A Powerful Case For LeGarrette Blount

July 13th, 2012

Joe’s damn glad former Bucs defensive end Steve White got the itch to put his fingers on the keyboard again. The guy’s written work is nothing short of a gift to Bucs fans.

This time, White has heard enough of the LeGarrette Blount bashing and doubting and sets out to dive deep into many factors — Xs and Os  included — as to why he expects serious improvement from Blount, as well as Doug Martin having a monumental task to become the Bucs’ No. 1 back.

Here’s a small snippet to his much larger story:

Second of all if Blount plays in the preseason behind this new Buccaneer offensive line bolstered by the signing of Carl Nicks he is likely to put on a show. Especially with the way the Bucs at least appear to be committing to smash mouth football and downhill runs its going to be hard to stop Blount from shining if they give him the rock. And its one thing I learned after 1999, the one year I was a starter in the NFL, and was eventually supplanted by my teammate Marcus Jones the next season. No matter how well you play in the preseason you can not control how much better than you your teammate might play.

“But Steve what if he doesn’t start and has to play with the second team Offensive Line?”

Thing is he would also be playing against the other team’s second team defense in that scenario and that could possibly give him an even better opportunity to dominate.

Thirdly, and maybe most important, Blount is going to be coached by Earnest Byner this year. Quick, no Googling allowed, who coached running backs for the Bucs last year?

I know you probably cheated anyway but it was Steve Logan, a guy who according to Wikipedia (yes I know, not the best source) last coached running backs in… 1998, before getting the Bucs running backs coaching job in 2009.

Doesn’t mean Logan was a bad coach, per se. But in Byner you have a guy that coached Clinton Portis in 2007 to 6th in the NFL in rushing yards, who coached Johnson and LenDale White to almost a combined 2000 yards rushing in 2008, who coached Johnson to his 2006 yard rushing season in 2009, who coached Jones-Drew to a combined 2,900 rushing yards over the last two seasons and the rushing title last year.

In short, I’m pretty sure he’s an upgrade over Logan.

And while he is likely to make a positive impression on Martin as well, again I haven’t actually seen what Martin can do yet on this level. With the last two seasons as a baseline I can imagine what Blount can be if he is improved this year. And those visions are scary for opposing defenses.

So for me I think if Blount improves this year the way most running backs do with a full offseason in an offense I think Martin would have to have an unreal preseason to unseat him.

Joe suggests you pull up a sandwich and click above to read White’s entire take.

Loyal readers of Joe know that Joe has firmly been in the camp that Blount was poorly used, poorly coached and has senselessly become a punching bag for fans who are quick to assume other players will have bounce-back seasons but not Blount. White takes on these issues and much more.

Regardless, Joe can’t wait to see Blount and Martin slug it out. Yeah, they’ll both be used a lot this season, but their will be one guy carrying more of the load and, perhaps, Greg Schiano might find his coveted bell cow.

30 Responses to “A Powerful Case For LeGarrette Blount”

  1. Nick2 Says:

    Joe, I totally agree. Blount has athleticism that you can’t coach. How many times did you see Brandon Jacobs (the guy he is most often compared to) go airborne and hurdle defenders? ZERO Blount has rare talent that Olson never could or wanted to harness. Now our defense pretty much put us in huge holes to start every game but Blount should dominate behind Nicks and this line. I like him as our starter not the backup to Martin. If you want to interchange them I am fine with that too but Martin has to prove his value first.

  2. big007hed Says:

    I agree with Steve that with the new and IMPROVED OLine in there Blount can do some major damage!!! This is an exciting time to be a Bucs fan….. Need the season to start already

  3. Fritz50 Says:

    Joe, just read the blog, & thanks for posting the link. I think both Steve White and you have a good idea what’s going to happen with the competition at camp this year. I, too, have been amazed at how quick fans have dumped on Blount. Steve made some good points about the big name company he has, in a lot of statistical catagories, and about his usage by ” The OC, who shall be nameless, henceforth”. I’m no super fan with encyclopedic football knowledge, just loved watching LB jump over & run over the other team’s players. Just glad he has another chance to shine this year. Can’t wait for th e season to get started. While I’ be thrilled to see another SB run (like that’s gonna happen) , but I’d REALLY be satisfied if I see constant real effort , all the time. Once again , thanks.

  4. Chris FWC Says:

    I’d be happier if he hit the hole strong, never left his feet unless near the goalline. Other than that he has been a Pro here. I’ve never seen a player avoid using his size as much as him.

  5. Thomas2.2 Says:

    Suggesting that switching from Logan to Byner makes a huge difference with Blount is foolish. If that helps, it helps Martin equally.

    Schiano and Byner drafted Martin – Martin is their first round stud. Blount is a cut, UFA picked up off the scrap heap by a previous failed and horrible regime.

    I know you pro-RahRah guys really really want something from that disgusting 3 years to materialize – I.e. Blount, McCoy etc.

    Move on ladies. Schiano traded up to get a player for Sullivan and Byner – that guy is Martin.

    Martin may not start the first play week 1 but he will be THE RB about mid-season.

  6. Pete 422 Says:

    A pissed off Blount behind this offensive line?? Geeeezzzzz…..

  7. Thomas2.2 Says:

    Nobody who has evaluated Blount thinks that he is specIal, even the selected segment from White theorizes that Byner and an offseason would improve Blount – meaning he needs improvement.

    Except for a few leaping long runs, he has not been a good RB.

  8. Luke Says:

    @Chris FWC you obviously were not watching the green bay game last year, LGB is going to have a break out season with the new and improved O line, and.coaching scheme! Can’t wait to see Buc ball back in Ray J!!!

  9. Luke Says:

    @thomas2.2 look at his numbers, the guy can tote the rock! Let’s not forget he was undrafted and a waiver pick up. I’d say we are pretty lucky to have him on the squad

  10. Chris FWC Says:

    @Luke I watched all games 2+ times. Go ahead single out one game. One play. But overall he avoids the hole and contact. I’m a fan of his but he is NOT elite.

  11. Mike J Says:

    I agree with Pete 422. In the Bucs’ NG, I was an early & often advocate of drafting Martin, but dismissing Blount as an afterthought is a mistake. I think he has his nose out of joint & is just itching to show what he can do.Byner will coach him up, teach him to run with his natural power & not bounce outside so much.

  12. Luke Says:

    @Chris FWC 4.6 yards/carry he must be doing something right!! And now with an upgraded O line, and a deep threat in V Jax, the sky is the limit!!!

  13. OAR Says:

    Ladies? You better feel again!
    Unfortunately the only thing to materialize from those disgusting years was you!
    BTW You suggesting Byner won’t be a difference is foolish!

  14. Fritz50 Says:

    ” teach him to run with his natural power & not bounce outside so much.”

    If you read the full Steve White post, you’d note that he took “the OC who shall remain nameless” to task for sending LB outside so much. My take is that he felt LB was doing as he was told, as opposed to being reluctant to hit the hole. We’ll never know the full truth, but White makes a good case.

  15. Fritz50 Says:

    “Suggesting that switching from Logan to Byner makes a huge difference with Blount is foolish. If that helps, it helps Martin equally”

    Pretty much what White said, cept in the rest of the blog, he explains that he feels LB has a head start, due to his 2 years of NFL experience. That, plus a real pre-season, plus Bynner, are what might give LB a small advantage, out of the blocks. Seems to me, also, that he has no intention of handing the job to the new kid. The completion can only make both better, so what are we arguing about? On a side note, anyone know what LB’s contract status is?

  16. Richard Dickson Says:

    I’m skeptical about that video he posted. It shows Blount catching the ball, and we’ve been told he’s unable to do that.

  17. Orlandobucfan Says:

    So I somewhat agree with Thomas ( I know I know). I don’t think the bucs traded up into the first round to get a backup running back especially since the first round players are able to sign for five years. I don’t think we drafted a five year backup to Blount I believe eventually this year martin will take over as a starter but Blount will also get a fair amount of carries ( probably more than he got last year since they hardly used him at all).

  18. jdtb27 Says:

    Blount and a Boise State player “slugging it out.” interesting choice of words…

  19. RickinFL Says:

    Steve White pings on something few if any “accredited pundits” have pinged on regarding LeGarrette Blount. As White points out, although Blount is a “third-year” player, 2012 is the first year he has even had one-second of off-season program, OTAs, or minicamp with the Buccaneers.

    It’s during that overall off-season package that NFL players learn the schemes, correct technique flaws, and build the fundamental base of both strength and skills that get them through the season. As White able points out on this forum, something I have pointed out on various fora previously, let’s wait and see what happens once Blount has a full off-season of work with Tampa Bay.

    Secondly, White’s blog post included an interesting video. It’s significance lies not in the “high light reel” runs but in the pass receiving and most importantly the 4-9 yard runs amassed by Blount. Blount is actually amazingly consistent in getting his yardage, peeling off positive yards, typically in the 4-9 yard range whenever he touches the ball. This sort of thing tends to wear down defenses, especially the smaller “pass defense minded” defenders found on many of today’s NFL’s teams.

    One negative I did notice on the film, however, is that Blount may never become the big 1-3 yard goalline or short yardage runner many expect him to become.

    Blount, on the film, appears to “need a seam (crack) to hit.” Now, that seam doesn’t need to be big. It can be nothing more than a sliver. However, when Blount hits that sliver he hits it like an oceanic wave that widens the opening and pours through it.

    I need to study the film provided by White more, but it appears, at least on an initial look, Blount’s running style precludes his “opening his own hole” in the solid wall of a goaline or short yardage defense. I may be wrong, but his style seems more suited to hitting the barest of seams and widening it into devestating proportions.

    That isn’t all bad for the Bucs or Blount, however, as there have been and continue to be “short yardage back” in the NFL. The backs who play on special teams and come into the offense to gain one, two, or three yards when needed.

  20. The D Says:

    All you people saying that you dont pick a RB in the first round and make him a back-up are clueless. In 05 Carolina picked D Williams in the first round, then 3 years later in 08 drafted his “back-up” J Stew with a top 15 pick! Pretty sure thats been a great tandem for the Panthers. Point is, you can have a 1st round RB be a “back-up” but both backs will get plenty of carries.

  21. Thomas2.2 Says:

    The D:

    They made Stewart a 2 headed RB tandem with another first rounder. Williams was a 10 overall, and the primary guy, Stewart was a little later and the secondary guy.

    That analogy supports our position buddy.

    You will not find many, if any, examples of a team trading up and into the first round to draft a RB and then make him a backup to the incumbent UFA making league minimum. Doesn’t happen.

    Why? Because the team traded up into the first round to draft a starter at RB bc they didn’t believe they had one. Trust me: they wanted TRich badly, Martin was their fall back. They viewed TRich, Martin, Wilson etc as superior to Blount.

    Once Martin settles in, Blount will be a backup.

  22. BamBamBuc Says:

    Blount does have an advantage in this battle. Thomas has never responded to a single response I’ve given him on the subject because every fact I throw at him disproves his point. How does “Logan to Byner” affect Blount differently than Martin? Because Blount had Logan as a RB coach, Martin hasn’t. Blount does, however, have two years (fairly successful even) in the NFL against NFL defenses, Martin doesn’t have that. What neither of these guys has had is an off-season of work with Bucs coaches on a Bucs offense working on things like pass protections, playbook, pass routes, etc.

    Was Martin a first round choice (2nd pick by the Bucs)? Yeah, he was. About the same as Mark Ingram in draft position last year (who only got 122 carries for the Saints, and averaged less than 4 ypc, only had 11 receptions in a pass happy offense, etc). The 2nd RB taken never saw a snap his rookie year due to injury, so let’s hope Martin doesn’t compare to Ryan Williams in Arizona. We could go back to 2010 (the year we got Blount as an undrafted rookie that was cut by the Titans) and see that the first RB taken, CJ Spiller, only has 181 total carries and 844 total yards in his two years. His total yards from scrimmage in two years barely beat out Blount’s rookie rushing yards. The second back taken in 2010 was Ryan Matthews, whose numbers are much more similar to Blounts over the two years, even though Blount was undrafted AND cut. What this says is that just because Martin was the 2nd RB taken and a first round pick does NOT automatically mean he’ll have more success than Blount, and odds are that he WON’T have more success, especially early on. But Thomas doesn’t care about what ACTUALLY happens in the NFL, just what he makes up in his own mind.

    2009 gets even worse, as Knowshon Moreno hasn’t produced in 3 years as the #1 RB off the board much more in total yardage than undrafted/under-utilized Blount has in his two years. #2 RB off the board was Donald Brown of the Colts, and he’s well below Blounts 2 year total after 3 years. Only the 3rd RB taken in the first round in 09 has better #s after 3 years than Blount has after 2, and that’s Beanie Wells. In 2008, #1 RB Darren McFadden has a whopping 2627 yards in 4 YEARS, while Blount’s two year total on the ground is sitting at 1788.

    Of course, undrafted players just can’t play as well as 1st round picks. Just look at Arian Foster, two time Pro Bowler and first team All Pro. What a poor excuse for a RB he is…. top 10 in the league the past two years. And how BAD is Pierre Thomas… 5 years in the league as an undrafted player, kept in favor of former first round pick Reggie Bush, even had nearly identical carries last year as newly acquired first round pick Mark Ingram, over 5 ypc and 50 receptions…. pitiful.

  23. BamBamBuc Says:

    Thomas, see above post….. Pierre Thomas – prime example of an undrafted player getting time with two highly praised first round picks, and the Saints DID move up to get Ingram.

  24. Mike J Says:

    Fritz50, no I did not see that, thanks for pointing it out. It is actually good news!

  25. The D Says:

    Thomas, no it doesnt. What I was saying was that Carolina had an established RB who was young, then spent a 1st on his back-up. As BamBam showed, the Bucs DO have an established RB in Blount, so the addition of Martin is just to have a 2 headed tandem. Obviously, management didnt like Wilson as much as you claim since they traded in front of the Giants to steal Martin from them, instead of Wilson.

  26. BamBamBuc Says:

    The Saints will keep kicking holes in Thomas’ theory about #1 draft pick RBs. They also have Chris Ivory, who was also undrafted. Pierre Thomas started the most games at RB with 7 starts. Darren Sproles (not drafted, nor undrafted by the Saints, a free agent pickup the same year as they drafted a guy in the 1st round) did the most damage. When the 1st round guy (Ingram) went down with heel and ankle injuries late in the year (and only 4 starts under his belt), it was Chris Ivory (Undrafted) who stepped in and played well into the playoffs.

    Arian Foster still killing Ben Tate (2nd round pick) for the Texans. LeGarrette Blount came in undrafted and cut by the Titans and with no off-season with the team, yet still out-played former first round pick Cadillac Williams and undrafted former starter Ernest Graham. I’m not gonna keep going, it’s too easy to rub this in….

  27. FreemanBomb5 Says:

    I thought Deangelo Williams was picked in the late first round like 27th? No way he was picked in the top ten but coming out of school I would probably think Williams and Stewart both projected as superior backs to Hamster.

    Ray Rice, Matt Forte, and MJD were all second round picks or later, in order for hamster to live upto his draft selection he better be damn good. I don’t think Dom has a good track record with second picks in his drafts.

    09 – traded to Cleveland for Winslow
    10 – Price and Benn
    11- Bowers

    Hopefully Martin can “buc” the trend.

  28. Mr Lucky Says:

    I think that the key to Freeman’s playing more like the 2010 form is having a solid running game, to take pressure off of Josh.

    I believe that we’ll see 50% Blount and 50% Martin during the preseason and that will determine who the starting RB is.

    Personally I’d like to see Blount/Martin be a reincarnation of the WD40 era of Dunn/Allstot.

    However this isn’t a position that I’m worried about – that’s the OTHER side of the ball; shoring up a porous defense that has the Bucs falling 20+ points into the hole.

  29. FactsMatter Says:

    The thing that will determine whether Blount plays more than Martin will not be running ability or even pass catching ability.
    It is who understands the plays being called and ability to pass block. When a RB is in on a pass play, the QB has to determine how many defenders will be rushing, and if there is a blitz, has to call for the RB to NOT go on his pass route, but stay and pick up his defender.
    That’s Job #1.
    You cannot catch a ball if the QB is on the ground.

    If the other team knows a RB cannot pass-block, then if he is in a formation, they know its a running play, and can adjust to stack the box. Off

    Pass blocking isn’t a sexy highlight reel thing, but it matters far more than being able to leap over a guy.

  30. BucFan20 Says:

    Trere is the first sign of trouble. You better hope Freeman has figured out how to read a defense.