The Leonard Floyd Breakout Arrived a Year Later Than Expected (And Other Bears Bullets)

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The Leonard Floyd Breakout Arrived a Year Later Than Expected (And Other Bears Bullets)

Chicago Bears

My buddy Jim has been cooking up a storm lately. His Chicago pub style pizza recipe is drool-inducing, as is his hot honey fried chicken. I recently loaded up on boneless-skinless chicken thighs because they were on sale at a price I couldn’t refuse, so I might dabble into the hot chicken later this week.

•   In fantasy baseball, I have the rep of being a guy who’s too often one year early on a guy. Meaning, I’ll roster him the year before his breakout, only to let him go because I’m unconvinced the breakout is coming, only to watch said player break through with another team. So I felt extra attacked watching Leonard Floyd wreck the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday afternoon. Floyd had 3 sacks, 5 quarterback hits, and 2 tackles-for-loss in the Rams’ 23-16 win. He now has 7 sacks in 9 games with the Rams. Or to put it differently, as many sacks in 9 games in Los Angeles as he did in his last 32 games with the Bears. Ouch, babe.

•   Because you care: Floyd is on pace for a 12-sack season with 14 tackles-for-loss, and 27 quarterback hits. This is what the breakout was supposed to look like in Chicago. The way Floyd is taking advantage of the attention Aaron Donald gets is what he should have been doing while Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks drew extra blocking assignments from opponents. Floyd has always used his long limbs as leverage to make plays as a defender against the pass and run, but now he is actually getting to the quarterback. Kudos to Floyd for making the most of his opportunity, I guess. It’s just that I wish he could have done that here. Had the Bears been able to unlock this type of play from Floyd, it could have saved them from throwing down a chunk of change for Robert Quinn, whose early returns haven’t been great.

•   This whole defense is a problem:

•   We discussed this after the Rams’ stellar work against the Bears in Week 7, but seeing Floyd’s emergence makes me wonder if the Bears overlooked an obvious candidate to replace Vic Fangio when they passed on Brandon Staley. Remember, Staley was the Bears’ OLBs Coach from 2017-18 and was a Fangio understudy who followed him to Denver in 2019. A year after that, he made the jump to defensive coordinator. Staley essentially taught himself Fangio’s defense, made some tweaks to modernize it, and has unleashed it on the NFL. It’s a meteoric rise that will have him in the conversation for head-coaching gigs this offseason.

•   To that end, NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero rounds up a list of young coaches to watch as potential interview candidates. Depending on how tonight’s game (and the rest of the season) goes, Bears fans could be taking an extra close look at this list sooner, rather than later. And for what it’s worth, there’s plenty fo Bears flavor among this crop of candidates. Bears QBs Coach John DeFilippo and Safeties Coach Sean Desai make the cut. So does former Bears WRs Coach Zach Azzanni, who works under Fangio in Denver. Staley makes the list, too. We’ll dive deeper into this list (1) if time permits and (2) if the situation calls for it.

•   As expected, the Jaguars were of no use yesterday:

•   Well, at least this was fun:

•   The catch of the year had the call of the year:

•   NFL owners approved a plan that would reward teams who hire minority candidates for head-coaching and lead executive jobs with draft picks. The plan is rooted in a good place, as it aims to get deserving candidates more than a token interview to satisfy the Rooney Rule. Few things that annoy me in football as much as seeing an obvious situation in which someone is brought in and not given a fair shot. So maybe incentivizing a minority hires could result in teams making progress on the field and in the organization, as well as opening teams up to actually being progressive. But as expected, it’s drawing mixed reviews:

•   The Texans continue to make curious, head-scratching decisions:

•   Man … even *kickers* are getting extensions:

•   G Herbo for Bears QB?

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•   Here comes “the reckoning” we’ve been hearing so much about since the end of the 2018 season:

•   Otto’s back:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.