Pass the BlountTuesday, October 04, 2011
Is LeGarrette Blount a special talent? Good question.
Punching incident aside, can a special talent go undrafted in this day and age? Does a special running back have to be a factor in the passing game? Would a special talent only play on two downs?
In last night’s win over the Colts, Blount was the Bucs’ most valuable player. He hammered his way into and through the line, picking up 127 yards on 25 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown on a pretty 35-yard zig-zag run. He looked like the kind of old-school back you can build a winner around.
However, let’s not get caught up in the moment. When the Bucs fall behind, Blount gets stapled to the bench -- they won’t be playing the lowly Colts weekly. The NFL is now a passing league -- seven quarterbacks are averaging 300 passing yards per game or more so far. And Blount runs to contact -- backs like that simply don’t last.
So take advantage of Blount’s hot streak and sell high. Let someone else bet that he’s a special talent.
COLTS at BUCS RANDOM THOUGHTS
The Colts started in a three-wide set that included Austin Collie. But he didn’t play in any two-wide sets, ending up with two catches for 16 yards on seven targets. … Curtis Painter is a better fit for the Colts’ offense because he can run the no-huddle. He’s got a strong arm and is willing to go downfield. He should start the rest of the season. … Delone Carter was mixed in plenty, as soon as the first drive. He’s also the short-yardage back … Arrelious Benn had a long touchdown called back in the first half because he barely stepped out of bounds and came back in. … Pierre Garcon had one of his trademark drops, but redeemed himself with impressive after-the-catch moves on two long touchdowns. The Colts are insistent on getting him involved. … The Colts were ironically running a soft Tampa-2 the whole game. That left the underneath wide open for Preston Parker. Don’t chase.
Editor's Note: For early rankings, projections, the Running Back report, the top-200 going forward list and much more, check out the Season Pass!
NEWS OF THE DAY #1
When Andre Johnson went down Sunday, it looked like a season-ending knee injury. No one touched him and he crumpled to the ground like he got shot. So, owners should be taking Monday’s news as a major positive.
Johnson actually injured his hamstring and reports vary on the severity. What we know is that he’s highly unlikely to play in Week 5. What we don’t know yet is what grade his pull is. ESPN’s Adam Schefter says that the Texans don’t believe it’s a long-term injury, while CBS’ Mike Freeman hears Johnson will miss at least a few weeks. Considering the Texans’ recent history with Arian Foster and hamstring pulls, I’d expect them to err on the side of caution.
In the meantime, the talented yet inconsistent Jacoby Jones will start. In two starts in place of Johnson last year, Jones averaged 5.0 catches for 92.5 yards. The difference now is that the Texans are a run-first team that dominates with their offensive line. Jones is just a high-risk WR3 while Johnson is going forward.
NEWS OF THE DAY # 2
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is up to his old tricks once again. Even though Tim Hightower was handling himself adequately as the feature back and the ’Skins were off to a 2-1 start, Ryan Torain became the “man” on Sunday. A few takeaways from that:
A) We probably should have seen this coming. Hightower is not a plus-NFL runner. He can’t make anyone miss and is averaging 3.5 yards per carry on the season. His best asset is as a pass protector.
B) Shanahan loves Torain. Under any other coach, Torain’s injury woes would have gotten him cut. But Shanny has stuck with him in both Denver and Washington, keeping the faith that a healthy Torain would be a difference-maker.
C) The Redskins view Roy Helu as a change-of-pace back only right now. He’s not a candidate for the feature back role.
D) Shanahan is known for going with the “hot hand.” That’s likely to be the case going forward here. And until he gets hurt, Torain is the best bet to get that hot hand.
INJURY QUICK SLANTS
Vincent Jackson (leg, abdomen) is about where he was last week. Not much owners can do but trot him out there. … Rashard Mendenhall (hamstring) has a shot to be ready for Week 5. … Ryan Grant (kidney) is going to be ready for a full week of practice. … Ben Roethlisberger has a sprain, not a fracture in his foot. He’s a good bet to play in Week 5. … Ben Tate (groin) is considered day to day. … Danny Amendola (elbow) is headed for a second opinion. Never a good sign, it usually means the first opinion was surgery. … Earl Bennett (chest) is not expected to be back this week. That means more Dane Sanzenbacher. … Lee Evans is going to be back after the bye. Say goodbye to Torrey Smith. … Chad Henne (shoulder) says he’ll be ready to go when the Dolphins come out of their bye.
DEPTH CHART QUICK SLANTS
Mario Manningham was demoted out of the No. 2 wideout role in favor of Victor Cruz Sunday. No word yet on the plan going forward. … Ahmard Hall comes off his four-game suspension this week. He’s Chris Johnson’s lead blocker. … Coach Rex Ryan claims the Jets are going back to their “ground and pound” offense. Doubt their line and Shonn Greene are up to the task. … Coach Pat Shurmur said that Peyton Hillis needs more touches after he split the load evenly with Montario Hardesty in Week 4. … Steven Ridley’s snap count got up to 19 in Week 4. He’s on the rise. … The Broncos and Vikings are sticking with Kyle Orton and Donovan McNabb, respectively. …
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DEFENSIVE SPOT STARTS
Adding a different defense/special teams each week based on matchups is a fine strategy. Here are units that might be on waivers to consider this week for streaming purposes:
1. GIANTS vs. Seahawks - With Osi Umenyiora (knee) back wrecking havoc, Jason Pierre-Paul looking dominant and Justin Tuck (neck, groin) a possibility, the Seahawks’ offensive line is going to get overwhelmed. Lots of turnovers out of Tarvaris Jackson.
2. 49ERS vs. Bucs - Don’t sleep on this Niners’ defense. They rank 7th in points against per game, fourth against the run and have forced 11 turnovers in four games. The Bucs are on a short week and have to go across the country. Really tough spot for them.
3. BENGALS at Jaguars - I have seen each of Blaine Gabbert’s first two starts in their entirety. The kid isn’t ready and the Jags have no weapons for him. The Bengals will grind out a low-scoring game.