LeGarrette Blount set the single-season rushing touchdown record for a franchise he no longer plays for. But the running back’s 18 scores with the New England Patriots in 2016 still live on as he enters 2017 with the Philadelphia Eagles.
They live on in the film.
And each fast-forward and rewind is helping Doug Pederson piece together the puzzle before him.
“I think just knowing and kind of watching him last year, what he did with New England on their Super Bowl run, just the impact he had in the red zone – I constantly find myself going back and watching those touchdown runs that he had,” the Philadelphia Eagles head coach told reporters in his press conference Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field, via PhiladelphiaEagles.com.
Blount averaged a touchdown every 16 carries over the course of his final campaign in Foxborough.
The 6-foot, 250-pounder scored at least once in a dozen of New England’s games, with nine coming on first down, four on second down, three on third down and two on fourth down.
As for distance, Blount accounted for 11 of his touchdowns within one yard of the end zone, two in the three- to five-yard range, two in the eight- to nine-yard range, another from 13 yards out, and a couple more from 40-plus yards out.
His new coach watched all 18. Then he revisited them.
“I did,” Pederson said. “I did. I watched them a couple times this spring. I actually went back and watched them the other day.”
Past production may not hold much weight, but the case is a little different when a 30-year-old back is coming off an NFL-high in touchdowns and career-highs with 299 carries and 1,161 yards. With Blount, who signed a one-year, $1.25 million contract worth up to $2.8 million in May, it’s understanding how the utilization has correlated to the production.
Has it been the volume? The short-yardage situations? The gaps? The personnel groupings? The front-seven matchups?
Pederson has his notes.
“He’s a big, physical, downhill runner,” Pederson said of Blount. “I saw it [Saturday] in some of that inside-run period – the explosiveness. He’s got great vision to make little jump cuts and read defensive linemen. But just that big body in the backfield, I think for a defender, presents a big problem from a one-on-one tackling standpoint. Exciting to see him as we get going down these games.”
Blount is joined in the Eagles’ backfield by Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Ryan Mathews, Byron Marshall, fourth-round pick Donnel Pumphrey and undrafted free agent Corey Clement leading up to the games.
Half of whom are listed at 5-foot-9 or shorter and 200 pounds or lighter, though all of whom will get their touches in the coming weeks.
“Again, we’re in an evaluation process, so we’ve got to see what the guys can do,” said Pederson. “We want to see LeGarrette obviously in our system, running our plays … So, it’s just a matter of getting them equal time, but at the same time, seeing how at this time of the year how they will play out and how they will fit into our offense going into the regular season.”
It’ll be worth monitoring just when and where Blount does.