SIGNING RB LeGarrette Blount to replace RB Ryan Mathews, will save the Eagles about 4M dollars in cap space this year. It also fills gives us a short yardage and goalline runner who can indeed move a pile. I look forward to using phrases like “Blount Force Trauma”, “beaten with a Blount instrument”, and “Don’t Punt It. Blount It!” I also look forward to the backfield nickname of “Blount and Runt”.
But before we get carried away, fingering each other in celebration, it’s important that we pump the brakes and look at what we really have. There’s been a tendency to look at this signing through one lens, and that only sets us up for disappointment. We know we have a guy with long history of being a pile mover, but we also need to discuss his drawbacks.
One of his chief drawbacks is that he has a long history of being a pile mover. Pile movers (aka powerbacks) have a tendency to go over a cliff suddenly in the NFL. Christian Okoye, Barry Word, Rod Bernstine, Leonard Russell, Bam Morris, Barry Foster, Natrone Means, Mike Alstott, Brandon Jacobs. All of these guys made noise as NFL powerbacks. Not one of them was still nearly as effective at the age of 30. In fact, most were out of football by 30. Did I mention that Blount is 30? Oh, I didn’t? Let me correct that.
LeGarrette Blount is 30.
Blount is not an every down RB. I know people want to point to 2016 like it’s the standard for what he delivers, but the rest of his career strongly indicates that 2016 was a fluke. He hasn’t started more than 8 games in any season since 2011. He also has a career total of 46 receptions over 7 seasons. Basically, every time we trot him out there, we’re telling our opponent that the play is a run. Since he’s 250 pounds, he’s probably not running many Stretch plays, so we’re also saying “He’s coming at you between the tackles!”
He’s also not exactly a home-run hitter. Yes he had 18 rushing TD’s last year, but 13 were from inside the five, and NINE of those were from the one yard line or shorter.
What we have here is a role-player. Odds are, Wendell Smallwood is the “starter” in what will likely be a RB-by-committee approach, that doesn’t allow anyone to get into a rhythm and telegraphs our intentions (Blount = run, Darren Sproles = Screen, etc. etc.).
Blount should have enough juice to contribute if we use him at a pace of about 6 or 7 carries per game (96 to 112 over 16 games). However to expect more than a role player who nets 400 or so rushing yards, is unrealistic. Sorry, but I just felt someone had to speak Blountly about this.