Chicago Bears defense in big trouble without Leonard Floyd

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

As good as the Chicago Bears defense has been, things could get really rough if Leonard Floyd misses significant time.

At one point in the 4th quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Lions, someone remarked that the Chicago Bears defense wasn’t getting anywhere near Matthew Stafford late in the game.

“Where’s the pass rush?” They asked.

Unfortunately, I thought to myself, it had been carted off the field just a few plays before with Leonard Floyd.

While the Bears believe Floyd avoided an ACL tear, he clearly suffered a significant injury to his right knee that will keep him out for some time. And every snap that he misses is one in which the Chicago Bears defense is extremely vulnerable.

What missing Floyd means

The past few weeks have brought the Bears defense back down to Earth little by little.

After allowing over 300 yards of offense just twice in their first seven games, the Bears have now given up north of 300 yards in each of their last three games. And they haven’t had the fortune of scoring any defensive touchdowns in any of these games to support the offense, though they still have managed three takeaways in their last three contests.

Without Floyd, this defense could start looking extremely mortal.

Akiem Hicks has certainly played the best of any defensive player this year, putting together a surefire Pro Bowl campaign. But Floyd is the defense’s most special playmaker and athlete.

The sheer number of things he can do on a football field, while they don’t always show up in the boxscore, are quietly a linchpin of this defense. For one, his improved coverage ability has shown up against both tight ends and running backs. Also, his 5.5 sacks are second on the team to Hicks’ 7.0.

If Floyd misses extended time, how in the world is this team going to pressure opposing quarterbacks? Truthfully, they’ve had a hard enough time getting consistent pressure with Floyd on the field at times, though he’s always good for a sack or drawing at least one holding penalty a game.

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Hicks has been dominant, but even he can’t collapse the pocket every play on his own. With no Floyd near him, I expect teams to perhaps send more attention his way. As good as he is, I don’t think he can do this on his own.

Pernell McPhee has had his moments, but he’s probably never going to be 2015 Pernell McPhee ever again.

Danny Trevathan, Nick Kwiatkoski and Christian Jones almost must blitz more often, but that could leave the defense vulnerable if the Bears go to man coverage (especially if Trevathan can’t play/isn’t 100%).

Perhaps the Bears will utilize Isaiah Irving, who flashed in preseason, more in Floyd’s absence. But I don’t think anyone could possibly expect Irving to give you anything near would Floyd can right now.

And without a solid pass rush, the Bears’ secondary, which has definitely regressed to their mean, could get savagely exposed. Are you imagining with Carson Wentz could do to them next week? I know I am.

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For the Chicago Bears’ sake, I really hope Leonard Floyd isn’t badly hurt. Because if he ends up missing the rest of the season, I’m not sure they’re a lock to win more than one game the rest of the way out (the Cleveland Browns are still the Cleveland Browns).

Also, a season-ending injury to Floyd would derail a solid, if not completely hype-fulfilling, sophomore campaign for the dynamic linebacker. And no one wants to see that happen for a second-straight year.