ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter broke the news this afternoon that the New England Patriots have reportedly traded running back Jeff Demps to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for running back LeGarrette Blount. This was a true trade of convenience for both squads, as the Buccaneers were reportedly actively shopping Blount, and the Patriots seemed ready this off-season to separate Demps from their employ when he earlier stated that he planned to train and run track for Team USA while trying to play football at the same time. If there is one constant with a Bill Belichick coached football team, it is that football ALWAYS comes first.
Patriots running back Jeff Demps spent all of last year on injured reserve after dinging his knee in preseason. It appeared that what had really happened was that the Patriots had put Demps on an unofficial “red-shirt” season to get him into football shape and learn the offense.
Tampa Bay running back LaGarrette Blount, on the other hand, spent last season in the dog house as he got only 41 carries (for 151 yards, a 3.7 avg). Of course, as an undrafted rookie, Blount rushed for over 1,00 yards (1,007 yards on 201 carries to be precise) in 2010. Last year, the Buccaneers brought in rookie Doug “the Muscle Hampster” Martin who took the number one role and ran with it. With Martin ensconced as the starter, Blount became a luxury.
Just like last year with the trade for cornerback Aqib Talib, coach and uber-executive Bill Belichick worked his Rutgers connection and trade with former Rutgers coach and “FoBB” (Friend of Bill Belichick) Greg Schiano to pick up another former disgruntled Buccaneer at a discount rate to rehabilitate their image and contribute in New England while ridding their own clubhouse of a headache.
LaGarrette Blount fits well with the Patriots’ needs at running back as he is a much larger back (a bruiser) that their offense desperately needed. Too many times in 2011 and 2012, the Patriots failed to convert a 3rd and short or goal-line situation when they needed their back to grind out a one or two-yard gain in their jumbo offensive set. Blount is the kind of back who can run into the line and push forward without a hole and get that key conversion.
Yet again on draft day this year, the Patriots work the Rutgers Scarlet Knights connection to add a key piece to their squad.