By Michael Bennett
Forget Alshon Jeffery, Derek Barnett and Tim Jernigan.
Well, don’t forget those big-time additions to the Eagles’ roster.
They’ll all have an impact in the 2017 season.
But not as much as LeGarrette Blount!
He signed a one-year, $1.25 million contract in May.
Blount experienced a career season with the New England Patriots in 2016 by setting personal bests in carries (299), rushing yardage (1,161) and rushing touchdowns (18).
While the Eagles won’t expect Blount to replicate last year’s production with Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey in a crowded backfield, the 250-pound back will provide a much-needed physical presence.
“Oh, Doug [Pederson] communicated it himself,” running backs coach Duce Staley told ESPN.com’s Tim McManus. “He talked about running the ball: ‘We’re not bringing these guys in here just to sit them up on the shelf. We want to run the ball, and we want to impose our will.'”
The veteran’s ability to pound the ball between the tackles is still valuable enough to offset any regression due to the dreaded 30-year-old plateau. Furthermore, Blount’s game isn’t built around speed or quickness. According to Pro Football Focus, the two-time Super Bowl champion broke 76 tackles since the start of the 2015 campaign, which ranked fourth among running backs.
Blount can be a successful short-yardage/red-zone specialist in a rotation that features smaller and more explosive options.