The Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday signed the running back they always wanted from free agency, but just didn’t know it. LeGarrette Blount signed a two- year contract that is rumored to be worth $3.85 million and a $950,000 signing bonus. The addition of Blount does something much more than just add depth to a running back roster that saw the departures of Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer this offseason along with the remaining uncertainty of LeRod Stephens Howling. By having Blount in the lineup, the Steelers have a very good 1-2 punch in the running game that could put the Steelers back in the top 10 in rushing and back to the top of the AFC North. Todd Haley just has to realize that and actually use Blount.
As has been stated in many reports since the public became aware of the Steelers interest in Blount, the big man is a force, moves piles, and has a surprising burst of speed once in the open. He’s a different flavor to the young LeVeon Bell’s upright and agile style of running. It’s the kind of running tandem that will slowly chip away at the stamina of a defense and then obliterate it altogether in the closing moments of a fourth quarter. It harkens back to the days of tough, gritty, and smash mouth football that Steelers fans have become accustomed to over the decades.
The Steelers ranked 27th in the rush last season. Blount can help change that. The key is for Todd Haley to utilize this newly acquired 1-2 punch. The offense has tried and failed in years past to have a featured back followed up by a hard nosed 2nd stringer that added a new level of physical running to the game. I think it’s safe to assume that new offensive line coach Mike Munchak will vastly improve the run blocking methods of an offensive line that struggled to execute the run zone blocking scheme brought in by Jack Bicknell, Jr. Todd Haley has the potential to establish a dominating running game.
I just hope he doesn’t let an opportunity slip through his fingers and under utilize the big man like it seem he has with numerous other offensive weapons since Haley’s own arrival back in 2012. It’s unclear how Blount will fit exactly in an offense that appeared to be ready to transition into more of the no huddle with Ben Roethlisberger. Then again, with only Antonio Brown as the only solid receiver (and maybe Lance Moore), the offense may have to rely more on the running game by default. I guess Rooney finally got his wish of taking steps of getting this football team back to being a running one.