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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Steelers cut ties with Blount

Mike Tomlin sent a strong message through his locker room today. You're either with us or against us.

Cutting LeGarrette Blount had to be a difficult decision for Tomlin.

On one hand, you had a player who had been something of a problem. First was the incident in August when he and Le'Veon Bell were pulled over on their way to the airport for a preseason game and charged with possession of marijuana.

And during the practices with the Buffalo Bills, Blount had to be pulled away a couple of times from going after Buffalo players when minor fights broke out.

Monday night was the final straw, as Blount left the field early in the closing moments of the Steelers' 27-24 victory at Tennessee. Not only did he do that, he left the locker room early, before Tomlin had spoken to the team, and had to be ordered back into the room by assistant coach Joey Porter - with whom Blount had also nearly fought during a backs on backers drill in Latrobe.

But the Steelers also are very thin at running back now without Blount on the roster.

Their only experience at the position behind Le'Veon Bell now consists of Dri Archer's eight career carries. Josh Harris, the player promoted from the practice squad to replace Blount on the roster, was an undrafted rookie who wasn't signed by the Steelers until they had other injuries at the position in training camp.

Tomlin had to weigh those things when he made the decision to give Blount his walking papers.

Bell was on the field for 71 of the Steelers' 74 offensive plays against the Titans. Blount was in for just one play.

Bell is an every-down back to be sure, but the Steelers are going to need more out of Archer for sure while also figuring out ways to incorporate Harris into things. They now cannot afford an injury to Bell.

38 comments:

BoSailor said...

Steelers should sign LaMichael James from Miami practice squad. When Oregon suspended Blount for punching Boise St player, James was his replacement and became the all time leading rusher for Oregon. He is compact, clever, quick. Would do well in zone blocking scheme. He can also return kickoffs and punts which he did very well for SF when given the chance. In fact, the very few times SF let him play, he played well. Young second round pick who is going to thrive for whoever gives him a chance.

Anonymous said...

Blount is a punk, and I've never been a fan. Waste of talent, imho. I agree with BoSailor, go after James.

Anonymous said...

I can respect Tomlin’s decision to cut a malcontent. However, if Bell goes down, Archer or Harris replace him? This makes me a little nervous, particularly after Bell carried the team to victory last night.

Anonymous said...

That Archer pick just looks worse and worse. He CANNOT be the primary backup. A player his size would be a fumble waiting to happen and he just couldn't take the wear and tear.

joe said...

if it was a difficult decision, i would imagine he would have waited a bit longer. doesn't seem to have been a difficult decision at all. guy appears he will never get his head outta his rear end when it comes to his temper.

and yes, archers complete lack of ability to return punts or kicks has made him a total flop at this point, and even worse now we are so thin at backs

Dale Lolley said...

If you're going to act on a situation like that, you have to do so quickly. Can't let it fester. So you either suspend or release him immediately. Can't afford to look weak in the locker room.

adamg said...

The few times he's lined up at TB and run between the tackles, Archer did surprisingly well. It's not like he hasn't played against much bigger guys his whole life. Little guys like Sproles, McClusker, LSH have been able to get the job done when asked. Maybe all Archer needs is an actual role to fill rather than just being an oddity in the offense.

Easley said...

I thought those "good riddance" comments from the other players, particularly Pouncey, were quite telling. It suggests that Blount was a real a**hole of a teammate. Everyone ignored that red flag of the Patriots making no effort to keep him after his dominant playoff performance.

Anonymous said...

The sooner they got him away from Bell the better off this team would be. Go kill another locker room.

Anonymous said...

Tomlin to Blount: "There is no U in TEAM."

marc said...

I'm not surprised they cut blount. but I do wish there were more experienced backups besides archer and harris. I don't really know how the practice squad stuff works. could the steelers pickup a FA running back, add him to the roster, and move harris back to the practice squad?

all 3 afc north teams are on the road this weekend against teams fighting for the playoffs. how nice it would be to see a sweep.

adamg said...

If you sign a player from the PS, he has to go on the 53 man roster. If he replaced Harris, Harris would have to be cut and then signed to the PS. As long as the player remains eligible for the PS, I think he can be cut and signed indefinitely as long as both team and player are willing.

marc said...

on a side note, it was kind of ridiculous the titans got their first (and only) penalty with 6:58 left in the third quarter.

upon further research, the titans are average 5 penalties for 43 yards at home. on the road they are averaging 10 penalties for 88 yards. is that how it goes for the average nfl team or is it home cooking for the titans. regardless, I believe it is impossible for any team to only have 1 penalty in a game.

Anonymous said...

So when should Steeler fans get worried that Shazier can't stay healthy?

Anyone notice AJ Mosley is at the top of most defensive rookie of the year lists?

Nicholas Clark said...

I loved Bell's response to Blount getting released. This kid is something special

drinkyourmilkshake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
drinkyourmilkshake said...

CJ Mosley is the guys name. (What a stud by the way that football fans who take time to comment on blogs can't remember his name). He's certainly been a solid player and might win the award by default unless Anthony Barr or Aaron Donald continue to break out over the last half of the season.

Shazier has something that the coaches think is special or he wouldn't have been thrust into the starting line-up. He might have some early injury hiccups but to write him off due to injuries after a 3/4 of a season is silly.

Dale Lolley said...

And last year, if you remember, people were saying the Steelers made the wrong pick with Bell over Lacy. How about we let it play out over a couple of seasons before we say one's better than the other or the team made a mistake?

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Anonymous said...

Christie,

I know of an out of work running back that might be interested if you have a “higher” position in your company. Hopefully your company doesn’t do drug testing, have any workplace violence rules and would be willing to let his needs take priority over the good of the company.

marc said...

blount signs with pats. what if this was corporate espionage from the get go. belichek tells blount go sign with a potential afc playoff team, play well and learn their system, then get yourself booted before the playoffs. we will sign you back and use the info if we face them in the playoffs.

I know, its not true, but I couldn't help it.

Anonymous said...

There are two ways that Tomlin’s decision come back to haunt him: 1. Bell gets hurt 2. Blount goes to a team bound for the playoffs who end up playing Pittsburgh in the playoffs.

I like what you said Marc. I remember watching the one AFC Championship vs. NE and commented to my wife: It's like they know our plays.

Anonymous said...

It's embarassing as a steelers fan to see these conspiracies. If any team wanted Blount, he could have been had by the waiver process. I don't blame NE for taking a flyer....

adamg said...

Why did NE part ways with Blount last year? Salary? Belichek knows what he's getting. I'm sure Blount will help them.

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, does he have to take a drug test as part of the NE physical?

Marc is just joking, I mean after fining Belicheat for the spygate incident, why would Goodell have destroyed the evidence if it were anything serious?

Anonymous said...

Any chance the Pats may have helped convince him to do what he did, find a way back to them in their moment of need??

DD said...

Steelers had no choice but to let him go. But the Pats are better now because of him. But let's be honest here, IF somehow the Steelers played the Pats at Foxborough in the playoffs, the chances of us beating them are about 5% without them having Blount, and 4% with them having him. It is Brady that destroys LeBeau's completely predictable defense ANY time we play them. He is the reason we'd get smoked, not blount.

Anonymous said...

Picture this: It’s a cold, snowy, blustery January day with gusting winds in NE. Will you be passing the ball or handing it off to a 250 lb bruiser who will be motivated to show up his old team? That’s one of the scenarios that could come back to bite Tomlin.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I sense that the Steelers may have told Blount when trying to sign him that the running back responsibilities would be “shared” with Bell. When Bell emerged as the workhorse, Blount’s carries dwindled and being competitive and immature, it didn’t sit well with him. I agree with Tomlin’s decision, but as noted earlier, it may come back to haunt him. And if Blount does well in NE, then people will question Tomlin’s strategy of how he used him. Yes, Bell is special but a tandem team reduces the wear on Bell and may prolong his career.

marc said...

wow, I was just screwing around when I posted that comment.

Anonymous said...

Just about everyone understood that Marc. I hope we don't have to go to sarc tags.

Anonymous said...

Mr. T did what was right, the guy wasn't going to change and by the sound of it. He won't be missed much by some of the staff and players. The message was clear, Blount had his chances. If he was such a great team guy that could carry the load when called on, he would still be with the team..

I don't think he is capable of giving the Pat's anymore information than they already know. (as seen on T.V.) I would be surprised is the hand signals that Ben uses don't change every game so that other teams don't catch on.. I tend to think that's why some of the WR's aren't always on the same page, along with not knowing exactly what to look for from the defense.

Blount would of been nice to have going into the cold months of football but not for all the distractions that he causes. I actually think the cold weather will help Bell when playing outside, he is the only one that knows what hole he is going to hit along with what cut he's is going to make.. In the coming months that's going to be a big +.

I'm still optimistic about this season, we have a couple weeks to get some guys back and for Ben to work with the youngsters a little more.

Zeke

Anonymous said...

Let's take a look at Colbert's off season acquisitions for the Steelers:

Blount: Drug citation, released for behavioral issues. Now our depth at RB is non-existent.

Allen: Terrible play leads to benching. Outplayed by UDFAs.

Mitchell: Average. Nothing special.

Cam Thomas: Horrible at DE, average at best at NT.

I'd give Colbert an F so far.

marc said...

anon2:04,
I don't believe those were all of the steelers FA signings this past offseason. if you are going to grade Colbert, then at least include them all first.

Anonymous said...

fine marc, F+

adamg said...

Is it true Blount left with around a minute to go with BR taking a knee and running out the clock?
That seems a relatively minor offense to me. It seemed like few of the players even realized he'd gone into the locker room early. Nor have there been any real negative comments about Blount as a teammate.

Do you think if there hadn't been non-stop sports radio talk about it, Tomlin would have handled things differently and Blount would still be with the team?

Brad said...

Dale you're the insider here. Is it a sign that something was already afoot that Blount didn't get a carry in the game? Perhaps an incident behind closed doors that led to Blount being left out of the game? Or was it purely the coaches wanting to see if Bell could handle that kind of load?

BlackNGold said...

adamg,

He also left the locker room early and according to Dale's report, made to go back in for when Tomlin addressed the team.

Zeke,

I don't think the hand signals need to change. As I understood it, Ben would call 2 plays in the huddle. The hand signal was to indicate he is changing to the other play.

-Ed