Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Blount's role as kick returner a head-scratcher


The New England Patriots' kick return squad has us scratching our heads a bit to start the season, and we're not alone.

The Pats had only one kick return in their win Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but even their scarce attempts through three games have raised some eyebrows.

Following the Bucs' only score of an eventual 23-3 rout by New England, former Tampa Bay back LeGarrette Blount once again appeared as the returner, carrying the ball out to the 18-yard line for a 24-yard effort. It was Blount's fourth attempt this season, and he's averaging a mere 21 yards an attempt.

ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss said he'd just as curious as the rest of us when asked about Blount's job as the team's main kick returner in his weekly mailbag column.

Reiss said he doesn't see Blount helping the team in the role, and with an injured Leon Washington out with a thigh injury, it's possible Belichick is just filling the slot until the proven special teamer is back to full strength.

But unless Belichick and his special teams coaches are looking to bruise up opposing tacklers and not another return man, at 250 pounds, Blount seems like the last option you'd choose as a replacement -- except for maybe big Vince Wilfork. And it's not like the offense couldn't use a bit of field position.

Reiss suggests the Patriots turn to Josh Boyce, who has at least made it past the 30-yard line in his career.

Follow Dan @DanBegnoche
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily