NEPD Staff Writer: Jason Cappell
It is amazing what the friendly confides of Gillette Stadium can sometimes do for an NFL player. First it was Akeem Ayers, then Jonathan Casillas and Alan Branch. Now it’s former Patriot running back Legarette Blount who is salvaging his NFL career in Foxboro.
Not long ago as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Blount walked off the field after getting zero carries while starter Le’Veon Bell ran the ball 33 times. Now back in a New England jersey for the second time, Blount carried the football like he never left the Patriots.
The turnaround shouldn’t come as a surprise. Belichick’s mid-season acquisitions make Foxboro the home of reclamation projects.
The Patriots have an uncanny ability of plucking running backs off the street, dropping them into their line-up and getting them to produce immediate results. And after a 78-yard and two-touchdown performance against the Lions in week 12, Blount is no exception. The acquisition of Blount indicates the Patriots are clearly trying to shore up one of their biggest areas of need.
After rushing for 772 yards, a career-high of seven TD’s and 5.0 yards per carry in 2013, Blount’s role in New England’s limited offense proved to be vital.
As winter approaches in New England and the need for a running game becomes more significant, it’s never a bad thing to have depth at the running back position. Having Jonas Gray show up in prime time was a much-needed boost for the Patriots running game, but the addition of Legarette Blount is just icing on the cake. Running backs that weight 250 pounds shouldn’t be able to move as quickly as Blount does. Not only can he run right over defenders but also has the breakaway speed to blow by them.
Though Blount did have a disappointing tenure with the Steelers, there’s no reason to dislike the move. Belichick is a fan of Blount’s game as he enjoyed success with the team last year and is very familiar with the Patriots system and its personnel. More importantly he’s a proven playoff performer who excels in sloppy playing conditions, and now has a team-friendly contract.
By adding Blount to their roster the Patriots have nothing to lose the running back is low risk and high reward acquisition. Including the playoffs LeGarrette Blount has scored 9 rushing touchdowns in his last 5 games with the Patriots.
Not only do the Patriots have Blount for this season but they also have him under contract for next year. With Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden all set to be free agents at season’s end, the Patriots have a proven runner under contract for 2015.
In Gray, Vereen and Blount the Patriots now have three capable running backs who can each contribute in different ways.
If for some reason the alarm-clock-challenged Sports illustrated cover boy Jonas Gray doesn’t work over the long haul, Blount could once again find himself garnering the bulk of the snaps.
After a forgettable stint in Pittsburgh, Blount is showing once again that one man’s trash is another mans treasure.
Tags: LeGarrette Blount