Chicago Bears: Leonard Floyd is an unsung hero

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

The Chicago Bears’ defense had another outstanding showing in their win on Sunday, and Leonard Floyd finally made a solid stat sheet appearance. However, he’s been contributing on this defense long before Sunday.

With their victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the Chicago Bears are the champions of the NFC North division for the first time since 2010. Much of their success is undeniably due to their great play on the defensive side of the ball.

The Monsters of the Midway are back in a big way thanks to the exceptional play of guys like Akiem Hicks, Eddie Jackson, and most importantly, Khalil Mack. However, the contributions of former first-round draft pick Leonard Floyd have gone grossly underappreciated this season.

Before their Week 14 matchup with the Bears, Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay had this to say of Floyd, “Leonard Floyd is a player that’s gotten a lot better, you know, really, you just look at a couple years ago, when I was in Washington. We played [the Bears], and you can just feel his growth and maturation [since then].”

Floyd had himself a nice game on Sunday, recording six tackles (two for loss), three QB hits, and two sacks. In the minds of many fans, it was about time.

Floyd has had his fair share of critics this season. In their defense, Floyd hasn’t exactly shown up big in the game logs before Sunday. Through 14 games this season, he has 40 total tackles (eight for loss), ten QB hits, and four sacks. However, it should be pointed out that much of the criticism of Floyd is misguided and unfair.

More from Da Windy City

Floyd’s critics this season have take aim at his low sack numbers; earlier in the season, former Bear Matt Forte joked that Floyd should “dress up as a sack” for Halloween.

However, it isn’t fair to assume Floyd should be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL because that wasn’t his strong suit in college. In 37 games at the University of Georgia, Floyd recorded 17.0 sacks — a respectable number, but by no means does it suggest that he was dominant as a pass rusher.

It is also worth pointing out that Floyd played the first two games of the season with a club cast on his left hand after he had surgery to repair a fracture suffered during the preseason. Only having use of one of his hands hampered his ability to shed blocks at the beginning of the season.

As for the rest of the games, Floyd’s low sack numbers can be explained by his usage this season. Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has deployed him in pass coverage more than any other Bears’ linebacker this season, as pass coverage has always been one of his strengths. Floyd is quick enough to keep in stride with many running backs and has good instincts in the secondary.

Related Story. Trubisky rises to occasion. light

For now, let’s be content that Floyd is the best pass coverage linebacker on a dominant Bears defense. His physical gifts set the ceiling high for his future development, and he has his first contract year coming up next season, so we should expect to see the best Leonard Floyd yet in 2019.