To say LeGarrette Blount hasn’t had a great preseason would be understating the truth.
The 30-year-old Eagles running back has gained a mere 17 yards on nine carries, which comes out to a paltry 1.9 average. Blount also had a really bad fumble during Philadelphia’s second preseason game.
Blount’s struggles have caused some to wonder if he’ll even make the Eagles’ final 53-man roster. The great Merrill Reese raised the question during the SportsRadio 94WIP broadcast of Thursday evening’s game against Buffalo.
Alright, here’s the question. Is LeGarrette Blount a lock to make this roster? ... Just a question ... Just putting it out there.
There’s since been more speculation about Blount getting cut. NFL insider Adam Caplan made an interest comment about that possibility on 97.5 on Sunday.
I think, in the end here, Wendell Smallwood, I’ll give you another statement, he’s that important to what they do this season. I mean, I didn’t think it would be this big if you asked me a week ago, but the more information I gather on Blount, the more I understand that he’s no lock to make the football team. Again, if you were to ask me a week ago, I’d probably say ‘Ah, he’s going to make it. I don’t see it being an issue.’ But … bad preseason game, just, weight not great, I’ve just been checking in to some things.
Why the Eagles might move on from Blount
- Blount has indeed struggled in the preseason, as evidenced by the numbers.
- Blount might not have much gas in the tank. He turns 31 in December and he’s coming off the biggest workload of his career with 306 combined offensive touches.
- The Eagles would save $850,000 by cutting Blount compared to “only” $400,000 in dead money. Trading Blount would save $1.05 million compared to “only” $200,000 in dead money, but I doubt anyone’s trading for him.
- Caplan’s comment about Blount’s weight is concerning. The veteran running back reportedly had a weight clause in his contract. Blount was reportedly able to receive a bonus if he weighed between 240-245 pounds. He’s currently listed at 250 on the Eagles’ official website roster, which isn’t necessarily precisely accurate. In any case, Blount declined to confirm or deny that he earned his bonus.
- Blount missed some practice time in the spring and training camp due to personal reasons. It’s unclear what caused him to miss practice, but in any event it’s still missed time.
- Wendell Smallwood has had a good camp when healthy. Undrafted free agent running back Corey Clement is showing some positive signs.
Why the Eagles won’t move on from Blount
- Blount’s preseason struggles have a lot to do with poor blocking. The Eagles haven’t had their full starting offensive line intact this preseason. Starting right guard Brandon Brooks missed the first game while Jason Peters missed the second one.
- The Eagles haven’t been game-planning during the preseason. Blount might look better when the team is drawing up plays for him when the games actually count.
- I know some people have said Blount has looked slow but I don’t really agree with that. I think he kind of looks slow by default because he’s such a big guy compared to normal running backs. I’ve noted multiple times that I’ve seen some good burst from him.
- The coaches seem to like him. Doug Pederson said he constantly re-watches Blount’s runs from last year. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich, meanwhile, said Blount is going to have a “big role” in the team’s running game this year.
- Blount is still taking a bulk of the first team reps in practice.
- Blount has looked pretty good in pass protection. That’s not nothing.
- Smallwood has looked good but he’s had a problem staying on the field — not just this year, but last year as well. In addition, it’s not like Donnel Pumphrey has been lighting the world on fire. It’s not like the Eagles need to cut Blount to make room for other good running backs currently battling for roster spots. Clement, who is sporting a 3.1 rushing average, hasn’t looked THAT good.
- Caplan’s wording says Blount is not a lock. There’s a difference between that and saying he’s likely to be cut.
Likelihood that the Eagles will move on from Blount
I’d say there’s like a 20% chance the Eagles cut Blount. That might even be too high. As of right now, I really don’t expect the Eagles to cut Blount.
Prior to hearing what Caplan had to say, I was probably at like 1%. So I definitely have given the possibility more credence than I did before.
Ultimately, though, I think the Eagles will enter the season with Blount on their roster. They’re desperate for talent at running back as it is. Maybe the team will cut him if he continues to struggle, his weight continues to be an issue, and somehow Philadelphia can find a worthwhile running back via trade or waivers. I don’t think that’s likely, though, so I’m projecting Blount to stay for now.
At the very least, it’s a situation worth keeping an eye on.