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Explaining LeGarrette Blount's short-yardage woes

Posted on: December 9, 2010 5:55 pm
 
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 10, 2011 12:08 pm
 

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