When Needed Most, Leonard Floyd Has Been Missing in Action. But There’s Still Time.

| October 23rd, 2018

If ever there was a time the Bears needed Leonard Floyd to prove he was worth the ninth overall pick in the 2016 draft, it is right now.

With yet another ghosting Sunday, Floyd is working his way to becoming the worst draft pick of Ryan Pace’s relatively short career (Kevin White got hurt, we can’t blame Pace for that). Floyd has shown plenty of flashes in his career, but injuries – he was hurt a lot in college so we can blame Pace for that – and otherwise subpar play has landed Floyd’s career at a crossroads.

There’s no other way to say it: through six games, Floyd has been downright bad.

The Georgia product has zero sacks this season and has managed to hit an opposing quarterback just once, according to NFLGSIS. The third-year pass rusher has been excused because of the way Vic Fangio uses him, but that’s mostly bull. According to Pro Football Focus, Floyd has had 134 chances to chase opposing quarterbacks. Aaron Lynch has had 90 pass-rush opportunities and has managed seven quarterback hits — including two sacks.

Lynch is a $5 million journeyman. Floyd is a top-10 pick.

It isn’t just a lack of pass rush either. His defenders like to say Floyd is great in coverage, but the Bears don’t ever ask their linebackers to do much beyond defending the flat. Sunday, Floyd was beaten soundly in that area.

There’s no question that the hand injury has hurt Floyd’s production. But plenty of players have been able to have an impact with casts. Floyd hasn’t done anything. If he was going to be this ineffective while one-handed, why play him at all?

The expectation was that this was finally going to be the year Floyd put it together for double-digit sacks. That just isn’t happening. He faced a backup last week and couldn’t even breathe on Tom Brady.

Everything looked great when Khalil Mack was healthy and dominating. Now he’s not healthy and not close to dominant and nobody else is stepping up. The Bears need Floyd to be the guy until Mack gets close to full strength. Until that happens, they’re merely an above average defense and they need more than that.

Quick Hits

• There was a lot to bash Mitch Trubisky about last week and almost all of it is justified. But he still managed more than 400 yards of total offense and three touchdowns. If that’s a bad game — and it surely was — at least he made it a productive one.

• We saw a lot of the same mistakes from the defense that we saw a week earlier. It wasn’t just the heat, they were sloppy against Miami and it carried over. Ultimately, I’m pleased with the defense giving up 24 points, but allowing the 96-yard touchdown drive was a back breaker.

• I can’t share Matt Nagy’s optimism when he points out the Bears were “one yard” away from beating the Patriots. They needed a miracle throw just to get within one yard after trailing by fourteen earlier in the fourth quarter. This was a close game that turned into a butt-kicking.

• Through four games, the Bears were not only first in the NFC North, but the best team. They have dropped to last in the last two games and they have been the worst team in the NFC North.

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