Bryce Brown ran like a superstar in place of LeSean McCoy last season, but he didn't protect the ball like one. In his first 2 starts, he ran for 347 yards and 4 TDs... but lost 3 fumbles.
If he could fix the fumbling problem, the Eagles could legitimately boast one of the top couple backfields in the NFL. For that problem, Chip Kelly has a solution. For Michael Vick it was a new grip , but for Brown it's a weighted ball.
"I think they're eight pounds," Brown said. "We do a lot of work with that. Run a whole lot. A lot. Cutting. Things like that.
"When you go back and watch film, a lot of cuts I make, the ball kind of got extended. With the weighted balls, it teaches me to keep the ball in tight."
A typical ball is about a pound.
Using heavy balls as a solution to fumbling issues is nothing new, but it's intuitive. For Michael Vick, it's obvious that his fumbles come from his grip. He usually holds the ball in one hand or kind of traps it against his body when running. Not good form. For Brown, he seems to hold the ball correctly, but as he said he lets it get away from his body at times.
A heavier ball is harder to hold and makes you think more about securing it. You're really changing the muscle memory. Will it work with Brown? We can only see when the bullets are live but the good news is that the Brown and the team have diagnosed the issue and are at least working to solve it.
[Note by JasonB, 05/31/13 4:20 PM EDT ] Great piece of digging by Brandon on this. Adrian Peterson fumbled 20 times from 07-09. After 2009, he incorporated heavy balls into his offseason training. Since then, He's fumbled just 6 times.