The Chicago Bears wrapped up mandatory minicamp this week, so let’s highlight how it ended on a high note for at least one of the team’s most important players:
Bears OLB Leonard Floyd on his recovery from a right knee injury: "This week I went full speed for the first time." Also says "I feel great."
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) June 7, 2018
The last few weeks have seen outside linebacker Leonard Floyd make positive strides on his comeback trail. Head Coach Matt Nagy noted that Floyd was itching to get back onto the practice field in late May, then a week later – BOOM! – it happened. Now to hear that Floyd was practicing at full speed during the team’s mandatory minicamp represents the latest wave of positive news for the team’s most talented pass rusher.
Floyd looked to be piecing together a fine second season with the Bears before landing on season-ending injured reserve after a collision with teammate Kyle Fuller led to MCL and PCL injuries. And because Floyd didn’t suffer an ACL injury, his recovery process is ahead of where it would be had he damaged that particular ligament. There is a strong belief that 2018 could be a break-out season for Floyd, as certain players have proven to take off in the third-year playing in Vic Fangio’s defense, so you’ll excuse me if I sound particularly excited.
Indeed, the success of the Bears’ defense could hinge on Floyd’s health. Even though the group finished in the top 10 in scoring and yards, it didn’t have the same oomph when Floyd was out of the lineup. The lack of a pass-rushing presence was evident without Floyd, even though Lamarr Houston filled in admirably in his place.
Chicago’s defense could use all the positive news it can get from its crew of outside linebackers and edge rushers. Fangio’s unit received some troubling news on Wednesday when Nagy told reporters that Aaron Lynch suffered a hamstring injury during practice on Tuesday. That group is already short on proven talent, and Lynch figures to be in the mix to start opposite of Floyd when the regular season begins.