Blount bursts into Patriots RB mix

Blount bursts into Patriots RB mix
August 12, 2013, 10:45 am
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When the Patriots traded for LeGarrette Blount, I needed to study up on exactly why he fell so far so fast in Tampa. He was, basically, a pain in the ass.  He also dropped the football too much in his first two seasons in the league.
 
So, for Bucs coach Greg Schiano, who wanted to ratchet up intensity and accountability in his first year, Blount was a marked man. And expendable, as Tampa Bay showed by dealing him for a seventh-round pick in April after a 41-carry season in 2012.
 
I spoke to Blount at length for the first time last Thursday. He was funny and honest. For a guy who’s punched a lot of people, he didn’t seem a hotheaded moron. Friday night, he conjured a 51-yard touchdown run but more pertinent were his short-yardage pickups and making people miss at the second level. He wasn’t going against the ’85 Bears, but it was enough to indicate that there’s plenty for the Patriots to work with there. Blount is 6-1, at least 250 pounds and just 26.
 
Assessing the Patriots stable of running backs, Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and Leon Washington are layups for the final roster. Brandon Bolden and Blount figure to be in competition for the final running back spot on the roster. Working in Bolden’s favor is his special teams value. He plays all of them. The running-into-the-kicker penalty Friday night was dumb, unforced and costly. It wasn’t a play that will eliminate Bolden by any means, but you don’t want that stuck in the coaches minds either. Bolden didn’t get very many early reps on Friday. It’s too soon to conclude, though, that based on playing time Blount has an edge. The two players could be alternating early in preseason. We’ll know more after the game Friday night against Tampa Bay. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the two players are not similar runners. Blount is 6-1, 250 (at least). Bolden is 5-11, 220. Bolden is more similar to Ridley than he is Blount.   
 
Blount is unique. He stands out. And not always in a positive way. Based on early impressions, Blount should spark optimism. But until further info is submitted, keep that in check.