LeGarrette Blount’s Hands Are “A Plus”

June 15th, 2012

OK folks, buckle up. It’s a steamy Friday afternoon and Joe is thirsty. This makes Joe cranky.

There’s another thing that makes Joe irritable: That’s Bucs offensive coaches last year slandering running back LeGarrette Blount.

Now Joe is funny about coaches. Joe’s a big coaches kind of guy. Dates back to the respect and relationship Joe had with his old football coach, a guy that played for John Madden, Tom Landry, Gene Stallings and Lou Holtz (not bad, huh?).

To Joe, coaches are teachers. Good coaches dedicated to their craft, like teachers, will go above and beyond the call of duty to exhaust every possible way to help you improve. In some respects, it’s called “responsibility.”

Last year, Bucs offensive coaches leaked all sorts of awful things about Blount, some of which Joe does not deny were true, for example, not being punctual for meetings and perhaps not knowing the playbook as well as others (neither did Kellen Winslow, by the way).

One fallacy that was whispered about Blount was that he couldn’t catch passes out of the backfield. Joe thought this was strange in that Joe saw Blount with his own eyes catch balls in training camp, and then there was a 29-yard reception against one of the NFL’s top defenses, San Francisco.

Well, yesterday at One Buc Palace following the end of minicamp, new Bucs coach Greg Schiano slammed the door on this nonsense that Blount can’t catch when asked about Blount’s pass-catching ability.

“I thought he did a pretty good job,” Schiano said of Blount catching balls in minicamp. “Just watching what I saw here and on tape, does he have good hands? I think his hands are fine. I don’t know how that will translate into our game plan but he can catch the football and that is a plus.”

Simply put, Blount was misused if not unused last year by a staff that didn’t know how to use him, didn’t know how to coach him up, and as a result leaked all sorts of foul things about him in a desperate, shameless attempt to save their own hides.

Consider, this is the offensive coaching staff that called for Blount, who averaged five yards a carry in 2010, to touch the ball five times in a season-opening loss to the Lions. FIVE!

Why, Blount was so terrible of a pass catcher, he caught two less passes (15) than Frank Gore of the 49ers (17). Strange, to Joe’s knowledge, there was no angst from Jim Harbaugh’s staff nor outrage from Niners fans that Gore seemingly can’t catch the ball out of the backfield.

As for Blount being late to meetings or allegedly not knowing the playbook, Joe has a couple of stories from two of greatest coaches in American sport.

If anyone during this current downtime of the NFL calendar wants a good book to read, Joe suggests Season on the Brink, a riveting inside look at Bob Knight in his heyday coaching the Indiana Hoosiers.

Knight had a player named Steve Eyl, who in Knight’s system was a good player in that he did so many little things right, and was a part-time starter for Knight’s last NCAA championship in 1987 (led by lethal-shooting Steve Alford). But Eyl’s Achilles was shooting. He was terrible.

Knight exhausted all measures in trying to get Eyl to shoot better. Not wanting to give up on Eyl, Knight would bring in friends of his, such as John Havlicek, to work with Eyl. When this produced limited results, Knight would bring in PGA Tour pros to work with Eyl as Knight believed a shooting stroke in basketball was no different than a golf swing.

Also, when Knight hired graduate assistant coaches, one of their responsibilities was to actually pick up and chauffeur players to practice. If a player was late, not only would the player pay, but so too would the grad assistants. It was their job to find a way, any way, to see to it the players were at practice on time.

Did Olson really go out of his way to try to help Blount? Joe has his doubts.

Then there is a story Joe heard Bill Parcells speak of. When he was a young college assistant, Parcells thought he was clear to a player about a specific assignment and when the player blew that assignment on the very first play, Parcells totally lost control and railed at the player when Parcell’s head coach pulled him aside and told Parcells, “Well coach, you obviously weren’t clear enough with the young man.”

Did Olson do his best to help Blount learn every nuance of the playbook fully? Did he even go so far as to perhaps hire a tutor to help Blount learn the playbook, if indeed he did not know the plays?

Again, Joe has his doubts. If Olson was truly more concerned about winning than just giving orders, he would have taken a page out of Knight and Parcells’ book of coaching and done his best to ensure Blount was on time and knew his playbook, therefore helping the team win, not just whine and shrug shoulders and point fingers.

Lastly — and no one has been able to give Joe a clear answer on this — if Blount was this much of an albatross to the team, then why the hell was he on the active roster? If he was on the active roster, then use him. If he didn’t know the playbook, he shouldn’t have been active.

Joe’s looking forward to seeing what coaches who are motivated to help players can get out of Blount.

21 Responses to “LeGarrette Blount’s Hands Are “A Plus””

  1. robert Says:

    GOOD READ… it’s amazing to me olsen is even employable. a 6 year old could predict his plays, and they were poorly designed @ that. and rah is a frickin moron. you know the saying “you can’t fix stupid” when i watched him speak i cringed everytime he would start with “yer talkin about a guy”……. from everything i am hearing we have smart men running the show now. men who are motivated and far from being the mental midgets of the previous regime. i am stoked this year.

  2. Have A Nice Day Says:

    Neither Olsen or Rah were very good teachers. The lack of progression and abundance of regression of all of our draft picks and veterans, respectively, are pretty good evidence.

  3. Eric Says:

    I have heard Qb’s say one of the hardest throws is hitting a back properly out of the backfield. If he has to change directions slightly or reach for it throws things off.

    Not remembering how good Free is that throw, but its a variable also, in addition to the playcalling, blocking, running ability, etc.

    In other words, a lot more to it than good hands. Thats only half the battle at most.

    Gonna take Blount and/or Martin plus a lot of others to make it work.

  4. OAR Says:

    “Gonna take Blount and/or Martin plus a lot of others to make it work.”

    Is that why it’s called a “team” sport?

  5. Miguel Grande Says:

    Friends, Tampan’s, countrymen, lend me your ears;
    I come to bury LaGarrette, not to praise him.

    The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interred with their bones;
    So let it be with Blount. The noble Thomas 2.2
    Hath told you LaGarrete was ambitious:
    If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
    And grievously hath Blount answer’d it.

    Here, under leave of Thomas 2.2 and the rest -
    For Thomas is an honourable man;
    So are they all, all honourable men -
    Come I to speak in LaGarrete’s funeral.

    He was our friend, faithful and just to us:
    But Thomas says he was ambitious;
    And Thomas is an honourable man.

    He hath brought many victories home to Tampa
    Whose ransoms did the Glazer’s coffers fill:
    Did this in LaGarrette seem ambitious?

    When that the fans have cried, Blount hath wept:
    Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
    Yet Thomas says he was ambitious;
    And Thomas 2.2 is an honourable man.

    You all did see that on Blount
    I twice presented him a kingly crown,
    Which he did twice refuse: was this ambition?
    Yet Thomas says he was ambitious;
    And, sure, he is an honourable man.

    I speak not to disprove what Thomas 2.2 spoke,
    But here I am to speak what I do know.
    You all did love him once, not without cause:
    What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?

    O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
    And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
    My heart is in the coffin there with LaGarrette,
    And I must pause till it come back to me.

    Acknowledgements:

    Bill Shakespeare (Julius Caesar)
    Tisdale Cabernet Sauvignon (California)

    reprinted from late yesterday, darn the time zone difference

  6. OAR Says:

    I bet someone uses a yellow highlighter when reading the Sunday comics!

  7. Stevek Says:

    Who in the hell was calling plays against Detroit last year?

    5 phucking carries, that made me sick.

    One would think to pound the rock against Detroit, to shorten the game and less times to air it out to Megatron.

    A guy starts 10 games and rushes for 1K yards, and you feed him 5 carries. That should punishable by Goodell.

    Rah’s Defense sucked terribly, as symbolized by our addition of Shamu Haynesworth.

    2012 sucked, thanks be to Tebow for 2012.

    And another thing, “Checkdown to Lumpikin” should have been “carry/Checkdown to Blount”.

    Me hate Hayneswurf > Thomas hates GMC’s production

    At least GMC got hurt “trying”. Piece of shart Haynesworth gets paid $40,000,000 and chose to do NOTHING.

  8. RustyRhino Says:

    Thanks Miguel Grande that was good.
    Yeah I can’t wait to see the pass out in the flat after play action, with no one around then the Blount mash machine can take some shots… on the D.
    And we pound the ball again and again and again.

  9. NeanderthalMan Says:

    I don’t think you can trust Blount. I don’t like him.

  10. hamilton Says:

    blount may not like you neanderthalman.

  11. buxter Says:

    Schiano’s comment about being unsure how Blount’s receiving ability might translate into the offense is telling.

    Yet comments about Martin and Smith all state or infer “three down back” or “all phases”.

    I think one dimensional back bias toward Blount may still have some life at OBP. Realizing this is just one point of data…. but am I wrong to think this Joe?

  12. Joe Says:

    buxter:

    Schiano’s comment about being unsure how Blount’s receiving ability might translate into the offense is telling.

    Joe is taking a totally different read. First, Schiano said there was nothing wrong with Blount’s hands catching the ball. He was pretty clear cut. Nothing to read into that. Joe took the comment about gameplan as “I’m not sure how often Sullivan will call plays to throw him the ball.”

    Schiano really isn’t a guy that’s into coded messages.

  13. Stevek Says:

    Blount is going to have a great year, and so is Martin.

    We are going to pound the rock.

  14. Thomas2.2 Says:

    “his hands are fine.” unsure “how that translates into our offense.”

    Translation: he can catch the ball in underwear, but he will never be a critical part of our passing game bc he stinks at everything else.”

    That is a very telling statement from Schiano.

    Joe, no matter how hard you try – rah and Dom did not want Blount in on passing downs and are much more responsible (just like the Oregon coaches) for Blount not being a part of the passing game than Olson.

    Every from Oregon to West Florida has recognized that Blount can’t read a play and determine whether to pick up the blitz or release and then decide what route to run at what depth.

    If Free was confident in Blount, Blount would be playing. Free knows that he will get killed if Blount misreads a third and 6 blitz, so Free would prefer Lumpkin over LB.

  15. Thomas2.2 Says:

    Newsflash:

    Lagerrette Blount caught 4 passes during his entire career at Oregon!

    4.

    That is just 4 more than Hswaiian – and it’s all Greg Olson’s fault.

    I guess the national debt is all Greg Olson’s fault Joe. Lol

  16. BamBamBuc Says:

    Thomas – could you send me a link to the article or interview with Free where he states that he doesn’t trust Blount? Or are you just making that up?

    As for Blount’s “hands being a plus”, that’s very true. Not much different than Jerome Bettis hands being a plus for the Steelers. They didn’t use Bettis in their offense for his pass catching abilities. They used him for his bruising running style and the ability to run “hard” play action passes where the LBs had no choice but to come up when they faked it to Bettis, because if they didn’t he’d chug on down the field bowling people over. If he ever did catch the ball, it was a plus.

    Same for players like Earl Campbell. It was a plus if he could turn the corner on a sweep, as he was more of a “between the tackles” kinda RB. But Campbell could turn the corner and that was a plus. Run a counter play to pull the LBs inside and then sweep off tackle where Campbell would pummel DBs.

    There are many “one dimensional” backs that are that way for a reason, a purpose. Blount is a bruising runner that will be used in that capacity most of the time. When he catches a pass for a 29 yard gain against one of the best defenses…. that’s a plus.

    Part of the whole “lack of teaching” thing is the lack of off-season work for Blount. That’s where they do most of the teaching. They don’t have time during the season to teach playbooks and such. They work on a game plan for their next opponent. Blount hasn’t had many opportunities to be taught at the pro level and hasn’t had the best teachers either. Yet, he’s still had success on ability alone. I was watching the Man Channel the other day and they were talking about Jason Pierre-Paul. How he’s “improvising” most of the time and using raw talent to make plays. How his ceiling of potential is still incredibly high because he still has so much to learn but his ability has already made him one of the best. Hmmm…. using raw ability and still having much to learn = high ceiling of potential? Sounds like Blount. Both entered the league the same year, JPP at least had his rookie year off-season with his current team (Blount was with the Titans until final cuts). Blount got some work with the Titans, but never with the Bucs.

  17. Stevek Says:

    I am ok with a 1 dimensional Blount.

    A spade is a spade.

    A win is a win.

    So be it, LGB will get his carries behind our O-Line.

    Remember in 2010, we won those 10 games partly bc of Blount.

    Blount’s nasty attitude and the way he hit Defenders set the tone for the whole ball club.

    Fact: LGB ran over and ended Saint’s Safety Malcom Jenkins season. We best the Saints, and then the SeaHawks came in for sloppy seconds.

    I want the LGB that pummels defenders to get 10+ carries a game, and see what happens.

    Martin is the starter bc of versatility, but Schaino’s no dummy, he will play the “best 11″ out there based on matchup/ hot hand.

  18. Stevek Says:

    Schiano was smart enough to keep feeding Ray Rice while @ Rutgers, right Eric?

  19. BamBamBuc Says:

    Hey Thomas… no response? Again? Can’t handle the truth? How about some more? I was looking through NFL.com videos to see plays from Bucs games again. Specifically sacks. Freeman was sacked 3 times in the last Panthers game. Blount was pulled from that game for a “fumble” that was credited to Freeman as an “aborted” handoff very early in the game that led to a Panthers TD. Lumpkin and Madu were in for most of the rest of the game, including all 3 sacks on Freeman. Or the Cowboys game when they sent a Safety blitz that was beautifully picked up by Blount, only to have Freeman sacked by a D-line stunt against Donald Penn. Jacksonville sacked Freeman and he fumbled the ball… it was recovered by Madu. Wonder how much Blount was at fault on that one… I’m not all the way back in the videos yet, but Lumpkin, Madu, and the O-line look as much responsible for Freeman sacks on pass plays as Blount. I’ve seen a couple play-action passes where Freeman got sacked when Blount was in the game… but it’s play action… he’s supposed to look like he’s got the ball, NOT block. And he did get into the open on his route on those plays, but Freeman was sacked too quickly to see him. I can post the links to many of these videos if you can’t search NFL.com’s video archives yourself. Again, can you post links to interviews or articles of Freeman saying he lacks confidence in Blount???

  20. Amar Says:

    BamBam,

    Way to dispute and follow up, hat tip!

    Respectfully,

    Amar.

  21. BamBamBuc Says:

    Thanks, Amar.

 
 

Leave a Reply

Current day month ye@r *