Rich Campbell’s article on Jammal Brown last week contained an interesting revelation. His chronic hip problems have been caused in part by the way his feet point when he walks. Brown’s toes point outward and this creates some strain on his hips when he moves.
Earlier in his career, the condition did not bother him as he made two Pro Bowls with the Saints. But it appears to have caught up with him now and it has made it difficult for him to get healthy.
He has been trying to regain flexibility in his hips this offseason with a two-pronged approach. The team’s right tackle is taking yoga classes and he is trying to walk with his feet pointing straight ahead.
There seems to be some promise in the yoga. However, it has been a challenge for Brown to try to change to change the way he walks.
“It feels real awkward,” Brown said. “I just catch myself during the day at the house. Any time I try to walk, I try to line my toes up.”
My friend @BurgundyBlog brought up a good point: “We're supposed to believe he's rejuvenated, but he's re-learning how to walk? I expect zero improvement out of him.”
A harsh assessment there but it’s hard to argue. Brown, 31, might be able to catch himself walking with his feet misaligned while strolling through his kitchen. But remembering to keep the toes pointed straight is much harder to do out on the practice field, much less when executing a play in front of a hostile crowd in the Superdome.
The best hope seems to be that changing the way he walks is not critical to Brown being able to make it through the year in reasonably good health. Perhaps the yoga, which he is not doing as the team does OTA’s but plans to resume when the offseason program ends later this month, will be enough.
The Redskins hope that it is as the depth chart behind him is shaky. Willie Smith did an admirable job filling in for Brown and Trent Williams at various times last year but he may not be ready to be a full-time starter. Tyler Polumbus is better suited to a reserve/utility role and James Lee doesn’t seem to be starter material. Rookie Tom Compton probably needs a year or two of seasoning before being considered for meaningful action.
This will be a position to watch the rest off the offseason, through training camp, and into the season.