Blount Remains a Big Part of Eagles’ Plans
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Eagles coach Doug Pederson spiked speculation that the organization might consider moving on from running back LeGarrette Blount, who has struggled throughout the preseason.
"I mean, the guy is a beast of a runner," the coach said when asked about the veteran's roster status. "I don't know what else to tell you. "[He had] 18 touchdowns, 15 in the red zone, last year. ...You saw yesterday [in the joint practice with Miami] the style of running that he can do."
In two preseason games thus far, Blount has carried it nine times for just 17 total yards (1.9 yards per attempt) and because he signed a modest one-year, $1.25 million contract as a free agent which would include only $400,000K in dead money if Philadelphia moves on, some have speculated that undrafted rookie Corey Clement could make Blount disposable.
As reported on The Sports Bash Monday by 973espn.com, however, Philadelphia's plan at the running back position remains steady with Blount as the bell cow and Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood mixing in from there, something Pederson virtually cemented on Tuesday after the second joint practice session with the Dolphins.
Pederson also explained the preseason environment as a whole.
"The other thing is, we're not game-planning these [preseason] games, so it's really hard going into a game saying, 'This is best against this team.' We're trying to execute our plays," he explained. "As coaches, we might be doing our players an injustice by putting them in bad situations. But you saw what he's done the last couple of days.
"I'm excited he's here, and he's going to be a big part of our offense."
-Both Brandon Graham (triceps) and Jordan Hicks (described by Pederson as a quad but we've also heard groin) were held out of practice after each left early on Monday. Neither injury is considered to be serious but don't expect to see either for the rest of the preseason. Veteran Chris Long handled Graham's reps with the first team at left end while Najee Goode was back and took the reps at MLB with the starters.
-With Matt Tobin now gone, Pederson spoke highly of Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Dillon Gordon as backups to Jason Peters and Lane Johnson. Vaitai shapes up as the gameday swing tackle and Taylor Hart is all of a sudden looking more important in his transition from five-technique defensive end to tight tackle. The ex-defensive lineman held his own against Cameron Wake at one point on one-on-one drills which was very impressive. Gordon, meanwhile, did very well today against Miami first-round pick Charles Harris, a player the Eagles reportedly had interest in.
-Both defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao and defensive end Vinny Curry (cramping) left practice early with trainers but seemed OK. Backup QB Nick Foles was held out for precautionary measures.
-Jay Cutler overthrew Julius Thomas during team drills and Malcolm Jenkins made a beautiful diving interception.
-Carson Wentz was sharp again for the most part but during a two-minute drill he had a TD to Zach Ertz down the seam but overthrew the football.
-On one play Cutler showed off his rare arm talent by rolling to his left and firing a strike to DeVante Parker deep down the left sideline, who had gotten behind Jalen Mills for the TD. It seemed like Mills didn't think Cutler could get the ball that far while throwing off the wrong foot and as secondary coach Cory Undlin told the young corner to "finish," Mills pointed to the sky and joked 'eclipse."
-The heat was brutal in South Philadelphia on Tuesday but the Dolphins are used to practicing in that kind of environment and many laughed when told this was the hottest practice of the summer for the Eagles.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen