FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick made something very clear Wednesday morning.
The Patriots believed in LeGarrette Blount long before Sunday night's 47-yard touchdown run in Atlanta.
"The confidence in him has been since day one," the coach stated. "There’s no issue with confidence in LeGarrette, none."
Belichick framed his praise in an interesting way. It was the fourth quarter third-and-1 run Blount did not convert he highlighted.
"It was probably as good a run as we've had all year," Belichick insisted. "I don't know about the spot on that one, but he did everything he could to get that first down. It was a very close play."
Blount got the handoff at the two minute warning. New England was up 30-23, and a first down likely would have given the team a drama-free win right there. But the back got stuffed and Atlanta got another shot to tie it up.
"I mean the fact that he even got as close as he did – again, we could talk about whether he did or didn’t have the first down, but whatever he got on that was more than on his own," Belichick said. "Nobody will ever talk about that one. I think that's as good a run as we've had. I know it didn't gain any yards but that was a good run."
That Belichick would question a spot ruling that was challenged and upheld, one of those game moments that usually just 'is what it is,' shows just how impressed he was by the effort.
But respect for Blount's quickness and vision is not new to this coaching staff, even if everyone else in the league is only now starting to pay attention.
Said offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels: "We knew when we got him that he was a guy who had been productive before, and he runs hard, has deceptive speed that we’ve seen a few times already this season -- I think once in the preseason in Philadelphia and again the other night in Atlanta.
"He’s just a good runner, a good football player."