NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

LeGarrette Blount Signing Alters Pittsburgh Steelers’ Offensive Identity

LeGarrette Blount

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

When the new NFL season began, Pittsburgh Steelers fans knew there was a chance that there would be a lot of their free agents fleeing to other franchises. That certainly happened, but unlike what the Steelers usually do with a wait and see approach to free agency, the team has been very proactive in signing free agents to help add depth and experience to their roster. All without getting older.

The most recent of those signings was the addition of former New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount. Before starting his NFL career, Blount was most known for the punch heard round the world when he sucker punched a Boise State player after his alma mater Oregon Ducks were upset in the 2009 season opener.

Blount resurrected his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and turned that experience into a contract with the Patriots. Its via New England that brings Blount to the Steel City to help bolster a running back corps that was desperately in need of depth.

There is no question that Le’Veon Bell is the starting running back for the Steelers, but the addition of Blount gives the offense a new identity.

Most Pittsburgh fans can remember when the team played a smash mouth, grind it out style of football that would literally choke a lead away from an opponent by grinding out first downs and draining the time off the clock. Those days have long been replaced by an offense that has become pass happy and has struggled to garner even a 100 yards combined rushing in a game — an offense that is more based around wide receiver bubble screens than running plays between the tackles.

Blount’s signing adds yet another power back to the Steelers’ arsenal, and ultimately will shift the focus of the Steelers’ offense from a pass happy team to a running team again. Combine the backfield of Bell and Blount with the fact that the Steelers’ only known commodities at wide receiver are Antonio Brown and newly acquired Lance Moore, and you have yourself an offense that is changing.

Could this be the return of Pittsburgh Steelers smash mouth football? LeGarrette Blount’s addition certainly has the team headed in that direction.

Jeff Hartman covers the Pittsburgh Steelers for RantSports.com and  also contributes for the Penguins and Pirates. Follow him on  Twitter @BnGBlitz and add him on Google+