshal Yanda retired in March after a 13-year career in Baltimore, and as Brown approaches his third professional season, he’s suddenly without the rock-solid veteran.

"It’s going to be so different," Brown said Thursday, via NBC Sports Washington. "He’s been next to me almost every snap for the last two years and he’s helped me grow as a player, helped me grow as a person and, most importantly, I’m going to miss being able to ask him questions. It’s very rare you get someone that’s been in the league for 13 years and been able to play at a high level for so long. I didn’t take it for granted at all."

Brown is capable of handling his job without the ultra-reliability of Yanda, who likely had more of an influence on Brown’s improvement as a pro than one might realize. The tackle had two full seasons to soak up as much as possible from Yanda, and earned his first Pro Bowl selection last year as part of a Ravens team that went 14-2 before a stunning Divisional Round loss to Tennessee.

Now he’s tasked with continuing to improve without the help of Yanda, an eight-time Pro Bowler who Brown said Thursday should be a first-ballot selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

"Just that energy and that passion that he played with," Brown said. "What Marshal did every day, whether that be practice, walkthrough, playing lower, playing faster, playing more physical, trying to finish as many blocks as he could. I think everyone should be trying to implement that into their game."

Brown will have the benefit of already knowing Yanda’s replacement, Ben Powers, who appeared in one game in 2019 and whom Brown called his best friend going back to their days together at Oklahoma.

"Ben is one of my best friends and has been since he came to OU," Brown said. "We started pretty much two or three years together (at Oklahoma). He’s a God-fearing man. He’s someone who works hard. In my opinion, he’s never had an issue getting a job, or winning a job. He’s always done that throughout his career. He’s always been someone that’s always been an underdog or underrated."

Might the chain of football wisdom that started with Yanda now extend through Brown to Powers? That’s wishful thinking, sure, but crazier things have happened. We’ll leave it to those on the field to prove one way or another.

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