Patriots notebook: LeGarrette Blount wins AFC Offensive Player of the Month award
FOXBORO — If there were a trophy for such an award, the current incarnation of the AFC Offensive Player of the Month would feature a hurdling LeGarrette Blount over a downtrodden would-be tackler.
The Patriots running back earned his first career honor yesterday after leading the NFL with 75 carries and 298 yards through Week 3. He is also tied for the league lead with four rushing touchdowns, and his 16 first downs are the second most.
“It’s an honor, man, but it was a group effort,” Blount said. “It wasn’t all me. I know I get a lot of the recognition. I know I get most of the recognition right now. But it was a group effort. It trickles down from the offensive line to the tight ends to the fullback to the wide receivers. They all play a part in how I’ve been able to play.”
Blount was right to spread the love, as offensive linemen Nate Solder, Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason have been road graders, wide receivers Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell have shined as downfield blockers and tight end Martellus Bennett also has sprung Blount for his share of big gains.
But Blount is still breaking tackles and hurdling tacklers, so the individual award was well deserved. He is also on pace for 400 carries, 1,589 yards and 21 touchdowns, which would smash his career highs of 201 totes for 1,007 yards (2010) and seven scores (2013).
Obviously, that’s an unrealistic output, as such a season never has occurred in NFL history. Plus, the Patriots offense will change dramatically upon Tom Brady’s return, and Dion Lewis’ eventual involvement will alter the direction of the backfield.
Blount didn’t appear to be overly concerned with any of that. As an award winner or otherwise, there’s never been a question about his dedication to the system.
“We’ll see,” Blount said. “We play the games differently. If the game calls for us to run the football, we’re going to do it. If it calls for us to pass the ball, we’re going to do it. The game’s been played differently, so you’ve just got to lace them up and do whatever the coaches tell you to do. If winning is the biggest thing for you, then this is going to be the perfect fit.”
Not a fan?
Bills coach Rex Ryan knows he has nothing left to lose with New Englanders, aside from another football game anyway.
Ryan was overly sensitive Wednesday during a conference call with the New England media as he was reminded of his 4-11 record against Bill Belichick along with his claims of being an “above-average coach.” It took a turn again yesterday when the Buffalo media asked him about the conversation.
“That doesn’t bother me at all,” Ryan said. “Let’s face it, we’re here in Buffalo. Nobody likes anything in Boston.”
Ryan has a history of entertaining back-and-forths with the media, especially the Boston group, but he has been particularly snippy in the conference calls dating back to last season.
“It’s not like the first time,” Ryan said. “This is, like, seven, eight years. It’s the same every time you talk to them. So you have fun with them, going back and forth.
“I don’t even care. It’s like, whatever.”
Watkins in limbo
Ryan isn’t ready to rule out Sammy Watkins from playing on Sunday after the receiver missed his second straight practice yesterday because of a sore left foot.
Ryan doesn’t expect Watkins to practice today either, and says the plan is to see how he feels Sunday before determining his status.
The starter has been out since last week when a teammate stepped on his surgically repaired foot during a walk-through.
Ryan is encouraged about the possibility of starting left tackle Cordy Glenn returning after missing two games with a sprained left ankle.
Not in Ohio anymore
John Hughes joined the Patriots this week, so the 27-year-old defensive tackle is getting used to living outside of Ohio for the first time in his life.
He was born in Columbus, attended the University of Cincinnati and was drafted in 2012 by the Browns, who employed him until last week. It’s helped Hughes that former Browns Jabaal Sheard and Barkevious Mingo have aided his acclimation process.
“It’s actually my first time living outside of Ohio,” Hughes said. “(It’s helpful) knowing somebody and getting the little things like the places to live, a car and things like that.
“I talked to Jabaal when I first came in. He told me to stay positive about everything, and it’s a great organization.”
Hughes, a 320-pound defensive lineman, replaced Anthony Johnson to reinforce the depth on early-down interior presences. It’ll help Sunday against the run-heavy Bills if Hughes is active.
“Kind of just picking it up piece by piece,” Hughes said. “It’s kind of hard to learn the whole playbook overnight. Just starting from the beginning and learning.”