A pair of players the Chicago Bears will soon lean on for big plays in the 2018 season aren’t quite ready yet.
Head Coach Matt Nagy was asked for a progress report regarding outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and wide receiver Allen Robinson on Wednesday. And while the first-year coach couldn’t offer up much, the words he used felt more positive than negative.
“Nothing new other than I’d say the arrow continues to go up with them,” Nagy said during his Wednesday press conference. “Leonard has been out here getting some stuff done, same with Allen. I know that they’re chomping at the bit to get out here, but we just need to be smart.”
You can check out highlights from Nagy’s press conference here, or watch it here in its entirety.
Robinson’s 2017 season was pretty much over before it was able to get started as he suffered an ACL injury on the third offensive play of the year. Last week, Nagy said Robinson was “ahead of the game” when it came to his rehab and that the team felt good about his prognosis. Further, it sounds like Robinson was doing well in meetings and doing everything the team asked of him. All things considered, it’s a so far, so good situation for Robinson and the Bears even though he has yet to hit the practice field.
There is no reason to rush Robinson back onto the field, and the same can be said about Floyd.
A handful of Bears defenders have excelled in their third year in Vic Fangio’s offense, and the hope is that Floyd can follow in those footsteps. Floyd missed the team’s April minicamp, but the Bears weren’t all too concerned about it. The University of Georgia product suffered a season-ending knee injury in November, but avoided a dreaded ACL tear.
While the Bears are hoping Robinson can become Mitch Trubisky’s most trusted big-play target and No. 1 receiver for an offense that hasn’t had one of those in a while, Chicago’s defense is banking on Floyd taking the next step in becoming an impact pass-rusher. Floyd finished an injury-shortened season as one of the NFL’s best 3-4 outside linebackers and one metric suggested he was one of the league’s 10 best pass-rushers last season.
Floyd’s improving health and eventual return to the lineup should raise the talent level of a group of pass-rushers that is currently viewed as the team’s weakest link. On the offensive side of the ball, adding Robinson is expected to make life easier for a quarterback the team expects to become a franchise leader.
If both players return to full strength, it’s easy to envision both providing a major positive impact on their respective position groups.