LeGarrette Blount 'on the same page' with Doug Pederson about his role

LeGarrette Blount 'on the same page' with Doug Pederson about his role

Make no mistake, LeGarrette Blount wants the football. At the same time, Blount isn’t stewing over the fact that he didn’t record a single carry in the Eagles’ loss to the Chiefs this past week.

“I’m not frustrated,” Blount said Wednesday after practice. “It’s Week 3. We have 14 games left. That’s a lot of time in this league.”

It’s only natural to assume Blount would be displeased on some level. The eighth-year veteran was only on the field for six snaps in Kansas City, finishing with one catch for no gain, and his only carry negated by a penalty. Last season, Blount racked up 299 rushing attempts for 1,161 yards and an NFL-best 18 touchdowns with the Patriots, so he’s used to getting the ball.

But Blount isn’t looking back. He insists his focus is on the task at hand.

“You can’t really dwell on the past, can’t really dwell on last week because we have the Giants,” Blount said. “We have a tough opponent coming up. I just have to continue to run and work, and whenever opportunities present themselves, I just have to take full advantage of them.”

So there you have it. Blount isn’t going to become a disgruntled employee just because he’s not a vital part of the game plan one week, which ought to provide some semblance of relief.

Yet, as far as Blount’s role with the Eagles is concerned, he offers little in the way of clarity.

“You just never know,” Blount said. “The flow of the game can dictate everything. A game plan could be one thing, and then the flow of the game can change in an instant.

“I just know that I come to work every day and I grind, so let the chips fall where they may. I can only control what I can control, and that’s how hard I work and how much I dedicate myself to making sure I can maximize my chances.”

How Blount was going to fit with the Eagles offense was a question mark from the moment he signed in May. He’s 30 years old. He’s almost strictly a between-the-tackles runner. He isn’t a huge threat as a receiver out of the backfield. Even Blount’s contract — a one-year deal worth $1.25 million — wasn’t indicative of a feature back.

Blount would be happy to carry the load all season if asked. As of now, that doesn’t appear to be the likely outcome most weeks.

“Every running back sees themselves as an every-down back,” Blount said. “There’s no running back in this league that’s going to be like, ‘I just want to play first down,” or, ‘I just want to play third down.’

“Obviously, as a running back, you want the football. It’s tough going through a full game and not getting any carries. You have to make sure that you know it’s a bigger task and we have a bigger goal than individual goals. We’re fighting to win this division and move further along than that, so whatever it takes to get that done, I’m all aboard for it.”

Outside the NovaCare Complex, everybody is wondering what the Eagles are doing with Blount. However, this doesn’t appear to be a situation where a high-profile free agent didn’t know what he was getting himself into when he signed.

“He and I talk all the time, quite honestly,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday. Pederson previously revealed he had not approached Blount about the lack of playing time against the Chiefs, perhaps because such a conversation would be unnecessary.

“I think it's important that you define the role for guys, and here's my expectations for players,” Pederson said. “I think it's important. And even the position coach, to have that conversation with players at their position.

“Listen, we only have one football, and you try to get everybody involved when you can and if you can. He and I, we've had conversations defining the role.”

Blount seemed to confirm he understands what his role is, and did not express any issues with Pederson’s play-calling.

“We’re on the same page,” Blount said. “We’ve been on the same page. We’ve talked. We know how things work. We know that we have to get this running game going and off the ground if we want to be a good, balanced team.

“Whenever Doug calls my number, I just know I’m going to be ready.”

10 random Mike Wallace stats

10 random Mike Wallace stats

In Mike Wallace, the Eagles are getting a veteran wide receiver who’s now playing for his fifth team in the last seven years.
Wallace has put up fairly consistent numbers since the Steelers drafted him out of Mississippi in the third round in 2009.
And we all know what a veteran wide receiver means. Lots of stats!
So let’s get to know Mike Wallace with 10 Random Mike Wallace Stats That You Didn’t Know (And I Didn’t Either Until I Looked them Up!):
• Since entering the NFL in 2009, Wallace ranks ninth in the NFL with 8,072 receiving yards, behind only former teammate Antonio Brown (9,910), Larry Fitzgerald (9,570), Calvin Johnson (9,532), Brandon Marshall (9,316), Julio Jones (9,054), Demaryius Thomas (8,653), DeSean Jackson (8,575) and A.J. Green (8,213).
• Wallace’s 57 touchdown catches since 2009 are seventh-most in the NFL during that span by a wide receiver.

• With a 95-yard touchdown catch from Ben Roethlisberger against the Cardinals in 2011 and a 95-yarder from Joe Flacco against the Steelers in 2016, Wallace is one of just three players in NFL history with two career TD receptions of 95 or more yards.

The others are Gaynell Tinsley of the Chicago Cardinals, who caught a 97-yarder from Pat Coffee in 1937 and a 98-yarder from Doug Russell in 1938, and Pennsauken’s John Taylor, who caught a 95-yarder from Joe Montana in 1989 and a 97-yarder from Steve Young in 1991.
• Similarly, Wallace’s four career TDs of 80 yards or more — the two listed above plus catches of 81 and 82 from Roethlisberger in 2011 and 2012 — are fifth-most in NFL history behind Derrick Alexander, Lance Alworth, Bobby Hayes and Jerry Rice, who all have five.
• Wallace has had at least 725 receiving yards in eight of his nine seasons in the NFL. Since 2009, only Fitzgerald has had 725 or more yards more often than Wallace.
• Wallace’s career rushing average of 7.1 yards per carry is fifth-highest among active players (with 32 or more attempts), behind Cordarrelle Patterson (10.3), Tyreek Hill (8.0), Deshaun Watson (7.5) and Ted Ginn (7.1).
• Wallace had nine catches for the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV against the Packers after the 2010 season. That’s tied with several players (including Nelson Agholor) for eighth-most in Super Bowl history by a wide receiver.
• Since he entered the league in 2009, Wallace has 43 receptions of 40 yards or more, second-most in the NFL during that span behind only former Eagle DeSean Jackson, who has 56. Those 43 passes were thrown by five quarterbacks (Roethlisberger 23, Flacco 9, Ryan Tannehill 7, Charlie Batch 3 and former Eagle Dennis Dixon 1).
• During the same span, Wallace has 19 TD catches of 40 yards or more, again second-most in the league during that span to Jackson’s 26.
• In 2010, Wallace caught 60 passes for 1,257 yards, and his 20.95 average was sixth-highest in NFL history and highest in the last 33 years by a player with 60 or more receptions. Since 1965, only Hall of Famer and one-time Eagle James Lofton has had a higher average (21.95 in 1984).

2017 film shows Mike Wallace is still a burner

2017 film shows Mike Wallace is still a burner

Remember the offseason before the 2016 season?

Howie Roseman was making major moves, among them moving up to pick Carson Wentz, but he was also trying to find some cheap speed at the receiver position. The Eagles drafted Nelson Agholor the year before, but Agholor had a disappointing rookie season and the Eagles simply needed to get faster at the position. They really missed DeSean Jackson after Chip Kelly released him. 

So Roseman went out that offseason and signed T.J. Graham and Chris Givens. Two cheap and fast veterans. But neither had anything to give. Neither made the team. Then Roseman traded for Dorial Green-Beckham and claimed Bryce Treggs. Both spent the 2016 season on the roster but never really gave the Eagles that deep threat. It appeared the Eagles would have to pay a little more for their speed. 

Last offseason, Roseman did that, when he signed Torrey Smith to a little heftier contract (the Eagles also signed Alshon Jeffery, who offered more than speed). Smith was just alright and certainly wasn’t worth a $5 million cap hit in 2018, so he’s gone. The good news for the Eagles is that Agholor has grown into an important player who offers speed from the slot, but they still wanted some more outside, which explains the signing of Mike Wallace. Wallace is 31 but might still have something left in the tank. 

Since he entered the NFL, Wallace has 26 catches of 50-plus yards, second during that span to the 36 put up by DeSean, whose absence sent the Eagles looking for speed this whole time (see 10 random Wallace stats).

And if you’re worried that Wallace will be 32 by the start of the season, it’s a valid fear. But in 2017 with the Ravens, he still had the burners working. Wallace had three catches of 50-plus yards; the Eagles as a team had seven. 

Here’s a look at Wallace’s speed with Baltimore last year. We’ll look at all three 50-yard catches: 

There really isn’t much to this. This is the first play of the game from the Ravens-Raiders game in Oakland on Oct. 8. This is the first play from scrimmage; Doug Pederson isn’t the only coach who likes to take his shots. 

Just after the snap, Wallace uses a little stutter step. All he needs is for the corner to hesitate for a split second or get off balance and then he has him where he wants him. Now it’s off to the races. 

After 12 yards, Wallace has more than a step on the DB and Joe Flacco is letting it rip. The safety notices this, but he’s going to be too late getting over. This one goes for a gain of 52 yards down the sideline. 

-- -- --  

This next play actually happens later in the Raiders game. Wallace is circled. He’s not going to do anything fancy on this; just gonna turn on the burners. 

At this point, the Raiders’ DB picks up Wallace after he bursts off the line. But the corner gets turned sideways and Wallace goes right past him. The defender thought he had help, but the safety gets caught looking upfield, ready to drive on a short play. Not much help. 

By the time the safety realizes he needs to help, he's caught flat-footed and looking upfield. Wallace burns both defensive backs on this play for a 54-yarder. 

If Flacco hits Wallace in stride, this is an easy touchdown. But the ball is a tad underthrown and Wallace has to wait for it. 

This next play came in early December against the Lions. It’s a little different from the other two because Wallace is lined up in the slot. The Eagles probably won’t ask him to go in the slot a ton because that’s Nelson Agholor’s spot, but Pederson isn’t averse to moving his receivers around. So if Wallace ever finds himself in the slot, we know what he can do. 


The Ravens use a play action, which freezes the linebacker nearest Wallace. The safety doesn't seem to bite, but it doesn’t matter. Wallace simply splits the center of the field, which leaves the deep safety as the only man to beat. He doesn’t have much trouble. 

This play doesn’t finish in the end zone, but it is a 66-yard gain that gets the Ravens down to the 1-yard line. They punch it in on the next play. 

Wallace might have been 31 last year, but he still had his speed. He averaged 14.4 yards per catch and still was a threat to catch the deep ball. This signing works if he can still do that in 2018.