On the radar: LeGarrette Blount

June, 17, 2010
6/17/10
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LeGarrette Blount
AP Photo/Mark HumphreyLeGarrette Blount could be the back the Titans need for short-yardage situations and a change of pace.
Any talk of Titans running backs right now starts with Chris Johnson's absence. Without him at OTAs, the group has looked pedestrian at times.

The Titans love the versatility of their No. 2, Javon Ringer, and Jeff Fisher has compared him to a popular former running back in Nashville, Robert Holcombe. But Ringer has very little experience and is hard to get too excited about right now.

Presuming Johnson is back, how to lighten his workload will be a major issue for Tennessee and I fear doing so could mess with the Titans' rhythm and pacing.

While Ringer doesn’t look to be much of a change-up, undrafted rookie LeGarrette Blount can be. He was smart to choose the Titans over the 49ers -- another team that pursued him heavily. In San Francisco, he’d look a lot like Frank Gore and Glen Coffee. In Tennessee, he stands out as different than anyone.

Blount missed May workouts because Oregon wasn’t finished with classes, so he’s heading into only his third practice with the team on Thursday.

It’s too soon for Tennessee to have much of a feel for him. I saw him streak down a sideline to gather a deep ball in a rookie period. This team won’t necessarily be looking to him for explosive plays like that. But he’s going to get every chance to show he can reliably convert short-yardage and goal-line situations.

I don’t expect the Titans to lean on a bigger back as much in those situations this season the way they did with LenDale White in 2008. But they need to do it some. And at 6-feet and 241 pounds, Blount is the biggest back on the team by an inch and 26 pounds.

If he’s not the guy for that role, then the guy for that role isn’t in Nashville yet.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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