Bryce Brown Dodges Injury, Talks Ball Security

Bryce BrownBryce Brown heard something pop and he thought he had broken his left ankle.

A lineman stepped on the foot during practice Monday, keeping that leg stationary while the rest of his body carried forward. It twisted.

“I felt it. I heard it. Everything,” he said.

He was assisted off the field by a pair of trainers. Turns out it was just a scare. Brown was able to put pressure on it and after a brief once-over from the medical staff, he had the ankle taped up and was sent back on the field. He needs to be further evaluated, but plans on playing Thursday in New York.

Crisis averted, and onto the next relevant topic — his fumbling tendencies. The 22-year-old had four fumbles (three lost) as a rookie, and gave one up against the Jaguars on Thursday as well.

“I know it’s been an issue here in the past. On that particular play their defensive back put their hat on the football,” said Chip Kelly. “He did have the football tight against his side. It was swinging a little bit earlier in the run but give their guy credit.

“It’s not something that is just Bryce, I think it’s everybody. That’s our responsibility when you get the ball at the beginning of the play to finish the play with the ball. We talk about ball security all the time. We do ball security drills every day and we’ll continue to do that. It’s a fundamental that when the season starts we can’t lose sight of because it’s integral to what we do. The turnover-takeaway battle is huge in this game. You can’t afford to give possessions away.”

Brown says that he has been putting in the time to clean up that area of his game.

“I’ve spent a lot of time on traffic,” he said . “That’s the main thing I have put my emphasis on is really keeping the ball tight in traffic. As far as being out in the open I tend to just run how I run, but I really try to put more emphasis [on securing the ball] when I’m between the tackles, things like that.”

It’s easy to forget that Brown only played a total of 13 games on the collegiate level. He only has 115 rushes on this level (averaging 4.9 yards per carry). There is plenty still to learn. But that learning will be on the job, as there is a big role for Brown in this offense if he can hold onto it.

“I have really been impressed with Bryce as a runner,” said Kelly. “He’s certainly a guy that is a luxury to have when you have a couple guys. Chris [Polk] has played really, really well and obviously we have LeSean [McCoy]. The three of those guys, I would put that group up against anybody.”