LeGarrette Blount is Back: Warn The Public

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.

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18 Responses to “LeGarrette Blount is Back: Warn The Public”

  1. acm says:

    Withdraw the warning – Josh McDaniels is still the Pats’ OC.

  2. Bom Trady says:

    NEEDED to run the ball more 23:25 TOP is pathetic

    in the superbowl it will be a diff game with jones back and getting in dat pass rush

  3. J H TARBORO says:

    Blount’s back, great! but against the Packers you start Bolden and then Blount and Jonas Gray only gets 1 carry. Bad game plan totally.

    • MaineMan says:

      In his post-game breakdown, Bruschi felt that the O came out intending to throw a little deeper than usual, which would put a little more pressure on the OL to control the LoS for a bit longer. My takeaway was that the Pats initially compensated by using Vereen in the backfield since he’s the most reliable in pass-pro/blitz pickup (as well as being the only really accomplished pass-catcher among the RBs). Bolden is certainly 2nd among the four, but what the Packers defense showed when Brady came to the line with Bolden in the backfield allowed him to go with the run. A combination of early OL breakdowns and miscommunications between Brady and his targets led to two quick stalls on their first two possessions – a total of 7 plays, 29 yards and 3:32 in ToP. Even their subsequent TD only took 5 plays and 2:09 off the clock. And, of course, the third quarter started out the same as the first (8 plays, 10 yards, two punts and 3:11 off the clock).

      My impression from BB’s remarks today was that more running had been planned, but they simply didn’t end up with enough total plays (an unusually low 54) to be able to fit everything in – 5 of their 9 possessions accounted for 20 plays and just under 9:00 in ToP.

  4. steve earle says:

    GB o-line just to good tonight. Looking for rematch in SB.

  5. Michael says:

    MM, by defense do you mean primarily Revis?

    • MaineMan says:

      Revis is certainly a biggie, but so is McCourty. Hightower and Chandler Jones will be entering their contract years at the end of 2014 and extensions/new contracts will need to be planned/budgeted for. Chung and Dennard will also be entering their contract years, but both will almost certainly wait until the end of next season.

      Then there are the (sorta) ancillary guys – Branch, Casillas and Ayers. All of them have made solid contributions very quickly. Branch and Casillas shouldn’t be particularly expensive, but Ayers may already have played his way into Mark Anderson type contract offers elsewhere.

  6. Daniel R. Martin says:

    If I recall correctly, wasn’t there a rumor circulating that BB was considering signing or trading for Josh Gordon just about a week or so before he exploded for nearly 800 yards in four games last year. Can y’all imagine? Him with TB12 as opposed to the revolving Qb circus in Cleveland. That would have put us over the top.

  7. Russell says:

    I will be very surpised if the Patriots resign Ridley. I don’t think a RB is in the early draft for the Patriots, as I see Gordon to Minn. Gurley to Miami, or New Orleans, and Abdula to Cleveland. Patriots surpise cut was S Jones , But BB is making roster room for DT Silgna. Look for BB to bring back S Kannoris Davis to the P-Squad for special teams depth.

    • MaineMan says:

      BB didn’t need to cut anyone to open a roster spot for Siliga yet. They have a three-week roster exemption for him starting from his first return to practice (which was Friday 11/28).

      My guess is that Jones was cut to make room for promoting (LS) Hughlett from the PSQ if (LS) Aiken wasn’t fully-recovered from his concussion. Cutting Jones on Thursday, rather than later, enabled them to bring Jones back before Sunday – IF Aiken was okay (which he is), AND IF Jones cleared waivers (which he didn’t). With special-teamer Chris White looking like he might be out for Sunday, Kanorris Davis may be a very good bet to fill the open spot on the active roster today.

    • MaineMan says:

      As good as Gordon may be (and as good as Gurley was before his injury), I’m just not seeing either of them drafted in the Top 20. There’s *some* possibility that Indy (currently #23) *might* go for an RB in the first, but I think the odds are greater that both fall to the late-1st or early-2nd.

      Between Gordon and Gurley for the Pats (IF they’re so inclined), my >personal< preference would be for Gurley. He's about the same size as Gordon (and maybe slightly stouter), has been much more regularly productive as a receiver, and he fumbles way less frequently (once every 195 touches for Gurley; once every 53 for Gordon).

      WRT Gurley's injury — assuming that he doesn't return to Georgia for his final season — what could be more "Belichickian" than taking an elite college player in the second round who has slid there due to injury? That said, Gurley just had his ACL surgery Tuesday (11/25), so it seems unlikely he'll be ready to work out for teams until just before the draft, if at all. If he manages to beat that timetable and show that he's making a rapid recovery, he may be "in play" draft-wise a bit before the Pats 1st-round pick.

      Speaking of fumbling, I'm not at all sure that Abdullah goes as high as he's currently being projected. While he's piled up a lot of yardage (on a LOT of touches), has been productive as a receiver, and very productive as a KR/PR, he may be on the small side (5'9"/195) and he's fumbled 23 times in 50 games, losing 16 of those – a fumble every 39 touches.

      • Russell says:

        Great info Maineman. I will be surpised if Gordon is not a 1st rounder, ( I think Minn. takes him) and Gurley may drop some into the 2nd round with his history and injury I think (miami or New Orleans take him). Abdullah I think is a sure thing to Cleveland who has two 1st round picks.
        Longsnapper Hughlett was cut, so BB made a roster move for a move to be made, before game day, and as you mentioned Siliga has an exemption as I’m not sure he’s ready to play this week any how. Mostlikely a P-Squd player to move up.

        • MaineMan says:

          While I agree with you that (with Gurley injured) Gordon looks to be at the top of this RB class, I’m not sure that *any* RB gets picked in the 1st round, in keeping with the recent draft trend.

          WRT Minny, McKinnon has been doing well for them, both rushing and receiving, keeping their ground game actually a bit above league average. While they don’t have squat behind him, their OL is awful and they need a lot of help at WR. They’re more likely to get much higher ROI from either of those offensive positions in the 1st round than from RB, especially picking at #9 (as of now).

          The Browns are in similar position with West and Crowell maintaining a middle-of-the-pack rushing attack (though they’re also 2nd in the league in rushing TDs). Meanwhile, the right side of the CLE OL is weak, their run defense at the second-level is abysmal and, aside from Gordon, they don’t have much at WR either (they really shoulda taken Watkins in 2014 when they had the chance instead of trading down). They’re currently holding the #14 and #16 picks, I think, so they DO have a sort of “luxury pick” there. Then too, this IS the Browns. If they play their extra draft ammo as stupidly as they did in 2014….

          As I start getting deeper into reviewing the whole slate of 2015 RB prospects, it seems to me that there should be a boatload of decent to very good RBs available through the whole draft – guys who should be very solid RBBC contributors at least. Adding in the devaluation of RBs league wide, it doesn’t seem there’s likely to be a lot of competitive pressure on teams to grab any one particular guy early, and guys with pronounced flaws – like Abdullah’s ball-security issues – seem likely to fall below (perhaps FAR below) “safer” picks who can be developed.

  8. steve earle says:

    With current three Gray, Blount and Vereen talk of a high round RB will probably slow down. Ridley is still a possable resign but time will tell.

    • MaineMan says:

      Well, Vereen hasn’t been extended/re-signed yet and may well get a relatively extravagant offer elsewhere in free agency. White is still mostly an unknown quantity wrt “live fire” NFL level competition. Behind the scenes, he could be developing okay and just not yet been the right fit for a game plan – OR – he could be a complete bust.

      If it’s the latter AND Vereen ends up signing elsewhere, I’m thinking that DJ FOSTER (Ariz State) *might* be a reasonable 3rd-down/receiving RB prospect. He appears to be roughly Vereen’s size (+/- 5’11″/205+). He’s running the ball about twice as often this season compared to his past two, and appears to be doing pretty well with that. He’s been a consistently high-production receiver out of the backfield for all three years (his seasonal average is roughly equal to Gurley’s and Abdullah’s *career* receiving output). And he fumbles only about once every 135 touches.

      But I haven’t seen him play much. Do you have any thoughts on him?

      • Russell says:

        I have not watched Foster on tape, will check him out. I do like David Johnson Northern Iowa 6’2″ 229 looks very strong in the passing game. Runs alittle upright as a RB for my taste. I don’t have any fumbling info on him. Maineman do you have a site for that info?

      • steve earle says:

        You are right that Vereen will be open to offers next year but for some reason ( gut feeling, just hope) I think he will be back and preferable to a rookie. Experance counts. I could be wrong though, it’s happened before. I haven’t seen any tape on Foster either, have to check him out I guess.

        • MaineMan says:

          Yeah, I’m pretty sure that the Pats WANT him back and may offer him something in the $2M-$2.5M/year range – which would actually be in the upper range of the recent going rate for UFA RBs. I just think that it’s fairly likely that at least a couple teams may offer him substantially more – something well beyond the point where the ROI falls below the Pats going with White and backing up that move with a new guy while saving the cap space for the defense.

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