Empirically, Alfred Blue is an NFL success story. As a sixth round pick out of LSU in 2014, the fact that Alfred Blue is still bumping around the league in 2019 means he has, by definition, defied the odds, and for that he should be applauded. Yet, I couldn't help but sense a feeling of relief among Texan fans, in talking with them and seeing reaction on social media, when it was announced Monday that Blue would be headed for Jacksonville to play for the Jaguars (assuming he makes the team) on a one year deal in 2019.
The relief stemmed from the fear that Blue would, once again, re-sign with the Texans in 2019, and Bill O'Brien would pepper the game plan each week with a moderate dosage of Blue's patented one and two yard runs that go nowhere. To be clear, Blue has had his moments as a reserve, and at
very troubling times, as a starter for the Texans.
In his rookie season, for example, Blue started three games when Arian Foster was injured, including a 156-yard effort in a road win against Cleveland. In 2015, his second season, he started nine games, and actually had three 100 yard games, all Texan wins. 2015 was probably the high point for Blue. For the next two seasons, Blue was largely a backup when he wasn't an afterthought altogether. He bottomed out with 71 carries for the entirety of the dismal 2017 season.
Again, Alfred Blue was not a bad seed, he just wasn't a very good running back, and any frustration with Blue is probably less his fault (he is what he is), and more about the team seemingly seeing him as the best solution in a world where running backs aren't exactly an endangered species. Blue was not very fast, not at all elusive, and not really physically imposing in any way. He was just, well, Blue.
So when the Texans needed a backup running back to Lamar Miller in 2018, they brought Blue back in again off the street on a one year deal, signed on April 30, after the rest of the league had passed on signing him in free agency. The league spoke, and they spoke with silence, and that will be Blue's Texans legacy, quite frankly — he was a hard-working guy, a sixth round pick who stuck around the Texans for five years, but at the end of the day, he probably should have had his role for two seasons, at most.
Again, it's not Alfred Blue's fault that KEEPING Alfred Blue around is so mystifying. The coaches would talk about how indispensable he was on special teams, and yet, I can only remember ONE Alfred Blue special teams play, this blocked punt for a touchdown in his first NFL game against Washington:
I guess first impressions are everything.
Alfred Blue's longest run as a Texan, a 49-yard scamper against the Chiefs in the 2015 playoff loss, ironically, shows exactly why relying on Alfred Blue was so confusing. He breaks off a 49 yard run, but unfortunately, with nothing but daylight between him and the end zone, the Chiefs managed to surround him and form a perimeter around him in the open field:
All of that said, my favorite Alfred Blue highlights both probably came from Hard Knocks during 2015 training camp. First, there was this unfortunate session with Brian Cushing in one-on-one drills:
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And then there was J.J. Watt dislodging the ball from Blue's grasp on this play, where the ball rolls out of the crowd, and you're not totally sure if it is the ball or Blue's head, because Watt hit him so hard:
So farewell, Alfred Blue. You leave us the fourth leading rusher in Texans' history, an underrated indictment of Texans' history. We will miss your 3.6 yards per carry on Sundays. Best of luck in Jacksonville. Please send A.J. Bouye our regards.