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Friday, August 23, 2013
How Duane Brown learned to avoid holding

By Tania Ganguli

When Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub heard someone on his line was called for holding during Saturday night's game, he asked quarterbacks coach Karl Dorrell who the culprit was.

"Duane," Schaub recalls Dorrell replying.

"No way! I don't believe that," Schaub said.

Duane Brown
Texans left tackle Duane Brown has so honed his blocking technique that, in five NFL seasons, he has been penalized for holding only twice.
Holding on 76 is a rare call these days. In 76 regular-season games, left tackle Duane Brown has had only two holding penalties.

That wasn't the case in college. Technique wasn't exactly No. 76's strong point entering the NFL.

And without solid technique, it's difficult, even impossible, to mount an NFL career that so far includes only two holding penalties. Avoiding holds means being sound enough not to have to resort to a hold. It was something Brown learned along the way.

"I really didn’t become that good of a technician at the left-tackle position until just a couple of years ago," Brown said. "Hand placement and footwork is something I struggled with my first couple of years in the league. Over time, it’s just something I worked at. You try to latch onto guys, but you have to get them off at some point in time and you have to move your feet just to stay in front of them."

He credited offensive-line coach John Benton for part of that development and named former Texans linemen Chester Pitts, Ephraim Salaam and Eric Winston as players who helped teach him.

Brown was surprised, too, to be called for holding during Saturday's preseason game.

"I was a little shocked the way that the play was developed," he said. "I kind of baited the inside move and he took it and I thought I let him go and apparently they thought I held him a little longer than I should have. You never like to get flagged, and I really take pride in that. Better now than the regular season, I guess."