Tag:LeGarrette Blount
Posted on: March 21, 2011 7:53 pm
 

Bucs leading candidate for Hard Knocks

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

One of the highlights of observing/reporting on training camp every year is watching Hard Knocks and seeing what mildly insane speech/interview comes out of the minds and mouths of NFL players and coaches.

There was Bengals coach Marvin Lewis’ “Be a f------ pro!” and Rex Ryan’s “Let’s go eat a g------ snack!” and Jets CB Antonio Cromartie’s struggle to remember the ages of all his children.

Quality stuff, all of it.

So, if the NFL lockout prevents training camp from starting on time – or taking place at all – another annual viewing experience will be lost. But if there IS a training camp and there IS a Hard Knocks, there’s a chance the Buccaneers could be the 2011 subject.

That’s according to ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas, who writes that Tampa Bay’s club is the leading candidate to be featured.

Coach Raheem Morris likely wouldn’t drop quite as many F-bombs as Ryan (could anybody?) but he could showcase his charisma, while the Buccaneers could focus on young players like QB Josh Freeman, RB LeGarrette Blount and WR Mike Williams.

Like just about every Hard Knocks ever produced, it would probably make for mandatory viewing.

WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW IS NSFW WITH EXPLICIT (LIKE F-BOMBS AND EVERYTHING) LANGUAGE




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Posted on: March 8, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2011 6:40 pm
 

Giants say they will release Tiki, where next?

Posted by Will Brinson

Tuesday afternoon turned into a Tiki party -- as one-half of the Barber brothers combo announced his "de-tirement."  The world caught fire with excitement and good-natured barbs over the return to the NFL for the 35-year-old. Also, everyone wondered where he'd end up. We know one thing for sure, though: it will not be with the New York Giants.

"We wish Tiki nothing but the best, and when able to make the transaction, we will release him from reserve/retired list," the Giants said in a statement released by the team.

So where does Tiki go now? Well, somewhere where the team is in need of running back help but not expecting too much. After all, via the NFL's stat feed on Twitter, here's the most rushing yards in NFL history by someone after they turned 36-years-old: Marcus Allen, 1335 yards; Doug Flutie, 1236 yards; Steve Young, 681 yards; John Riggins, 677 yards; and John Elway, 561 yards.

You'll notice only two of those guys are running backs. That's because it's just really, really, REALLY difficult to make an impact as a ballcarrier in the NFL in the mid-30's. And that doesn't discount the fact that Tiki's missed the last four years after retiring and hasn't necessarily -- though we don't know this -- kept himself in shape.

Tiki Time?
There's reportedly "interest" from multiple teams, however, and it seems reasonably likely that if there's football in 2011, someone will take a shot at him.

The two best bets, in my mind, seem to be the Buccanneers and the Broncos. Why? Well, Tiki's brother Ronde just signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay (he's likely to retire after 2011) and the brothers have always wanted to play together. Additionally, Barber would be a pretty nice third-down compliment to LeGarrette Blount at a very cheap cost.

Denver makes sense because John Fox has openly stated he wants two "good" running backs, and coached Tiki when he was the defensive coordinator with the Giants in the late 90's and early 00's.

Tampa gets an obvious advantage, of course, for family reasons, but it probably doesn't matter -- the odds of Tiki being effective wherever he ends up in 2011 are pretty slim.

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Posted on: December 9, 2010 5:55 pm
 

Explaining LeGarrette Blount's short-yardage woes

L. Blount (US Presswire)Posted by Andy Benoit

A question that was whispered by fans and media in Tampa, Florida a few weeks ago has evolved into a full-on shout: "WHY CAN’T 250-POUND RUNNING BACK LeGarrette Blount PICK UP FIRST DOWNS IN SHORT-YARDAGE SITUATIONS?"

No one from the coaching staff has publicly elaborated on the cause of Blount’s problem, but Raheem Morris indicated this week that the Bucs may consider turning to Cadillac Williams or, better yet, fullback Earnest Graham on third/fourth-down-and-short.

"It doesn't bother me," Blount said or the possible demotion, according to Joe Smith of the St. Petersburg Times. "He's the head coach, he's the boss. He's going to do whatever he needs to do to continue our drives, to continue the success of our offense and our football team. If he looks at Earnest for short yardage situations, if he looks at Cadillac for short-yardage situations, either one of those guys will get it done. They're veterans, they know how to get it done. They know what to do in those situations. If (Morris changes it up), I wouldn't be mad at him at all."

Morris, as the head coach, can’t publicly elaborate on the cause of Blount’s problem. But we can. Against a crowded front, the undrafted rookie becomes indecisive (anyone can see that). WHY is he indecisive? Because he doesn’t like to get hit.

Blount is not a physical player. Watch closely and you’ll see that, often times, he stops his feet right before contact. In other words, he braces for impact. Short-yardage situations call for impact. It’s not in Blount’s nature to respond with ferocity. Blount sees impact in terms of something to receive; someone like, say Jerome Bettis, sees impact as something to deliver.

Blount’s most telling short-yardage failure this season was the fourth down goal-line play late in the game at Atlanta. The play was designed for Blount to steamroll inside. But his initial instinct was to bounce it outside. It was a snapshot of Blount’s mentality. Just because a player is big and hard to tackle once he’s running with momentum in the open field doesn’t mean that player is a power back.

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Posted on: December 6, 2010 5:50 pm
 

Hot Routes 12.6.10: box score tidbits Week 13

Posted by Andy Benoit

Hot Routes
  • The Steelers and Ravens both converted four third downs, went 1/2 in the red zone and committed nine penalties Sunday night.
  • Rashard Mendenhall carried the ball 19 times (45 yards) after handling the rock a whopping 36 times the previous week at Buffalo.
  • Anquan Boldin had five catches for 118 yards, seemingly all of them on the game’s final drive.
  • The Saints were just 1/8 on third down against the Bengals. They won because they generated 248 yards on their five biggest plays.
  • Roman Harper led the Saints with 10 tackles, a sack (on the final play) and two tackles for a loss.
  • Jay Cutler was 21/26 for 234 yards and a touchdown against the Lions. Cutler also went “interception-less” for the fifth time this season. On the year, he has a passer rating of 92.8.
  • Earl Bennett is quietly becoming a go-to receiver for the Bears. The possession target had seven catches for 104 yards.
  • Cliff Avril had three sacks for Detroit. That’s seven on the year and six in Avril’s last four games.
  • Troy Smith completed just 10/25 passes against Green Bay. His limitations in reading the field from the pocket were obvious at times.
  • For the second straight week, Tennessee had fewer than 50 plays offensively. They’ve now gone a franchise-record 12 quarters without a touchdown.
  • Dexter McCluster had five carries(11 yards) and two receptions (25 yards) in his first game back from a high ankle sprain. (He also had a fumble.)
  • Turnovers once again doomed Miami. They were minus-three against the Browns.
  • Browns tight end Ben Watson exploded for 100 yards on 10 catches.
  • Sidney Rice looks to be in top form. He had 105 yards and two touchdowns Sunday.
  • The Redskins did not convert once in the red zone against the Giants Sunday. Reason being, they were never in the red zone.
  • Derek Hagan led the Giants with seven receptions. No one else caught more than two passes for New York.
  • Jason Campbell was just 10/16 passing in Oakland’s surprising win at San Diego.
  • The Chargers fell behind early and ran the ball just eight times. The Raiders ran the ball 52 times (for 251 yards).
  • Peyton Manning completed 36/48 for 365 yards on what everyone agreed was one of his worst games as a pro.
  • The Cardinals had three different quarterbacks attempt passes Sunday. All completed 50 percent or fewer of their attempts.
  • Carolina’s Steve Smith had 39 of his 54 yards receiving come on one play. It was Smith’s longest catch of the season.
  • Marshawn Lynch punched in three touchdowns (and had 83 yards rushing) for Seattle.
  • One of Matt Ryan’s two interceptions was a result of the receiver slipping on bad turf. The Falcons turned the ball over for the first time in nearly five games Sunday.
  • Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes had an interceptions and six pass breakups.

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Posted on: December 4, 2010 9:00 pm
 

Running backs are the new, um, kickers?

Posted by Will Brinson

The fantasy football mantra "don't draft a kicker" holds true in real life most of the time -- there's plenty of reason not to burn an early on someone who's just a drunk idiot. Er, whatever, the point is that running backs, well, those guys are absolute first-round gold.

Maybe not so much anymore, though -- Michael David Smith of the Wall St. Journal took a look at the success undrafted running backs are having in the NFL this season, and, frankly, it's kind of astonishing.

Six (!) undrafted backs are leading their teams in rushing, including Arian Foster, who leads the entire NFL is rushing. This is the most teams have relied on undrafted backs since the merger in 1970, and it's particularly astonishing when you consider who these guys replaced.

Foster took Steve Slaton's job (Slaton was the 89th overall pick when he was drafted), the law firm BenJarvus Green-Ellis made Laurence Maroney (21st overall) tradeable, Fred Jackson's finally come into his own even after the Bills took C.J. Spiller (9th overall), Mike Tolbert is the guy making LaDainian Tomlinson forgettable instead of Ryan Mathews (12th), Chris Ivory's made it easier for the Saints to live without Reggie Bush (2nd) and LeGarrette Blount just straight-up replaced Cadillac Williams (5th).

That's a ton of "wasted" draft picks given how well their "worthless" replacements have played since getting significant carries. Foster's situation is particularly impressive, as MDS notes, since he's on pace to break the record for rushing yards by an undrafted player, owned by Priest Holmes, who piled up 1,615 yards for the Chiefs in 2002.

Perhaps, then, everyone with a first-rounder in 2011 should reconsider snagging Heisman winner Mark Ingram. Actually, given how poorly first-round running backs have performed over the past decade or so, maybe anyone desperate for help should just wait until after the draft's over to start grabbing hep.

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Posted on: November 25, 2010 9:22 pm
 

Key Matchup Week 12: Blount vs. Ravens

Posted by Andy Benoit

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had their schedule flexed before – just not in a positive direction. Instead of getting moved out of a favorable time slot, the Bucs got moved into a favorable 4:15 slot for their game at Baltimore. This is a testament to the progress that Raheem Morris’ 7-3 club has made. Unfortunately, this Sunday could prove to be a testament to how much progress Tampa still needs to make.
L. Blount (US Presswire) R. Lewis (US Presswire)
The Bucs have failed every “prove it” test they’ve taken in 2010. The Steelers shellacked them in Week 3, the Saints pummeled them in Week 6 and the Falcons held them off in Week 9. The Ravens, 7-3 and as explosive offensively and defensively as any team in football, will be “prove it” test number four.

If the Bucs are to pass this test, they’ll have to rely on rising quarterback Josh Freeman even more than usual. One thing that really stood out in the loss to Atlanta was LeGarrette Blount’s shortcomings as an NFL running back.

Blount has started just one game this season, but he essentially replaced Cadillac Williams as the featured back in Week 7. Since then, he has averaged a solid 82 yards per game on the ground (4.5 yards per carry). The numbers are somewhat misleading, however, as the rookie from Oregon has taken advantage of a few gaping-hole opportunities.

In short, Blount is not a creator. His shortcomings center around a lack of awareness and aggression. He’s a 250-pounder, but his upright running style and hesitancy to dip his shoulder and deliver contact afford him little power. Too often, Blount does what scouts call “running to get tackled”. This is to say, he stops his feet and braces for contact. Weaknesses like this can’t be overcome at the NFL level. This is the main reason Blount went undrafted (the character concerns stemming from his meltdown at Boise State were a SECONDARY reason).

At times, Blount flashes a willingness to be physical. But as we saw with the Steelers and Darren McFadden last week, inconsistent running backs don’t muster up the courage to be the aggressors when they’re facing a hard-hitting defense. And perhaps no defense hits harder than Baltimore’s.

Odds are, Blount is going to be tempted to elude Raven defenders and run to space. The problem is that Blount has the acceleration of a John Deere tractor. Also, his instincts are lacking (at times, you can actually see him making a decision about where to run; with most running backs, it’s all instinctive).

With Tampa Bay’s offensive line being good but not great, expect the Ravens to have little trouble devouring Blount on Sunday. In fact, because Cadillac Williams is the superior pass-blocker, don’t be surprised if Blount finds himself on the sidelines for a majority of the snaps. And don’t be surprised if Baltimore forces a few critical turnovers, given that Tampa Bay will almost certainly become one-dimensional in this game.

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Posted on: November 18, 2010 11:33 am
 

Hot Routes 11.18.10 bye bye to bye weeks

Hot Routes

Posted by Andy Benoit


All 32 teams will be in action each week from here on out, which just means more potential Hot Routes to sift through.


There is a great deal of anticipation for the Andre Johnson-Darrelle Revis matchup this Sunday.

FINALLY! A movement in Denver for the Broncos to make their alternate third orange jerseys their official home jersey. The Falcons and Titans have both done this in recent years (Falcons’ red jerseys used to be an alternate to their black; Titans sky blue jerseys used to be an alternate to navy blue).


A record number of players have landed on IR so far this season.


The season-ending injury to Cardinals right tackle Brandon Keith has given veteran Jeremy Bridges a chance to start again.


Ron Artest hopes to try out for the NFL after his basketball career is over. Just what we need: another basketball player turned tight end (we’ll assume he’d play tight end) whom announcers can remind us goes after red zone catches by boxing out the same way as if he’s going after a rebound.


T.O. spoke with Buffalo reporters Wednesday and greeted them with an interesting cheer.


Brian Urlacher is four tackles away from passing Mike Singletary as the Bearsall-time leading tackler.


Talk about a fair yet unfair headline. From the Detroit Free Press: “Jason Hanson is the losingest NFL player ever”. That’s Hanson’s reward for longevity.


At a University of Maryland function Wednesday night, Dan Snyder called the loss to the Eagles “embarrassing”.


Jeff Fisher regrets losing LeGarrette Blount.


Rex Ryan wants more from his defense.


Pretty much every NFL-related story from Giants beat writers this week has been tied to Michael Vick.


Todd Haley won’t even discuss his own injuries with the media.


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Posted on: November 15, 2010 7:46 pm
 

Hot Routes 11.15.10: Week 10 boxscore tidbits



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

-With his concussion suffered early during the Sunday night game, the streak of consecutive games made with at least one catch ended for Steelers WR Hines Ward. It ends at 186, the third-best streak in NFL history.

-Ravens K Billy Cundiff blasted three touchbacks Sunday. That gives him 25 on the season (a 58.1 percent success rate on his kickoffs), the top mark in the NFL. He’s already destroyed the club record (15 by Matt Stovall in 2007).

-Cowboys WR Dez Bryant had three catches for 104 yards, the most he’s ever produced in his career. Since Jon Kitna replaced the injured Tony Romo at QB four games ago, Bryant has 23 catches for 328 yards and four touchdowns.

-Seahawks WR Mike Williams had 11 catches for a career-high 145 yards in Seattle’s win against the Cardinals. He did it with a broken finger suffered in practice four days earlier.

-Chiefs QB Matt Cassel threw for 469 yards, the second-highest single-game total in Kansas City history (Elvis Grbac had 504 yards in 2000). The Chiefs still lost.

-For the first time since 1941, two brothers are NFL punters at the same time. Kansas City’s Dustin Colquitt faced Denver’s Britton Colquitt on Sunday, and Dustin’s average (43.3 yards) beat Britton’s average (41.0). The Chiefs still lost.

-When Manny Pacquiao destroyed Antonio Margarito in a unanimous decision in Dallas on Saturday, it was his second win of the year at Cowboys Stadium (he beat Joshua Clottey there in March). The Cowboys, meanwhile, have only one win at home this season.

-Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski caught five passes for 72 yards and three touchdowns in helping beat the Steelers. Which was a marked improvement over last week when he dropped passes, muffed up a kickoff return and fumbled deep in Browns territory to help hand Cleveland the win.

-Of the 50 passes tossed by Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, more than half (27) were targeted for either Roddy White or Michael Jenkins.

-From 2007-09, Bengals RB Cedric Benson combined for only three fumbles. This season alone, he’s got three.

-For the first time this season, Jets RB Shonn Greene outgained LaDainian Tomlinson on the ground. Greene had 72 yards on 20 carries, while Tomlinson carried the ball 18 times for 57 yards.

-The Jets dominated the time of possession vs. Cleveland (47:08 to 27:36) but needed until the very end of overtime to squeak out the win.

-Since his big coming-out party in Week 2 (17 carries, nine catches, 232 total yards, three TDs), Lions rookie RB Jahvid Best hasn’t scored a TD and has gained more than 50 yards on the ground just one time. On Sunday, he had 17 carries for 35 yards.

-Even with four players throwing the ball Sunday (Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen and Brandon Marshall) the final passing stats for Miami were pretty good. The four combined to complete 24 of 37 passes for 323 yards, two touchdowns, one INT and a passer rating of 99.3.

-This is a stat that will make Pete Prisco gnash his teeth. In the past two games, Jaguars QB David Garrard has completed 41 of 52 passes for 602 yards, six touchdowns and zero interceptions. Two weeks ago, his passer rating was 157.8. On Sunday, it was 134.1.

-Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe caught 13 passes for 186 yards and two scores. Much of that production, though, came in garbage time when the game was already lost.

-Mike Goodson became the first Panthers RB to rush for at least 100 yards this season. Not Jonathan Stewart, not DeAngelo Williams. Mike Goodson.

-Buccaneers RB LaGarrette Blount has only played in six games this season. In his past four, he’s rushed 65 times for 329 yards and three touchdowns.

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