Our SportsNation chat Tuesday included a topic I wanted to get to last week: The 14-pound sand-filled ball that Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson was shown using during a modified workout on the NFL Network. Namely: Is that really a good way to reduce fumbling?
Coach Brad Childress briefly explained the point last week. "It's physics," Childress said in comparing it to baseball players putting a weight on their bats while they're taking warm-up swings on deck. When you take the weight off, the bat feels lighter and theoretically can be moved faster through the strike zone.
Does that concept translate to football and fumbling? NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes questioned the connection during a recent broadcast, and I've had some doubts. Here is the conversation that ensued Tuesday:
Why is Peterson carrying a heavy football instead of using a silk sock on it like they did with Samkon Gado? Heavier football doesnt make much sense. It would probably be easier to hang onto with it being heavier.
Kevin Seifert (2:14 PM)
That's actually a good question. I'm not sure I understand how carrying a heavy ball will keep him from fumbling. It's not a strength issue. It's a carelessness issue.
Aaron Bellwood (Plant City)
carrying a heavier football requires a better, more complete grip of the ball, as well as simulating the ball being pulled from you by a defenseman. The silk sock would work too as far as the grip goes.
Kevin Seifert (2:26 PM)
But is grip the problem Peterson has? Or is it that he swings the ball away from his body when he's running?
Using the heavy ball makes AP aware of his grip which is what he needs to do to while he's running in game
Kevin Seifert (2:40 PM)
Interesting. I think that's a really fascinating topic for further discussion. Childress said it's modeled after baseball players who put weights on their bats when they're on deck. It makes the bat "feel" faster and lighter when you're swinging for real.
I think we can all agree Peterson is strong enough to hold on to the ball. My initial thought was that the feeling of a "lighter" -- i.e. real -- ball would be to make a player carry the ball even more delicately. (Think about carrying a sandbag and then a pillow.) But Rob makes a good point; perhaps the added weight will increase Peterson's general awareness of the ball.
You're welcome to "weigh in" below.