Officially, LeGarrette Blount played six snaps for the Eagles on Sunday. Blount finished the game with one reception for no gain, no rushing attempts — and no words from head coach Doug Pederson following a 27-20 loss to the Chiefs.
On Monday, Pederson revealed he did not talk to Blount about the reduced role afterward, nor did the veteran running back approach him. Some might view that as surprising given the circumstances. After all, the last time Blount finished a game with zero carries was with the Steelers in 2014 and he was released the next day.
Blount doesn't appear to be in danger of being cut by the Eagles — yet — but even Pederson can understand why the running back might be unhappy with the current workload.
"I would be worried if he wasn't, you know what I'm saying?" Pederson said. "If he was the other way, if he was just like sort of matter-of-fact, ho-hum, not caring … it just shows his passion that he wants to play and be involved, and I get that."
To his credit, Blount didn't express any dissatisfaction with his role in the locker room postgame. He took the high road, even going so far as to praise teammate Darren Sproles, who took 50 snaps at running back for the Eagles on Sunday.
But there were signs of Blount's displeasure all over. CSN's Derrick Gunn reported the eighth-year veteran was the first player in the Eagles' locker room when the game ended. Blount later lashed out at fans on Twitter who complained how his usage — or lack thereof — affected their fantasy football teams.
Blount is a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots who rushed for 1,100 yards and led the NFL with 18 touchdowns last season. Rest assured, he wants the ball.
"Obviously, my job, (Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich's) job, we have to find ways to get these guys on the field," Pederson said. "We feel like our running backs are good running backs. They've proven that.
"In LeGarrette's case, we still have a lot of confidence in him, and we'll find ways to get him on the field."
Pederson reiterated situational football and game flow dictated Blount's lack of playing time in Kansas City, the same as it did for all of the Eagles' running backs.
"We've got roles for all the guys," Pederson said. "LeGarrette has a role, Sproles has a role, (Wendell Smallwood), and we even had a little role (for Corey Clement), a little piece of the pie.
"A lot of times when you're in these games like this and you struggle to run your core runs, it becomes hard, and then you put yourself in a 2nd-and-12, 2nd-and-13, or even a first-down sack. Now you're going uphill.
"Yesterday I believe we had seven 3rd-and-10-plusses again, and then there were another five 3rd-and-7s, and it's unacceptable. We can't be in that many long-yardage situations in these football games. We have to focus on the run game, and we have to get the run game fixed, and we have to have a great plan going forward and commit to that, and it just takes pressure off your quarterback as well."
Down and distance certainly was a factor. Listed at 6-foot, 250 pounds, Blount has always been a minimally effective receiver out of the backfield. It can be difficult to get a one-dimensional player like that into certain types of games.
Although, was that truly the case here? Sure, the offense was routinely behind the sticks, but Eagles never trailed by more than three points until 6:25 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Pederson acknowledged the Eagles wanted to attack the Chiefs' secondary, while he simultaneously tried to make the case he simply couldn't work Blount into the game.
"This front is a good front," Pederson said. "They put six, they put seven, at times there were eight in the box. They choke your tight ends, meaning the guy who's right over the top of the tight end. It's hard to find run lanes against a defense that way.
"And so much man coverage, the ability to shoot the ball down the field in the passing game was where I felt like was going to be our strength in this game, was the area that I focused on. My aggressive play-calling was to attack down the field."
That meant plenty of work for Sproles, who carried 10 times for 48 yards, along with two receptions for 30 yards. Sproles also happens to be best pass protector in the backfield of the bunch, so it seemed clear his constant presence in the game was no accident.
"By no means was it a game plan designed specifically for Darren," Pederson said. "Everybody had a role in this game. We just didn't get to that role in that particular time in the game."
With 14 snaps, three carries and three targets against the Chiefs, even Smallwood saw significantly more action than Blount. Technically, Blount did carry the ball one time, only to have the play negated by a penalty.
This could not have been the role Blount envisioned upon signing in May — and it may not change. Blount is 31 years old, has not looked explosive with the touches he's had, and the Eagles are paying him only $1.25 million for the season, according to OverTheCap. The club wasn't necessarily counting on him to be the featured back.
Based on Pederson's play-calling and ambivalence toward Blount after a game in which he was on the field for just eight percent of the offensive snaps, the head coach doesn't appear to be counting on it, either.