Philadelphia Eagles

Despite historically low receiving numbers, Eagles could involve LeGarrette Blount

Despite historically low receiving numbers, Eagles could involve LeGarrette Blount

No running back in the last 35 years has had more seasons with 10 or fewer catches.

No running back in the last 60 years has had more career rushing yards without catching 50 passes.

No running back in NFL history has had more seasons with 700 or more rushing yards and seven or fewer receptions.

It's just something LeGarrette Blount has never done.

Blount, the Eagles' high-profile offseason running back acquisition, is one of only three players in NFL history with 5,000 or more rushing yards and fewer than 50 career receptions.

The others are both former Eagles — Steve Van Buren, who ran for 5,860 yards but caught 45 passes, and Michael Vick, who ran for 6,109 yards in his career and caught two passes.

Blount has 5,122 career rushing yards but just 46 receptions. He did somehow catch 15 passes for the Buccaneers back in 2011, but the last five years he's averaged just 5.2 catches per season.

For the sake of comparison, during the four-year stretch from 2004 through 2007, Brian Westbrook averaged 5.5 receptions per game.

Blount's biggest years have been 2010 and 2011 with the Buccaneers and 2013 and 2016 with the Patriots.

His rushing totals those four years: 1,007, 781, 772 and 1,161 yards.

His receiving totals those years: Five, two, six and seven catches.

Four times in his career Blount has rushed for more touchdowns than he's had receptions.

In eight career playoff games, Blount has caught one pass. For eight yards. 

Blount has never had more than three catches in a game.

So now that we've established that no running back in modern NFL history has been less of a weapon as a receiver, let's try to figure out where Blount fits in here.

Eagles running backs have historically been pass catchers, not just in the Andy Reid offense run by Reid and Doug Pederson but under Rich Kotite, Ray Rhodes and even Buddy Ryan.

Only Chip Kelly didn't like to throw to the backs.

In fact, in the last 30 years, the Eagles have had 23 backs rush for 700 or more yards. Only three of those had fewer than 40 catches -- Earnest Jackson in 1985 (10), Herschel Walker in 1992 (38) and LeSean McCoy in 2014 (career-low 28).

Blount has an NFL-record four seasons with 100 or more carries and seven or fewer catches.

The last Eagle running back to do that was Ken Keller in 1956.

All of which takes us to 2017.

Blount is here, in an offense where the backs have to catch the football.

The Eagles have two options. Don't play him on passing downs. Or use the preseason to assimilate Blount into the passing game for the first time in his life.

"I think it's going to surprise a few people," running backs coach Duce Staley said. "He can catch the ball. Sent him on a couple wheel routes a couple times (during OTAs) and he beat the linebacker. He was open, and he can catch the ball in the flat, and I'd love to get him some screens set up to where he can get that big body going north. He can scare some people."

Blount said the only reason he's never caught a lot of passes is that he's never been asked to catch passes.

He's a classic straight-ahead power runner who's been used that way every stop of his career.

"I don’t too much pay attention to what fans think about my skill set," he said.

"I know what I can do. They know what I can do. If it’s called for me to catch the ball, I do. I don’t drop passes. Whatever it is (they want me) to do, I’m going to do it.

"We have a good pass-catcher in 43 (Darren Sproles), but if I need to do it, then I will do it."

Head coach Doug Pederson knows that if any running back doesn't get involved in the running game, the offense gets predictable when he's on the field.

He said he liked what he's seen of Blount in the passing game during the four weeks of minicamps.

"Yeah, he's actually a pretty good pass catcher," Pederson said. "When you watch him at practice and in some of the drills that we've put him in, he's pretty smooth.

"Maybe he doesn't have the numbers and all that, and he hasn’t been used that way, but I'm very comfortable putting him in situations where we can throw him the ball."

NFL Notes: Bills' Anquan Boldin announces retirement

ap-anquan-boldin-bills.jpg
AP Images

NFL Notes: Bills' Anquan Boldin announces retirement

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Anquan Boldin says a violent, racially charged protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, caused him to re-assess his priorities and led to the Buffalo Bills receiver's decision to retire after 14 NFL seasons.

In interview Monday on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Boldin said he's "uncomfortable" with how divided the nation is and wants to dedicate his entire focus to humanitarian and criminal justice work.

Boldin spoke a day after abruptly informing the Bills he was retiring a little under two weeks after signing a one-year contract. Saying it wasn't a "fly-by-night decision," Boldin says he gradually came to the realization that his off-the-field work outweighed football.

The NFL's 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year, Boldin oversees the South Florida-based Q81 Foundation, which offers educational support for underprivileged children. He has become an advocate for criminal justice reform since his cousin was killed by a plain-clothes police officer along the side of a Florida highway in October 2015.

Broncos: Siemian reportedly wins starting QB job
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) -- A person with knowledge of the decision has told The Associated Press that Trevor Siemian will be named the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback after beating out Paxton Lynch.

The person requested anonymity to speak candidly prior to coach Vance Joseph's news conference at 3:15 p.m. EDT Monday in which he's expected to make if official.

Siemian, a 2015 seventh-round draft pick out of Northwestern who won the starting job last year when he beat out veteran Mark Sanchez, quickly surged ahead of Lynch, a first-rounder in 2016 from Memphis, when training camp opened.

Lynch showed more comfort with the new scheme and coaching staff but still proved inadequate at decoding defenses while Siemian was steady and solid, if unspectacular.

Jets: Lee, Williams cleared of conduct violations
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets players Darron Lee and Leonard Williams have been cleared by the NFL of any violations of the league's personal conduct policy following a review of an incident at a musical festival in New York in June.

In a moment caught on video and splashed across social media, Williams stepped in front of Lee , who had an argument with a girlfriend, according to coach Todd Bowles. Williams then briefly lifted and forcibly removed his teammate from a potential altercation.

Lee was not arrested or charged with anything resulting from the situation, and he wasn't disciplined by the Jets.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement Monday that the league "concluded there was insufficient evidence to support a finding that there was a violation of the personal conduct policy."

ESPN first reported the NFL's decision.

Eagles-Dolphins practice 10 observations: Alshon Jeffery's big day

usa-alshon-jeffery-eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles-Dolphins practice 10 observations: Alshon Jeffery's big day

Training camp is technically over, but the Dolphins are in town for two joint practices before Thursday's preseason game at the Linc.

The Eagles and Dolphins held a lengthy pre-solar eclipse practice under the full power of the sun on Monday morning into the afternoon.

Here are 10 observations from the joint session:

1. *Clears throat* injuries: Brandon Graham and Jordan Hicks left early on Monday. No word about Hicks yet, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Graham suffered a strained tricep that wasn't considered serious. With Graham inside, rookie Derek Barnett took first-team reps at left defensive end. And second-year player Joe Walker filled in for Hicks because Najee Goode wasn't practicing, either.

Barnett returned to practice on Monday after missing Sunday with what Doug Pederson called a "lower-body injury."

2. Plenty of notable folks came out to watch practice today: Charles Barkley, Marvin Harrison, Freddie Mitchell, Stephen Tulloch.

Tulloch, who spent last season with the Eagles, retired this offseason. He's enjoying his retirement but was happy to check out practice on Monday. He owes a lot to Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Dolphins DC Matt Burke, the latter of whom was with Tulloch in Tennessee and Detroit also.

3. Carson Wentz got a ton of reps on Monday because the Dolphins didn't come all the way here to practice against themselves. He went to Alshon Jeffery a ton on Monday during 11-on-11s and 7-on-7s. Jeffery had one of his best days of the summer.

"He's very physical," Byron Maxwell said of Alshon Jeffery. "Getting off the line, you definitely need that too. Philadelphia, they've got three different receivers that can do different things. You've got [Torrey Smith] that can take you deep. Jeffery is a guy that can use his body well."

The best ball Wentz threw all day, though, came on a deep pass to Torrey Smith, who beat old friend Maxwell for a touchdown.

A couple plays later, Wentz hit Jeffery for a touchdown after Maxwell was beaten again. On that one, it looked like Maxwell might have expected safety help that never came.

4. Maxwell and Kiko Alonso had rough returns to their old practice fields. Maxwell was beaten for three touchdowns, two to Smith and one to Jeffery, while Alonso was beaten on a quick pass to Darren Sproles near the goal line.

5. If you were hoping to hear about fights or chippy play between the two teams on Monday, it didn't really happen. The closest it got was when Malcolm Jenkins and Kenny Stills jawed a little bit after a completed pass to Stills from Jay Cutler. Nothing came of it. Although, Jenkins is the odds-on favorite to get in a fight from the Eagles' defensive players. For the offense, Jason Kelce gets the nod.

6. Cutler had a pretty good day against the Eagles' defense. After practice, the quarterback who the Dolphins lured out of retirement said he feels pretty rested after joining the team late, looked like it. He was whizzing footballs into his receivers. He kept finding Jarvis Landry in the end zone during red zone work.

7. The Eagles ran a fake field goal on Monday! Donnie Jones took the snap from Jon Dorenbos and rolled right before hitting Brent Celek. It worked!

8. Nick Foles has looked really good since coming back from his elbow injury. It's almost shocking how much better than Matt McGloin he is. On Monday, he kept connecting with Trey Burton. That could be something to watch if Foles ever plays in a game this season.

9. Nelson Agholor made a great catch with a Dolphins defender blanketing him. It was probably the catch of the day.

10. Wentz's arm isn't showing any signs of fatigue after a long summer. He absolutely threw a rocket to Mack Hollins. The laser of a throw made a loud sound as it collided with Hollins, who went to the ground to catch it. It was a perfect throw where only Hollins could get it.

Stupid Observation of the Day: Yes, Kiko Alonso was of course rocking a crop top on Monday.