When the Pats decided to cut bait with Olympic runner-turned-legendary-no-show Jeff Demps, there wasn't much expectation of a high return. When that return turned out to be LeGarrette Blount, the consensus appeared to be something to the effect of "Not a bad return for a guy who may never play a down in the NFL," but not much more positive than that with regard to Blount's ability to contribute.
After all, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had been shopping Blount—who had been phased out of their offense by the younger and more talented Doug Martin—for a while. Blount averaged just 3.7 yards a carry on 41 carries last year. So Pats fans weren't exactly racing to the Pro Shop to buy Blount jerseys upon hearing news of the trade.
But Blount, who took a pay cut to come to New England, has been impressive in the preseason. With stiff competition among the Patriots' running back corps (including fellow roster-bubble resident Brandon Bolden), Blount has run hard in training camp and produced in the Patriots' preseason games.
In Week 1 of the preseason, Blount ripped off a 51-yard TD run against the Eagles, finishing with 101 yards on 11 carries. In Week 2, he did carry the ball just three times, with Bolden getting more of a look, but Blount still hauled in a 12-yard pass. If Blount can establish himself as a consistent dual-threat HB, it will go a long way toward overcoming Bolden's special-teams advantage.
Coach Bill Belichick had this to say about Blount:
I don’t think there’s any question about his skills. They’re pretty evident and they have been throughout the course of his career. I’ve had a lot of respect for LeGarrette and what he’s done through his career. He’s had a good spring for us and a good training camp for us. I think he helps us.