Do the Pats miss LeGarrette Blount - A think piece

Henry McKenna
LG is such an interesting player in this league. He went to community college for two years at East Mississippi and dominated. After his sophomore year he had interest from a ton of big schools, finally settling on Oregon. His junior year he put up solid numbers, but clashed with his head coach and was suspended at the end of the season for not following team rules. His senior year Chip Kelly took over as head coach and had big plans for Blount. In their opening game they lost to Boise St and Blount finished with -5 yards. Oh, he also punched two dudes in the face at the end of the game and was suspended for (essentially) the rest of the season. Not great!

Due to his antics, he went undrafted in the NFL. The Titans signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2010. Then in August he punched one of his teammates in camp. He was waived in September. Was it because he punched someone? The Titans said no, but I mean, yes.

The next day after being cut, he signed with the Bucs. He didn’t get his first start until week 3, but he would go on to post 1,007 yards that season. The most by any NFL rookie that year and only the second undrafted rookie to ever post a 1000 yard season. He was banged up a little bit in 2011, and saw his production dip. Then in 2012 he was replaced by 31st overall pick Doug Martin’s beast 1454 yards. His time in Tampa was clearly done.

On April 27th, 2013 the Pats traded for Blount. We sent the Bucs a 7th round pick and a Jeff Demps.

LOLOLOL. The track star never played another snap of football in the NFL. Meanwhile Blount rushed for 774 yards and 7 tuddies for us. His 5 attempts for 6 yards in our loss to the Broncos in the AFCCG didn’t take me from six to midnight, but clearly we won that trade.

Thinking he was worth more money all of a sudden, Blount left for a bigger pay day in Pittsburgh. His main contribution was blowing tree in the car with Leveon Bell, leading to both of them being suspended to start the year. Blount quickly wore out his welcome in the steel city, and was waived after week 11. After he cleared waivers he realized that life is meaningless and without purpose unless you are taking handoffs from a mythical warrior sent to earth to teach our civilization how to coexist and to win football games. Naturally, he resigned with the Pats. I’m not ruling out the fact Bill sent him to Pitt as a rogue agent to infiltrate their inner circle a la Sergeant Nick Brody.

Blount enjoyed a Super Bowl campaign with the Pats in 2014. He had another 700 yard season in 2015. And then in 2016, after signing a 1 year extension, he rushed for 1161 yards and 18 tuddies, the latter of which led the league (and ripped an MVP of mine and Tom’s finger but that’s neither here nor there.) Despite a devastating fumble in the first quarter of the Super Bowl which basically led to his benching, LG collected his second ring in two years.

During the off season it began to look like the money wasn’t going to line up again. Coming off an 18 tuddy campaign can make your pupils turn into dollar signs. Even though New England is really the only place LG has ever been good, and he seems to honestly love it here, (watch the super bowl DVDs one time. He loves Tom and Bill so much. “You’re the greatest. And you’re the fucking greatest.” He also tweeted out love for Jules when he went down in the preseason) he decided to move on. Or maybe we decided for him. As soon as we put in an offer on restricted free agent Mike Gillislee, and signed Rex Burkhead from the Bengals, the writing was on the wall. Blount was flying with Eagles and we were taking our revamped super team on the way to another Super Bowl run without him.

Through 4 weeks, Gilly has 57 attempts, 194 yards, and 4 tuddies. His splits are as follows: 15 for 45 and 3 / 18 for 69 and 1 / 12 for 31 and 0 / 12 for 49 and 0. I don’t want to say Blount’s 2016 is the standard, clearly it’s the best season of his career and probably will finish that way, but here’s what he had through 4 weeks last year. 88 attempts, 352 yards, and 4 tuddies. His splits: 22 for 70 and 1 / 29 for 123 and 1 / 24 for 105 and 2 / 13 for 54 and 0. The yards per carry isn’t waaaay off but it kind of is. Blount was going at 4 yards per clip, while Gilly is at 3.4

One thing I think is cool about Blount is that he’s still loved here. It’s rare these days in pro sports that an athlete can leave a place to go to another team in free agency but is still showered in praise upon his return. I wanted Welker’s head on a spike when he left. Chris Long and Jabaal Sheard might get a cool video tribute but I don’t really give a shit about them. If Logan Ryan ever returns in an enemy sweater the only thing I will be clapping for is the billion comeback routes he gives up to whoever he is guarding all game. LG is the man. He hung out with the minutemen. He will get a standing O, whether he deserves it or not.

But even with that being said, count me among the people who was pumped to bring in Gilly. He seemed like a younger runner who could still bruise people between the tackles but came with a more versatile skill set than LG. I thought he could run out of the shotgun in obvious passing sets. I thought he could catch passes out of obvious running sets. I wouldn’t say Gilly has been a disappointment but then again he kinda has. His efficiency at the goal line was well advertised and he has delivered on that so far. But he has a couple bruuutal short yardage mishaps (not totally his fault) and his involvement in the offense isn’t where I want it to be.

I’ve said to anyone who will listen, this Pats team is at its best when we are balanced and unpredictable. Duh. I suppose that’s true for every team but it’s especially true for us. We can’t be throwing on every down because our oline isn’t good enough and Tom gets killed. Tom’s attempts the first four weeks in 2016: 40, 35, 26, 33. 134 Total. Tom’s attempts the first four weeks in 2017: 36, 39, 35, 45. 155 total. Again not waaay off but it kind of is. This team needs Tom healthy and alive, and part of that formula is an effective running game.

It’s worth noting that before his week 4 explosion of 16 carries for 136 yards and a tuddy, Blount had done less than nothing in Philly. But that’s irrelevant to me because the only place he has a home is at One Patriot Place, and that’s obvious.

Gilly has time to be a good signing. And I still believe Burkhead plays a huge role when he gets healthy. But right now both of them can kick rocks as far as I’m concerned. If Blount wants to roll a fatty with his next Philly cheese steak and get himself cut, I wouldn’t say no to a late night “you up?” text.