Jamaal Charles tripped in the backfield the other night in Kansas City’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. My first thought: He’s rusty.
The Chiefs’ star running back had missed some practice and game No. 2 of the preseason with a hurt foot, and as with any injury in the NFL, it takes some time to get back into game speed.
My suspicions were proven right when Charles admitted to the media that he’s still feeling a bit rusty after the injury. When asked how his foot was feeling, he said this:
It’s feeling good. I played today. I’m kind of rusty. I tripped on one of my runs. I’m glad to be back on the field. I’m blessed to be able to play again and stay healthy.”
A good running back possesses many skills and attributes, but arguably the most important is footwork and agility.
I coach running backs in high school, and we literally spend hours a week working on our quick footwork. That’s how important it is. As a running back you have to be able to quickly cut, plant, and move using the least amount of steps as you possibly can. You also have to bend your knees and open your hips. You need a low center of gravity and you must have good balance.
All of that comes down to footwork and agility, and that’s why its going to take a while for Charles to get back into the swing of things.
When you’re sore, you can’t plant and cut as well. You’re feet don’t move as quick, and everything just moves a bit slower. Combine that with the time it takes to get back into the speed of the game, and it makes plenty of sense that Charles is still feeling a bit rusty.
Thankfully, the Chiefs’ star running back still has just under two weeks to knock off that rust in time for the 2013 regular season.
I for one, have no reason to think he won’t be ready to go.
Note: Quotes Via Chiefs Communications