LeGarrette Blount continues quest to be a complete back
If you question whether it's important to LeGarrette Blount to be an every-down back, just listen to the guy.
“Man, I really don’t want to come off the field,” Blount said this week.
But to make that happen, the Bucs’ second-year starter has to convince his coaches he’s capable of doing the many things required of third-down backs. The basics: Blocking, catching and the like. Problem is, those are two things Blount was not asked to do in college in Oregon's wide-open offense. His coaches don't have any tangible evidence he can do those things -- yet.
Now, in training camp, he’s getting the chance to prove he can.
“I’ve been getting a lot of third-down reps,” Blount said. “I’ve been doing quite a bit of third down work. Sometimes they put in (Earnest Graham) in there, but I’ve done a lot of it. In the offseason, I was working on catching the ball and things like that, so I’ve been getting a lot more involved.”
Because Blount actually has the benefit of a training camp this season – this time last year he was in camp with the Titans – he now has a chance to concentrate on things that were never addressed last season.
So, when the Bucs’ backs engaged linebackers during a physical blitz-pickup drill this week, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising Blount was among the players who excelled. Blount is willing and, besides, he's a menacing 247 pounds with a physical demeanor. It’s now a matter of coaches growing confident in his ability as well as his knowledge of protection schemes.
As an important asset, Blount figures he should make it a point to be in the game as much as possible.
“In this offense, we have a lot of playmakers, and you want all of us on the field as much as possible,” he said. “I’m definitely trying to stay on the field.
“I’ve made a lot of progress since last season,” he said. “A whole bunch of progress.”