Blount Force

Posted: July 7th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 65 Comments »

The NFL Network recently showed a couple of Patriots games. I was casually watching the first and took notice of LeGarrette Blount. I started trying to imagine what the Eagles run game might look like with Blount as the feature runner.

Let’s start by comparing Blount to Ryan Mathews. Blount is bigger at 245 pounds (an estimate), but he and Mathews are both tough, physical runners. Mathews has better burst and is faster. He’s also a better receiver.

Blount has better feet and does a better job of reading blocks. He’s unusual for a big runner because he is patient, letting his blockers do their job. He is still is aggressive, but knows how to pause momentarily to let a hole develop.

I was surprised at how effective Blount was on outside runs. He’s not slow by any means, but won’t win a ton of races. He reads the play and goes wide if that’s where the space is. When he does commit to going wide, there isn’t any hesitation.

Blount runs more upright than you would prefer, but he’s got incredible balance and tremendous lower-body strength. That helps him to push the pile and keep from going down on first contact. He has some moments where he reminds you of Marshawn Lynch.

Duce Staley has talked about the Eagles wanting to rely on the run game more this year. The offensive line is in better shape and the overall group of RBs is better. The run game will be shaped around Blount, the team’s workhorse runner.

Blount won’t be getting 20 carries a week. The Eagles are going to mix things up with Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey. Blount will get the bulk of the carries and he will have some games with 20+ runs.

I don’t think the Eagles will have a hard time adapting to Blount. And I don’t think he’ll have a hard time adapting to the Eagles.

Blount played for Chip Kelly at Oregon. In the NFL, he’s had stops in Tampa, New England, Pittsburgh and back to NE. He had some level of success at each stop. Blount isn’t the product of a system, a good OL, or just playing for the right QB. He’s very talented.

as always…beware the background music

When the Eagles went from Shady McCoy to DeMarco Murray, it made for a very tough transition. Those players are nothing alike in terms of talent level, size or running style. That won’t be the case in going from Mathews to Blount. They are hardly twins, but have enough similarities that you can watch runs from last year and imagine Blount having success on those plays.

Fran Duffy did a lot on the run game following the win over the Vikings last year. Go watch those runs and picture Blount as the RB.

I know there is an inclination to see Doug Pederson as Andy Reid Jr., and to worry about his commitment to the run. I don’t think that is the case. In Pederson’s one year starting for the Eagles, Duce Staley had 325 carries. When he went back to Green Bay, he was on the team where Ahman Green ran for more than 1800 yards. Upon joining the Eagles as a coach, Pederson saw McCoy run for 1300 yards and 17 TDs. While in KC, they used more of a RB by committee approach, but still fed the ball to Jamaal Charles a fair amount.

I think Pederson understands the value of the run game. If Blount and Sproles can stay healthy, I expect Pederson to keep finding touches for them.

The one question I do have with Blount is if he can become part of the passing game. In NE, he was in on run plays. They were so good they could get away with that. The Eagles aren’t at that level. The coaches said encouraging things about Blount as a receive this spring, but he’s only got 46 career catches. He doesn’t need to be Sproles, but Blount needs to catch a pass here and there to help keep defenses honest.

_


  • Seth S. Scott

    Cant wait to see the Eagles run game this year. If we can get Blount solidified as a first/second down threat, its gonna open up the passing game SO much more then we have had over the past 3-4 years. Also will help Wentz from having to use feet as much when its not drawn up that way. Win-win.

    • ColorSgt

      I agree. People are talking like he will mainly be used as a short yardage situation/possession back. I hope Doug isn’t that shortsighted and is more creative in using Blount. Of he can get chuncks of yard on 1st down, that will make things a lot easier for Wentz and the offense.

      • NAGGERSrSHEET

        Your wife is bored of you, she wants a real man’s COCK, and I have it for her.

    • NAGGERSrSHEET

      Stop using the word “We”. You don’t play for the Eagles, so STFU, you loser.

  • Guy Media

    I’d love to see more running, so I hope Pederson calls more runs! I’m worried that Blount will have too many of his runs blown up in the backfield because Kelce isn’t blocking anybody.

  • Sb2bowl

    We got away from running the ball a bit last year as injuries and suspensions hurt our offensive line; that also stunted the growth of Wentz and put more pressure on our (un)skill(ed) players.

    Both a stronger o-line, a 2nd year QB, and better overall group of WR’s will help to work out things in a better manner. At least on paper. There will be an adjustment period, but with legitimate outside receiver threats, we should have better running fits.

    I was surprised that we signed Blount; the player he is today is not the same guy from Tennessee or Tampa. That’ll help Carson develop big time.

  • Guy Media

    Also; why isn’t Ryan Mathews cut yet? They seriously can’t find a doctor to clear him?

    • CrackSammich

      Because he broke his neck.

      Why do you not believe that injuries are real things that take time to heal?

      • Guy Media

        It’s been long enough. I want that cap $. And I fear it won’t happen in a way that benefits the team until it actually happens. Plus I don’t want to lose the opportunity to heap additional scorn upon his frail tenure in the league if his release is too closely coupled with more important news.

        • xmbk

          These guys beat the hell out of their bodies for our entertainment. Mathews has a serious injury. Disrespecting that because it’s inconvenient to your entertainment plans is… disrespectful.

          • Guy Media

            “These guys beat the hell out of their bodies for our entertainment.”

            Exactly. And they know this when they enter that profession. Being ripped over all sorts of things comes with the territory when they take that salary.

          • CrackSammich

            I know most of what you say is hyperbole, but come on.

            You’ve spent how much that goes directly to the NFL, a couple hundred? Maybe a couple thousand, if you’re older. And of that, how much to a player? I bought Jason Kelce a shot in Old CIty right after he signed his contract (if you thought you didn’t like me before), and that probably cost more than most of us have directly contributed to their salaries. If you think those couple thousand dollars are enough to demand that guys literally kill themselves for you, you’re deluded.

          • xmbk

            Shouldn’t he have been buying you one?

          • CrackSammich

            Girlfriend at the time said the same thing.

            Worth more to me to say I did a shot with an Eagle than it is for him to say he went out and blew his paycheck buying shots for dudes at the bar. I’ve gotten my milage out of the story and he doesn’t remember me in the least. *shrug*

    • ACViking

      In dollars-and-sense terms, I don’t think the Eagles would gain much at this point in the off-season — other than short-term cap relief that could quickly disappear.

      If Mathews disagreed with the opinion of the Eagles’ hired medical gun, all he’d need to do is submit an injury grievance to the team.

      Under CBA Part 44, the grievance would trigger an examination by a “neutral physician” — whose name would be taken (though a strike process by the team and player) from a list jointly maintained by the NFL and the NFLPA.

      While the grievance process is designed to move relatively quickly, it could — if, for example, the Eagles cut Mathews tomorrow — spill over into the preseason . . .

      Which is a key date under the CBA’s injury-grievance process for salary-cap purposes.

      That’s because if the neutral physician determined that Mathews still was not healthy enough to pass a team physical because of a football injury, then Mathews may be due his entire 2017 salary of $3.2 million (or so) — plus other damages (attorney’s fees, healthcare, playoff money next winter).

      On the other hand, if the Eagles remain patient, the problem would be governed by CBA Part 45 — which kicks in when the preseason physicals are given to all the players.

      Even assuming Mathews failed that physical, the Eagles could still rely on CBA Part 45 to pay him about $1.5 MM . . . called, under the CBA, an “Injury Settlement.”

      Net-net, the Birds would save $1.7 million on the cap.

      Goes without saying, everyone’s hoping Mathews is healthy enough to pass the preseason physical and play again — for another team.

      • Guy Media

        Thank you for the CBA level clarification. And I heard that the doctor who cleared Case Keenum to play after being decapitated is both neutral and available………

        In either case, I’ll rest easier when Mathews is gone and the full force of his cap money is ready to use on an extension for a player who wants to play.

        • CrackSammich

          “wants to play”
          “wants”

          There that is again…

          • Guy Media

            And it isn’t going away. Mathews has been a game missing choad for his entire career. And a waste of both salary cap and fantasy draft capital. F him.

        • Ankerstjernen

          I am going to assume that the closest thing you have ever come to a sports related injury is the distance from your armchair and to your widescreen tv.

          • Guy Media

            I’ll assume you can find the nearest blunt object and go fuck yourself with it.

          • Ankerstjernen

            That is because you are such a classy guy.

          • Guy Media

            You took a rhetorical point I made on a guy on a team and turned into a personal attack on me. If you’d like to discuss Mathews either way, great. If you’d like to make personal comments, then go ahead and go and fuck yourself again.

          • Ankerstjernen

            You know, you are right, actually. It was me who took your point about a football player and turned it onto a personal attack on you. Which is kind of weird to me, because I normally dont do that kind of thing in these comment sections. I must really dislike your attitude towards professional athletes.

          • Guy Media

            And I’m aware I’m on the lunatic fringe when it comes to getting on guys who miss time to the point where I think it jams the team, but I don’t demand anybody share that view. But I do try to keep it rhetorical when folks don’t agree with the point.

      • xmbk

        Good info, thanks. I’d hate to see the casual reading material on your coffee table. 😉

    • or____

      They should only clear him if he’s fit to be cleared. He probably isn’t.

    • ColorSgt

      I don’t understand what the rush is. They are giving him as much time as possible to get healthy he’s not going to be on the roster this season. If he fails the physical they’ll have to pay him a settlement that counts against the cap. Makes more sense to wait in my opinion.

      • Guy Media

        I’m highly annoyed at the lack of finality hanging over the situation. I don’t trust that they’re going to successfully cut him until I see him successfully cut.

        • ColorSgt

          All in due time. Just like Marcus Smith. The Eagles could cut him now, but then he has time to sign with another team. Usually teams accommodate players but they are waiting before they have to pay his bonus to screw him over because he didn’t put effort in as a player and wants to be cut.

  • Guy Media

    A major thank you to those of you who gave me some good fantasy feedback the other day. Here is another one (picking 11th in a 12 team snake)

    1 – D. Freeman, 2 – J. Howard, 3 – Allen Robinson, 4 – Crabtree, 5 – Tyreek Hill, 6 – Frank Gore, 7 – DeSean, 8 – Peterson, 9 – Stafford, 10 – Mariota, 11 – Samaje Perine, 12 – Witten, 13 – Rams D, 14 – Quincy Enunwa, 15 – Julius Thomas, 16 – Sturgis.

    • or____

      Is your wife tired of being called Samaje during certain, eh… “peak hours”?

      • Guy Media

        Ha! He should have been an Eagle I tell ya!

  • izzylangfan

    I think most Eagles fans are excited about Blount and the potential for the run game and running back production in 2017. With Blount as the bruiser and Sproles as the (diverse) weapon the Eagles should have a good combination. Further Pumphrey should be the back up weopon to Sproles and the first string weapon of the future. But I question where Smallwood fits in. Jonny Page over at BGN did an analysis of Smallwood some months ago and concluded that he had a good burst but little else. Smallwood has only one speed so he does not set up blocks or fake out potential tacklers. Essentially, he gets what is blocked. So I wonder if Corey Clement shows something in training camp if the Eagles would put together a running back group with a bruiser, a backup bruiser – Clement, and a weapon and backup weapon. Thus, if one of the first string running backs misses some snaps, the backup can step in without shifting blocking techniques or tactics.

    • Media Mike

      I agree completely. Its a nice mix of guys.

    • Dave

      Unless an injury occurs, I don’t see a situation where Clement makes the team.

      Smallwood adds value as a pass catcher and kick returner.

      I think Doug is going to rotate both the receiving corps (Alshon being the exception) and the running backs throughout the game much like the team does with its defensive line (for favorable match-ups and to keep them fresh). I imagine he is looking to see if somebody catches fire and separates themselves from the rest of the pack, forcing him to play them more.

      • Media Mike

        If you go
        Alshon / Torrey / Agholor / Hollins / Gibson / 1/2 Pump
        Sproles / Blount / Smallwood / Clement / 1/2 Pump

        That gives you 10 in the RB/WR Group. Coupled with 3 TEs, 2 QBs, and 10 O-linemen; you’ve got 25 in the Offense group.

        This is all predicated on the Jordan Matthews for a draft pick trade!

        • CrackSammich

          Gibson might not even make the practice squad. I think you pick up another teams cuts for that spot if you think Johnson and Treggs can’t handle the job at that point. I don’t see a world where Clement makes the team, either, but I wouldn’t trade Matthews in the first place.

          • Guy Media

            The whole Matthews conundrum stems from the unknown value he has in his mind vs. the team’s vs. a possible 2019 comp pick. I just fear the unknown of losing the guy for spec vs. being able to put something definitive (2018 3rd rounder) in my pocket now.

            And I’m flying on faith with Gibson more so than others. I think Fipp is going to find a way to make him really valuable to the roster. And they gave Clement a lot of money, relative to other UDFAs, to just cut the guy. We’ll find out either way.

          • CrackSammich

            You’re. Not. Getting. A. 3rd. For. Matthews.

            And even if you could, he’s worth more for that here when he was our young quarterback’s favorite target last year.

          • ColorSgt

            Yeah I don’t think he’s worth much on the market. I think he sticks this year and they let him walk in FA.

          • ColorSgt

            I agree Gibson and Clement aren’t going to factor in this year. Maybe there is hope for them after a year on the practice squad.

    • Ankerstjernen

      “He gets what is blocked” is actually a lot better than it sounds. He also catches what is being thrown and runs what is being called. The only reasonto doubt his ability to be a viable contributor is his pass pro, which was shaky last year – as it often is for rookie runners. I imagine they are trying to get him coached up on this issue, and if he learns, he can become a nice RBBC-type of player.

  • CrackSammich

    So of our current RBs (Mathews, Sproles, Blount, Smallwood, Pumphrey, Clement, …), we can reasonably expect the following to be contributors next season:

    Pumphrey

    Yikes. And that’s making a huge assumption that he can produce at NFL levels. Because it sounds like popular opinion is that Smallwood can’t.

    • Media Mike

      If you’re talking 2018, I’m not worried. RB is an easy position to replace. We have 3 4th round picks, so we can add a guy that way. There will be some free agents as well. As long as the line is functioning at a high level, we’ll be ok with RBs.

      • Ark87

        Agreed, and if our passing game can get going along with it and synergize to be greater than the sum of its parts, hey the Offense might be decent.

        • Guy Media

          What I see as positives coming up with the offense:

          – Big improvements from Wentz. People seem to forget he was deposited into the starting job week 1 last year when he received 3rd string level reps and prep all the way leading into that game. He will be the beneficiary of 100% of the starter’s attention for a full NFL season and off-season going into this year.

          -Stable tackle situation. F-ing MMA hangout Lane and his PED party KILLED this team last year. Badly.

          -Improvements from Pederson in play calling in year two. I trust Doug to call more plays that I find acceptable after a full off season of self-scouting and reading my comments / tweets on the matter.

          -WRs. No explanation needed.

          What I see as lingering negatives:

          – Kelce

    • Ark87

      I out of the loop on that Smallwood narrative. As a rookie he was a solid contributor and showed some good things. Are we expecting him to get worse? I can see people thinking he can’t be a starter, no reason he can’t be quality depth (unless there have been a bunch of DGB type stories where he isn’t taking thing seriously).

      • CrackSammich

        Penciling him in as depth is kind of damning, isn’t it? He doesn’t seem like he can be the starter, many others on the roster are better at running, and at least Pumphrey and Sproles are better at returning/receiving. He’s a JAG.

        • Ark87

          Not at all,JAGs are the life-blood of the position. No reason to drop a valid JAG to pick up someone else’s JAG. Most teams rely on a rotations of average backs. If you thing we lack contributors, no. Lack a future starter, yes.

      • Guy Media

        All I know is that he’s much better than Paul Perkins. Other than that, I’d agree he’s just a guy. But I think he’ll have some production on the year. But he’s probably never going to evolve into a starter.

      • D3FB

        He’s a low end RB2 probably best as an RB3. He’s got kinda shitty vision. He’s a one cut slasher who lacks wiggle to get beyond the third level, or the power to lower his shoulder and turn a 3 yard gain into a 6 yard game. He’s not a guy to cry over if he doesn’t make it or a guy to shit your pants if he’s on the roster either.

  • Forthebirds

    I can see the Eagles using the run game to manage the clock, especially in games where they have a lead in the second half. Blount will be good in 3rd down, short yardage situations, even if the Eagles pass, because teams will have to account for Blount.

    • Guy Media

      The only thing slowing down the run game will be play callings and/or Kelce.

    • P_P_K

      Truth.

  • xmbk

    I was excited about the Blount pickup not because he’s a lock to be great, but because he adds something the team was desperately missing. His lack of receiving skills can be compensated for, as long as he can pick up rushers. The two most important things are that Wentz gets to occasionally throw against a stacked box and occasionally hand off on short yardage.

    • Ark87

      I’m not necessarily expecting him to be much better than Mathews (when healthy), or to give us an element we didn’t have last year. But going into this season with Sproles-Smallwood-Pumphrey was terrifying. Signing Blount was a huge relief.

      Though full disclosure: I don’t fully trust FA’s coming off of a Superbowl victory. Though I have trouble articulating it.

      • Guy Media

        I’d share your fear if they just dropped 5 years / $40 million on the guy. He’s here to perform a specific role in a committee this year. I think he’s low risk.

        • Ark87

          agreed. He’s no Demarco Murray, with a fat head from leading the league in rushing and freshly over-paid. Even if he checked the superbowl box off his bucket list (and lets be honest, we’re no Patriots, not really any super bowl ambitions to work towards during his contract here), hopefully he will still play hard for a career year and career contract.

  • Guy Media

    And apologies on the account transition. I’m not trying to sock puppet or confuse anybody. I’ll be fully rolled over into this one soon.

    • laeagle

      did i miss something? who is this? Let me run a test: should we resign Barner?

      • myartz04

        …and your thoughts on Mychal Kendricks?

  • Ark87

    This is looking like a fun year for football in general. I’m hopeful to see some changing of the guard around the league. (just starting some conversation in the dead time of the off-season)

    -I’m excited to see what the Bucs are. I’ve come to loathe watching the Panthers play (I’m in NC). Their team arch is like a sped up early 2000’s Eagles team. And it drives me nuts. New Orleans is a dying team kept on the life support of Brees. And I’m already tired of the Falcons.

    -Raiders need to take over their division. Broncos and the chiefs have admirably scrapped to be on top of the division for a bunch of years, but they are torture to watch.

    -possible AFC South return to relevance: I really like what the Titans have built, I’d love for them to bring some quality to the division but I don’t know they have the coach for it. Would love for Deshaun Watson to give the Texans a legitimate QB for the first time in franchise history, they can be a force, but I’m not sure he’s that guy. Don’t really have high hopes for the other teams in the division. Colts are, low key, perhaps the most trash franchise in the NFL, only marginally relevant because of Luck (who they tanked to get), hate them.

    Most boring:

    -AFC East: 3 bad teams, 1 best team in the league for the 15th year straight it feels like

    -AFC North: Steelers will continue to be among the best teams in the league that are 2 injuries from being among the worst teams in the league (or getting stomped by the Eagles). Ravens: Flacco. Bengals: Dalton. Browns:Browns

    -NFC North: 4 very flawed teams but 1 has Aaron Rodgers, once again. (Packers are a great franchise and build from the draft pretty, but their absolute refusal to do anything in FA to address flaws drives me bonkers)

    -NFC West: Yeah I just don’t care. Seattle will continue to be a pain in the butt at home but be a shadow of themselves as they coast to win the division. The rest are trying to rise from the ashes or desperately trying to not crumble to ashes.

    But who knows what kind of breakouts will happen to shake it all up. Just excited for football.

  • Gary Barnes

    3 out of the 4 examples you used had Reid as the HC, Tommy.

    Maybe, instead of absolving Pederson of being Reid Jr., it might be good to acknowledge the run game paranoia about Reid itself is overblown.

  • bobeph

    I am bobeph

  • NAGGERSrSHEET

    This COON looks like a dirty APE