Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens showcases a bounce-out by Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard and reveals that the toe is the key dynamic change of direction.
Jordan Howard is not the 1st, 5th, or even 20th running back anyone would mention when discussing ball carriers who possess a dynamic change of direction, which is why he’s the perfect subject for the conversation. Known as a bruiser, Howard’s change of direction elevates his game and he displays instructive technical skill when it comes to hip mobility and deceleration.
Hip mobility is a vital facet of athletic excellence and it’s something you’ll see in common with many of the top running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, edge rushers, and defensive backs. Running backs with good hip mobility can make highlight-worthy changes of direction, cutting at back or bouncing past a defender heading straight for them at wide angles.
An athlete can generate gains with additional mobility training but it’s more of an athletic trait than a skill. How the athlete uses that mobility is a skill. There are a lot of running backs with better hip mobility than Howard in the NFL, but Howard’s skill to use the mobility he has with precision is among the best at the position.
Watch this bounce-out to the left and note the details of the footwork Howard uses to navigate space and open his hips. When Howard reaches the sideline, notice how he uses his feet and hips to decelerate, change direction, and reaccelerate downhill for another eight yards.
This is refined mobility and agility from a back whose technical skills maximize the potential of his athletic ability.
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