A ‘Blount’ Force Meets Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) – However you look at the Eagles’ signing of LeGarrette Blount understand this: Philadelphia is better today than it was yesterday.
Blount, the 18-touchdown back for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots last season, officially signed his one-year deal for $1.25 million with the Eagles Thursday morning and was introduced to the media at the NovaCare Complex later in the afternoon.
While Blount, 30, can make nearly $3 million with incentives with his new contract there are reasons for the length, size and timing of the contract and none of them points to the rest of the league believing the 6-foot, 250-pund battering ram is a top-tier option at the position despite his success with Tom Brady and Co.
“I’m excited to be here and compete for a job,” Blount said at the NovaCare Complex. “Whatever they want me to do I’m here for. I’m a very coachable player.”
This is the type of Band-Aid move that at times Howie Roseman decries and at others seems to embrace.
What you can say is that the Eagles don’t see Blount as part of the offensive core it hopes grows with second-year quarterback Carson Wentz and develops into a consistent championship-level unit in the future. That said, for 2017 he’s better than Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey or Corey Clement so in a lot of ways this is the same old, same old for an organization that is continuously trying to serve two masters, stay competitive while rebuilding at the same time.
“I think every team is trying to win championships,” Blount said. “No team is going out there expecting to not win. I think every team is expecting to win. You build the team around players who you know who will help you do that. Carson (Wentz) is one of the type of players you want to build around. I think they’re trying to win now. For sure.”
The Eagles haven’t promised anything to Blount and his role as the main back is not cemented but his resume as a two-time 1,000-yard runner certainly gives the Oregon product a leg up on his competition.
Blount had interest in other places with an NFL source telling 973espn.com that both Detroit and Arizona had offers on the table while the New York Giants were still exploring the idea of bringing him in.
“I had interest from other teams,” Blount confirmed. “I chose Philly because I thought it was the best place for me. I like the way they play ball.”
At 6-foot and nearly 250 pounds, Blount is imposing physically and larger than most of his new teammates playing linebacker. His presence will surely help a team that finished 27th in the NFL last season in short-yardage conversion percentage. Blount led the league in such circumstances.
Admittedly, it helps when Brady is playing quarterback, something Blount acknowledged, but anyway you slice it, his effectiveness in short-yardage is impressive and a tribute to his football IQ as well as his understanding of situational football.
“We had the best quarterback probably to ever play football. Tom is an amazing player,” Blount said. “He’s a smart player and when he out there he demands a lot of respect from any team you after playing against so that plays a big factor in it.”
Blount thinks he will also be in good hands with Wentz, however.
“He has the potential to be a really special player,” Blount said of Wentz. “He has all the tools that are needed and all the grinding that is needed. He has the mindset to maximize his abilities if he continues to work hard.”
There are downside to Blount as well, namely his age, the fact he has never been much of a receiver and he averaged a career-low 3.9 yards-per-carry last season.
Like most running backs he would prefer a lot of touches but understands a committee setup is needed in today’s more specialized NFL.
“As a running back you want to get in the rhythm of the game,” said Blount. “I wouldn’t put a number on (the number of carries he would like) but you kinda get a feel for it. …They haven’t given me a role just yet. I just gotta go out there, learn the offense and learn the playbook.”
The biggest intangible Blount brings is from his two stints in New England, which resulted in two Super Bowls wins but the back made sure to say it’s not about copying the Patriots’ way, it’s about finding your own way.
“I’ve been a part of something special,” he said. “I don’t think you need to bring the culture of New England here. They have a culture of their own. (The Eagles) have had a lot of great players of their own B-Dawk (Brian Dawkins), Duce (Staley). I don’t think you need to bring the culture of any team here.”
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen