So far this season all the Chicago Bears defensive stars are receiving attention. However, some worry about Leonard Floyd not getting in on the action. No need to worry, though. He’s still contributing.
As the Chicago Bears enjoy their bye week, they find themselves in first place in the NFC North, shocking many. Their suffocating defense propels this start. The elite defense ranks 3rd overall in points allowed, fourth in yards allowed, and 2nd in turnovers. After recording a franchise-low 8 sacks in each of the last three seasons, they already matched that number four games into this season.
Guys like Khalil Mack, Akiem HIcks, Danny Trevathan, and Eddie Jackson are getting the bulk of the attention, and deservedly so. Mack, especially, is tremendous. He’s playing like an MVP candidate and his teammates follow his lead.
One name that hasn’t been mentioned much is Leonard Floyd. Experts thought that Mack’s arrival would open things him up. He doesn’t have a sack (yet), but he is playing well, albeit quietly.
Floyd hasn’t broken out like his teammates, but he’s doing other things that help his teammates. He needs to, seeing as how he is still dealing with a broken hand. It broke less than a month and a half ago and he had surgery. He had a club on his right hand that made it difficult for him to get a proper hold of a blocker. The doctors took the club off for last week’s game, but he still doesn’t have full use of it.
Floyd should break out once his hand completely heals. In the meantime, he’s been doing other things and the coaching staff is noticing. Outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley spoke about Floyd’s play and dealing with the injury.
“We’ve loved the way he’s played against the run. He’s been outstanding in pass coverage like he always is, and I think his execution of our rush games has been really good. you’ll see on the tape that there were three or four instances of him really executing our pass-rush game plan. When you don’t have the full use of your hand… He has the club off and all that, but his hand is still restricted. It wasn’t that long ago that he was in surgery. I think once he gets the full strength of his hand back, that’s going to help him in 1-on-1 pass-rush situations. But we’ve been very pleased with him overall.”
Floyd has a fumble recovery and two passes defended. One of them came during last week’s victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He dropped back in coverage and batted down a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass.
As Staley noted, Floyd’s rush defense is good. With Floyd helping out, the Bears rank 3rd in yards per carry average, 2nd in total rushing yards given up, and have yet to give up a rushing touchdown this season. That is an encouraging sign. When the Bears drafted Floyd, his thin frame prevented held him back as a run stopper. The team had him eating away and had an intricate conditioning program to get his weight up. His added strength is noticeable as he improves his run defense.
As Staley said, once Floyd has full use of his injured hand he’ll break out. He has crazy athleticism and quickness. He can blow past defenders and get to the quarterback. With the bye week, he’ll have about two weeks to rest the hand again and get closer to full strength. Once he gets to full strength he’ll make this crazy good Chicago Bears defense even better. Let’s hope that happens soon.