Yes, that was a Jersey Shore reference. Let’s move on.
Because Bill Belichick is the kind of reactionary coach who listens to what I think on this issue, he re-signed LeGarrette Blount Force Trauma on a 2 year deal.
As much as I wanted the deal yesterday, it’s important to note that this doesn’t change a whole ton, at least of right now. The biggest aspect of this is that Jonas Gray was the only runner the Patriots had who had shown signs of being able to run in a disciplined and effective way between the tackles in 2014. Brandon Bolden is mainly for special teams, James White is a work in progress, and Shane Vereen is better at all of the other things he does.
If Gray goes down, now there’s insurance. Blount and Gray are relatively similar types of runners, although the difference in stature between the two will be a nice change every once in awhile. But Blount is mainly insurance for Gray.
That doesn’t mean we can’t be pumped about it. Now, the Pats have 2 runners who we actually have faith in, which hasn’t always been the case with the Pats. Even in 2003 that was the case, and it was the case before Blount started going off last year because Stevan Ridley liked to pretend that the football was covered in Vaseline. And if Jonas Gray unfortunately turns out to be a one game wonder, there’s a backup option.
Also, as Mike Reiss pointed out, we also have to look at this move from the perspective of next year. Ridley, Vereen, and Bolden all head into free agency, leaving Blount as an option with Gray and White in case they’re the only ones left.
I doubt that both Ridley and Vereen will leave. I like Vereen a little better because he’s more versatile, but he’s the one who’s more likely to go. Ridley will be coming off of an ACL tear, and he’ll want to prove himself for a full season before really trying to hit the free agent market. He’s probably gone after 2015, but this coming February, I see him signing a 1 year, prove it deal. Vereen might go, although hopefully Belichick sees his versatility as a reason to keep him. But there is a good chance that one of the two leaves, especially since there had to be a reason for BB to draft James White. But whether either of them leaves or just Brandon Bolden — who will only stay if he’s made officially and exclusively a special teamer — it’ll be helpful to have Blount on the veterans minimum.
As for the concerns about Blount in the locker room based off what happened in Pittsburgh, I’m not having any of it. Blount was grateful for the opportunity he got last year, and he knows that, after getting released 10 games into a 2 year contract, he better be on his best behavior. Besides, this is the Patriots. Ignore the Noise.