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4 things to know about new Detroit Lions running back LeGarrette Blount

Learning a little more on Blount from Patriots’ and Eagles’ guys.

Super Bowl LII - Philadelphia Eagles v New England Patriots Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It’s that time of the year again, Detroit Lions fans. It’s time once again to head to Jeremy Reisman’s office and get my travel itinerary for this years round of Four Questions. Today’s piece gets us started off on an interesting route.

The Lions were hell-bent on signing a running back over the age of 30 in the past few weeks. And last Friday, they finally got their old man when they signed former Eagles and Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount. This, of course, has already led to speculation that the Lions are going to win the Super Bowl in 2019 because where Blount goes, the Super Bowl follows. Google already went ahead and assumed it was going to happen and printed it.

Needless to say, I was super excited to head to Philly. In fact, I let Reisman know I would be there in June anyways. And then he informed me that I wouldn’t be going there because he had another idea for this piece.

In Reisman’s ever-growing quest to get me killed, he decided to have me not only learn about Blount from the Eagles side of things, but also from the Patriots side of things too. And he said I had to do it in Minnesota.

So I traveled down to Minnesota. And after spending my entire day at Paisley Park listening to Purple Rain, I met up with Brandon Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation and Brian Phillips of Pat’s Pulpit at the second Auntie Anne’s Pretzels inside the Mall of America.

After buying both guys a bucket of cinnamon sugar pretzel nuggets, they both agreed not to fight each other, and I was able to get some answers. Here’s what Brandon had to say about Blount’s time in Philly.

POD: What are your overall thoughts on Blount’s time in Philadelphia?

BGN: “I loved having Blount on the Eagles, even if it was only for one year.

The Eagles signed him at a time last May when they desperately needed running back help after failing to adequately address the position in the 2017 NFL Draft. He made a strong first impression on me by roasting the crap out of some dude on Twitter.

Blount entered the 2017 season as the Eagles’ “lead” back despite the fact there was some (nonsense) speculation he could be cut. I used “lead” in quotes because Philly heavily employs a running back rotation. The Eagles’ run game got off to a slow start last season but it started to pick up in Week 4 when Blount had one of his best games of the season. He channeled his inner Marshawn Lynch with this Beast Mode run against the Chargers. It was really fun to watch him just run over dudes.

There was concern about how Blount would react when the Eagles acquired Jay Ajayi prior to the NFL trade deadline. Some thought it could cause some issues in the locker room, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Blount was running from the sideline to the end zone to celebrate with Ajayi when the former scored his first touchdown with the Eagles against the Broncos. Blount would also celebrate with undrafted rookie Corey Clement. In other words, he was a good locker room guy. He was a nice veteran presence to have in the running back room.

Blount’s production declined late in the regular season. In the final five games of the regular season, he ran 36 times for 108 yards (3.0 average) and zero touchdowns. Then he only picked up 40 yards on 15 rushing attempts (2.7 average) in the Eagles’ first two playoff games. The juice wasn’t completely gone, however, as he came up big in the Super Bowl with 14 attempts for 90 yards (6.4 average) and one score.

Blount will always be a legend in Philadelphia for his contributions towards bringing the Eagles their first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history. I wish the Birds could have kept him, but it didn’t make sense given their cap situation. I wish him the best in Detroit.

POD: What are his strengths?

BGN: “LG is obviously a big man. His original listed weight of 250 pounds was heavier than any Eagles linebacker on Philly’s roster. He has the ability to straight up run people over (see: Andrew Sendejo). It’s not like that’s the only thing he’s good at, though. He can actually move pretty well for a big guy. “

POD: What are his weaknesses?

BGN: “I wouldn’t say Blount has bad hands, but he’s never been much of an option as a pass catcher. It’s not like you can run a bunch of screens with him. He wasn’t particularly great as a pass blocker. I’d also say the fact he turns 32 years old this season is something to keep in mind. His workload needs to be managed.”

POD: Can Blount make a large impact in Detroit? Or is he better served as a role player?

BGN: “He’s better suited to be a role player at this point. I think you ideally want him at about 10-12 carries per game on average. I think there’s definitely value in that, though. He should be a pretty decent contributor for Detroit, assuming the run blocking works for him.”

Some good stuff here from Brandon. Congrats to the Eagles on winning the Super Bowl. I look forward to eating all of the city’s food when I hit Philly for the first time in June. Thank you for the tips, Brandon. Alright, let’s here from the Patriots’ side of things. It’s your turn, Brian. Tell us about Blount.

POD: What are your overall thoughts on Blount’s time in New England?

PP: “It would be tough to characterize Blount’s two stints and nearly four seasons in Foxborough as anything other than a complete success. He became a fan favorite for his blue-collar production en route to two Super Bowl championship ringshis greatest moment as a Patriot coming in a 2014 AFC Championship performance that saw him dominate the Indianapolis Colts to the tune of 148 yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns.”

POD: What are his strengths?

PP: “While Blount’s biggest strength is clearly the power he generates from his broad frame, he often doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his vision and ability to make decisive cuts. He’s adept at identifying the leverage of second-level tacklers, and he can instinctively bounce runs to the outside with more quickness and burst than you would expect from a man of his stature. When in rhythm, he shows a real knack for maximizing carries -- often turning negative plays into positive gains.”

POD: What are his weaknesses?

PP: “During his time in New England, Blount was a momentum-dependent back who was heavily reliant on game script. He was often tasked with being a clock-chewing second half closer, which allowed him to get into a rhythm and wear down opposing front-sevens. However, when given sporadic opportunities, there would be plays where he would try to do too muchoccasionally getting “caught dancing” or being overly patient behind the line of scrimmage. He won’t provide much, if anything, in the passing game, and he’s not going to separate from defenders at the second-level and take runs to the house from outside of the red zone.”

POD: Can Blount make a large impact in Detroit? Or is he better served as a role player?

PP: ”LG” can absolutely have a viable impact on the Lions’ offensive attack in 2018particularly with the offensive personnel around him, and a presumably healthy offensive line heading into training camp. He won’t be a “bell cow” back, and it wouldn’t be wise to give him 200+ carries, as his sweet spot appears to be in the 150-175 range. His role within Doug Pederson’s offense in Philadelphia last season should provide an accurate template for what he can provide in Detroita short-yardage and redzone presence who can also provide enough pop on early downs to earn at least a handful of power-run and play-action snaps between the twenties.”

Some good stuff here from both of these guys. Thank you again to Brandon Gowton and Brian Phillips. If you’re looking for Eagles or Patriots news and opinion, you gotta go check these guys out.

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