ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — Amid the hooting and hollering at Washington Redskins mini camp, there's a different sound in the air during running back drills.
Coaches whack at the football with Matt Jones carrying it, and it beeps. Then it beeps longer.
That's a good sign.
The Redskins are one of five NFL teams using so-called beeping or whistling footballs to emphasize ball security. When the ball is being held correctly with the fundamental five points of pressure, it emits an audible beeping sound at about 80 decibels to tell a player he's doing it right.
"If I had that ball in high school, I don't think I would've had a fumble," Jones said. "It's teaching me how to squeeze the ball at the point of contact. Everything has changed about me holding the ball."
Cutting down on fumbles is the goal of the ball, developed by Division II Northwood University assistant coach Tom Creguer and used by the Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and several college teams, including Tennessee and Michigan State. The San Diego Chargers plan to start using them at training camp.
Creguer said practicing with "High and Tight" footballs , which cost about $150 each, reduced Northwood's fumbles by 63 percent last season. Many NFL position coaches got the lowdown on them at the scouting combine.
"It basically reinforces the proper hold by teaching the athlete to put their forearm to the panel, their panel to the chest and to compress the ball evenly with equal distribution of pressure, therefore creating basically a vice around the football, creating that muscle memory of what it feels like to have the ball secured to their body at all times," Creguer said in a phone interview. CLICK HERE FOR REST OF AP STORY