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LeGarrette Blount: The Red Zone Threat the Eagles Lacked in 2016

The Eagles’ red zone efficiency in 2016 ranked No. 24 in the league, per TeamRankings.

When inside the red zone, the Eagles had a 49.09 percent chance of scoring a touchdown.

That’s not very impressive.

The Eagles, however, averaged 3.4 scoring attempts in the red zone per game last season, which was among the best in the league. But the team only averaged 1.7 touchdowns per game when deep in their opponent’s territory.

Philadelphia clearly didn’t have any trouble getting into the red zone. But they did struggle to get the ball to cross the goal-line.

There could be multiple reasons for their troubles last season when they marched closer to the pylon. For instance, the team lacked that blistering running back.

Enter LeGarrette Blount.

The Eagles signed the free agent running back on Wednesday to a one-year deal. And despite being 30-years-old, Blount will undoubtedly assist the Eagles to succeed in 2017.

Here is why…

Blount is coming off the second 1,000-yard season of his career and his 18 touchdowns in 2016 broke the Patriots’ franchise record. His stellar season definitely aided in New England’s Super Bowl championship as opponents failed to quiet the running back.

The running back also led the league with 5.4 yards per carry in short-yardage situations, which has been an issue for the Eagles.

Blount is arguably a top-tier short-yardage back in the NFL. The Eagles can now forgo passing on 4th-and-1… something that annoyed many diehard Eagles’ fans last season.

But looking around on other media outlets, journalists like to stir up controversy over signing Blount.

Why?

The700Level’s Andrew Kulp, who contributes to the popular blog featured on CSNPhilly.com, made an assertion that Blount is too one-dimensional and will not provide any support in the passing game. He made the argument throughout his article that Blount is unlikely to play a redemptive role on the Eagles.

Which, when you look at Blount’s statistics, is basically true. Blount only has 46 receptions for 337 yards and one touchdown in his seven-year career.

But he was only targeted 66 times in his career, which includes his lone eight targets last year. He hasn’t had many chances in the passing game, but you can not take away the threat he brings to the running game.

Kulp also claims how the Patriots let him walk for a reason and that Blount only saw success last year because he was coached by the legendary Bill Belichick.

It makes sense… but it’s still just an opinion. In his article, Kulp says:

“Obviously, the New England Patriots thought better about retaining such a limited player, which should be reason enough to give pause to any celebration. The Patriots have a track record of turning castoffs and role players into stars. That’s relevant here, too, because Blount never enjoyed near the same success in stints with the Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Ummm… Blount was signed by the Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He was then involved in a fight during training camp and waived very early in that season. Obviously, Blount didn’t have the same success with the Titans… he spent five months there. Mentioning his time in Tennessee is irrelevant and lessens the point being made here.

After he was waived by the Titans, Blount signed with the Buccaneers. He logged 1,007 yards on 201 carries in his first season with the team.

Blount only had two 200-plus carries in his career- in 2010 with the Buccaneers and in 2016 with the Patriots, both resulting in 1,000-yard seasons.

He had 184 carries for 781 yards in 2011. In 2012, however, he only received 41 carries for 151 yards. Blount had 153 carries for 772 yards during his first stint with the Patriots in 2013.

In 2014 season with the Patriots and the Steelers, he combined for 125 carries for 547 yards. The Patriots then re-signed him in 2015. He had 165 carries for 703 yards that season.

But the negativity continues to flow throughout Kulp’s article.

“Nonetheless, Blount is the definition of a Band-Aid, and it’s unclear whether he’s enough to cover the gaping hole the Eagles have at running back. He’s only really experienced success with the best team in the league, and his skill set doesn’t especially fit the west coast offense.”

Blount had a 700-yard season and a 1,000-yard season with the Buccaneers. He was only with the Steelers for 11 games and he barely played with the Titans. So, obviously, he had most of his success with the Patriots… he spent half of his career in New England.

Blount will provided a red zone threat that the Eagles have not had in years. He is a short-yardage beast, something the Eagles also desperately needed.

Blount may be that one-dimensional back too, but that is actually a good thing. It will cause opposing defenses to stack the box when they think Blount will carry the ball, hopefully enhancing the passing attack.

The Eagles addressed their offensive needs this offseason more than expected. Along with their defensive-heavy draft picks, the city of Philadelphia could be in for some interesting football come September.

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