Ah, football season has finally started.
Friday night marked the first time fans got a glimpse into what the new-look New England Patriots might look like, come the regular season. Tom Brady looked fantastic in limited snaps. The receiving corps, while young and raw, appeared to be on the same page with Brady, which is a good sign. And, how can we forget about running back LeGarrette Blount, a free agent the Patriots snatched up during the off-season.
For me, Blount's performance wasn't as much a surprise as it was to some Patriots' fans. Are people forgetting that Blount was a 1,000-plus-yard rusher with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Oh, did I mention he rushed for over 1,000 yards as a rookie out of "the quack" -- I mean, University of Oregon? Blount is anything but your typical running back.
The best way to describe him is as a running back in a linebacker's body. Blount is six-foot, 247-pounds. Blount is such a big back, former Patriots backup quarterback-turned-team-color-commentator, Scott Zolak, screamed "Where's the beef?" during the broadcast of Friday's win over the Eagles, as Blount steamrolled Eagles defenders en route to the end zone.
I have not seen sheer domination like that at the running back position since the likes of Jerome "The Bus" Bettis, and who can forget, Mike Alstott, a bruising fullback who paid his dues with the Bucs in the late 1990s to early 2000s.
Growing up, the neighborhood boys and I would gather at a different house every day in the fall after school to play tackle football.
I remember carrying sometimes two-or-three kids on my back before someone finally brought me down -- or, I just got tired. That is when my appreciation of unconventional running backs took root.
There is no question, Blount will make the 2013 Patriots roster. Sure, New England has its starting running back in place with Stevan Ridley, and a steady backup in Shane Vereen. But, why would you give up a big running back when your short-passing game that you have made a killing with over the years has suddenly come into question.
I think the Patriots will shuffle the depth chart to make room for the fast and strong ox Blount. Blount is what you would call a diamond that lost its shine. On Friday night in Philadelphia, the diamond got a new polishing as he rushed for 101 yards on 11 carries.
It might be time to start waiving good-bye to second-year running back, Brandon Bolden. Unless Blount suffers a major case of fumbleitis in the next three preseason games, he is a lock to make the opening day roster.
Enough about Blount, let's talk about the prodigal son, Tim Tebow. Oh, Tebow your mediocrity never ceases to amaze me. When Patriots' head coach Bill Belichick institutes a new pistol formation, made especially to suit your style of play, you do not stink up the joint.
Well, that is exactly what the people's quarterback did against the Eagles. He reeked of terribly timed passes and a run-first mentality. But that's not anything out of the ordinary. Tebow is anything and everything but a pocket passer. Did anyone really expect him to do better than he did? The simple answer is absolutely not, but if the Pats wanted to keep things simple, why sign Tebow in the first place?
Was it quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels' willingness to give Tebow another shot in the NFL? Or was it because the Patriots legitimately believed he would make a solid understudy to Brady? He has proven that he is not the latter, but as of right now, due to the injury of Ryan Mallett, he is the back-up quarterback. Poor Tebow is still that Florida kid with a heart so big, it would even make the Grinch jealous.
A lot of people are likening this team to that of the 2011 Patriots who, despite an 11-5 record, missed the postseason. Brady has already taken a shine to 25-year-old undrafted rookie wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins, who might be that diamond in the rough the Patriots desperately need at the wide receiver position.
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