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soulman

Bears Need More From Floyd This Season

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ATM: Bears Need More From Floyd

212bf710fe9dfd56c9762bf769cdf891?s=16&d= Andrew Dannehy | July 9th, 2019

https://dabearsblog.com/2019/atm-bears-need-more-from-floyd

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When Khalil Mack wasn’t on the field, the Bears had one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL. That is a direct reflection on former first-rounder Leonard Floyd.

Perhaps the biggest argument for Mack’s Defensive POY candidacy last year was how much the Bears struggled to get after the quarterback when he was limited or not on the field at all. In the four games Mack was playing hurt or not playing at all, the Bears managed a combined 24 quarterback sacks and hits, applying such pressure on just 14.6% of the drop backs (not counting quarterback runs which are often the result of good coverage). That rate would’ve been the second worst in the entire league, ahead of only — surprise, surprise — Oakland.

In all, the Bears pass rush wasn’t bad last year. When Mack was on the field, they hit opposing quarterbacks at the fifth-highest rate and finished 15th overall. Floyd was third on the team in both sacks and hits, but spent too much time doing his best Sam Wheat impression.

Nine times last year, Floyd didn’t even touch the opposing quarterback. Some of those struggles can be contributed to a preseason hand injury — he didn’t record a QB hit or sack in six of the team’s first seven games. But he still had three such games in the team’s final seven and half of his sacks came in one game — both largely the result of pressures by Mack.

Mack’s presence should make Floyd’s job easy, yet he had his worst season as a pro. In six fewer games, he had more hits and sacks in 2017 and had 16 in 12 games as a rookie in 2016. The injury excuse is probably used too often for Floyd. The club was off early in the season, but his struggles continued until late in the year.

Chuck Pagano’s scheme should help the athletic freak. Pagano’s organized chaos should help Floyd get more free looks, but that won’t solve his biggest problem. When blockers get their hands on Floyd, they tend to beat him. It’s a flaw new outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino mentioned when asked about Floyd last spring.

“Guys don’t run around other players in this league,” Monachino said. “Players are too good. So we’ve got to get him really good at how’s he going to clear, and how’s he going to finish.”


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You can see exactly what Monachino is talking about in the above clip. Once Jordan Mills gets his hands on Floyd, it’s over. As Bears fans know all to well, Mills has always struggled with speed rushers, yet he held Floyd to just one QB hit and zero sacks.

Monachino has been around the block. He coached Terrell Suggs to a career-high 14 sacks in 2011; got Paul Kruger paid after nine sacks in 2012; coached Elvis Dumervil, Suggs and Pernell McPhee to a combined 36.5 sacks in 2014 and got 11 sacks out of Erik Walden — SERIOUSLY — in 2016. With all due respect to Brandon Staley, he didn’t have that kind of resume.

There has been a lot of talk about how great this Bears defense can be and the ultimate key is going to be getting more pass rush.

Mack and Akiem Hicks combined for more than a third of the hits the Bears put on opposing quarterbacks. Again, Mack missed two complete games and was extremely limited in two more, but led the team with 18 QB hits and 12.5 sacks. Hicks came in with 16 hits and 7.5 sacks. No other player on the team had more than 11 hits or four sacks.

Roy Robertson-Harris is the third best pass-rusher on the team, but they’ve been limited in how much they can play him — presumably because of his run defense. Bilal Nichols has potential, so do Kylie Fitts and Ike Irving. But nobody has more potential than Floyd and nobody else should have to pick up the slack.

If the Bears defense is truly going to be as good as they were in the mid-80s, it’ll depend on Floyd.

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I won't dispute this at all but I will provide at least some rationale for why Floyd has not become a top ranked Edge Rusher.

Injuries aside he never was one to begin with.  Not even in college.  He played as much as an ILB at Georgia at times as he did at OLB.

Studies and analytics have shown that top college pass rushers often succeed just as well in the NFL and also that poor or mediocre college pass rushers seldom if ever improve much if at all as pros.  Leonard Floyd was a mediocre pass rusher in college whom Pace has depended upon to improve greatly as one when he drafted him.

So far that hasn't happened so Ted Monachino has his work cut out for him.  There's also the issue of how Pagano plans to use Floyd.

Vic Fangio had him dropping in coverage quite often and playing more as he did in college and while it didn't lead to as many sacks and pressure Floyd has proven to be very effective in coverage and also against the run.  Will Pagano use him in this same way or will he try to use him more as an edge rusher regardless of his skill set?

This is Floyd's contract year and one thing seems certain.  Unless he can come into his own as an effective edge rusher as well any contract extension Pace may offer won't reflect that of a double digit sack guy and I can't see any way Pace would be willing to pay him $13.2 mil for one year based on his 5th year option salary.

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3 hours ago, soulman said:

I won't dispute this at all but I will provide at least some rationale for why Floyd has not become a top ranked Edge Rusher.

Injuries aside he never was one to begin with.  Not even in college.  He played as much as an ILB at Georgia at times as he did at OLB.

Studies and analytics have shown that top college pass rushers often succeed just as well in the NFL and also that poor or mediocre college pass rushers seldom if ever improve much if at all as pros.  Leonard Floyd was a mediocre pass rusher in college whom Pace has depended upon to improve greatly as one when he drafted him.

So far that hasn't happened so Ted Monachino has his work cut out for him.  There's also the issue of how Pagano plans to use Floyd.

Vic Fangio had him dropping in coverage quite often and playing more as he did in college and while it didn't lead to as many sacks and pressure Floyd has proven to be very effective in coverage and also against the run.  Will Pagano use him in this same way or will he try to use him more as an edge rusher regardless of his skill set?

This is Floyd's contract year and one thing seems certain.  Unless he can come into his own as an effective edge rusher as well any contract extension Pace may offer won't reflect that of a double digit sack guy and I can't see any way Pace would be willing to pay him $13.2 mil for one year based on his 5th year option salary.

@CBears019 and I said basically this during Floyds draft day.  He was a disappointing pick. 

Thank God for Mack.  Floyd as your primary pass rusher is a flat bust.  He is a LB who is good at blitzing, not a straight pass rusher.  Fangio never really figured that out. 

If you have liberty to use him in versatile ways he is very good football player. 

Roquan is an amazing blitz pass rusher.  Could have near double digit sacks if sent enough, but if you made him a straight pass rusher he might get one a season. 

 

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If Floyd is ever going to be a major threat as a passrusher, it is going to be in one of two ways

- Creative blitzes with DL stunts in front of him

- Running a system that allows him to be in a wide-9 almost exclusively (think Irvin's best years in SEA)

 

I am not going to count him as a guy who closes on the QB in spy roles, to me that isn't passrushing and actually better is suited to the role he played last year off ball. Floyd is essentially a 3rd ILB for the 3-4 or similarly in role to the SAM of a 4-3. That isn't a bad thing like it was when he was miscast into the role of an EDGE years ago, and he will likely get 4-6 sacks again while passrushing is a tertiary responsibility. Be happy to have his versatility, hope some combination of RRH, Irving, or Fitts develop into something, because Lynch is the bandaid to the position, nothing more.

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I don’t think they need a ton more from Floyd per se. I think what they need is 2nd half of last season Floyd all season. His skill set is always going to mean he isn’t rushing the passer every down like Mack or other pure edge rushers do, but him being able to play in space effectively also helps bolster the pressure numbers of DT and Roquan. They can blitz more regularly because of what Floyd can do when he’s not going after the QB. That isn’t going to show up in a stat sheet review. I don’t care about individual sack numbers - I care about team sack numbers and consistent pressure, and we had that for the most part all of last year with Floyd’s play being a significant factor in that. Yes it would be better if we had two top pass rushers and yes losing an all pro like Mack to injury would make us undoubtedly worse but you can say that about every team in the league at every key position. Floyd is a quality, above average player but not an elite one, and that’s okay especially given the talent around him. More than that would be great, but also gravy. 

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10 hours ago, dll2000 said:

@CBears019 and I said basically this during Floyds draft day.  He was a disappointing pick. 

Thank God for Mack.  Floyd as your primary pass rusher is a flat bust.  He is a LB who is good at blitzing, not a straight pass rusher.  Fangio never really figured that out. 

If you have liberty to use him in versatile ways he is very good football player. 

Roquan is an amazing blitz pass rusher.  Could have near double digit sacks if sent enough, but if you made him a straight pass rusher he might get one a season. 

 

I'm with you on all of this.  On draft day I was into most anyone but Floyd and then to top it off we trade up to get him. :S

SEC "Tweeners" do not ordinarily become great NFL edge rushers and Floyd was the perfect example of an SEC "Tweener".  He weighed anywhere from 225-232lbs at Georgia and the 244lbs he weighed in at during the combine must have come from lead insoles in his shoes or he hadn't taken a dump in a week.  I don't believe he ever cleared 240lbs as a rookie and it showed.

He looks much more solid now so I'm willing to buy his weight at 250lbs or slightly more.  He has filled out and plays much stronger.

As for how to use him I'm hoping Pagano sees what you have and I do as well.  Smith as a blitzing ILB is like a heat seeking missile nearly impossible to block or for a QB to avoid.  He's far to quick.  Now, combine the unpredictability of him coming on a blitz with that same unpredictability coming from Floyd and it could mess up a lot of pass blocking schemes.

RRH becomes another option either as a DE or as an OLB from a two point stance and Nichols has shown he can move into a DT spot and rush and pressure from there.  So there are quite a few options that aren't dependent on Floyd's ascension as an edge rusher alone but it all becomes more dangerous and more effective if he can up his game as a rusher as well.

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11 minutes ago, soulman said:

I'm with you on all of this.  On draft day I was into most anyone but Floyd and then to top it off we trade up to get him. :S

SEC "Tweeners" do not ordinarily become great NFL edge rushers and Floyd was the perfect example of an SEC "Tweener".  He weighed anywhere from 225-232lbs at Georgia and the 244lbs he weighed in at during the combine must have come from lead insoles in his shoes or he hadn't taken a dump in a week.  I don't believe he ever cleared 240lbs as a rookie and it showed.

He looks much more solid now so I'm willing to buy his weight at 250lbs or slightly more.  He has filled out and plays much stronger.

As for how to use him I'm hoping Pagano sees what you have and I do as well.  Smith as a blitzing ILB is like a heat seeking missile nearly impossible to block or for a QB to avoid.  He's far to quick.  Now, combine the unpredictability of him coming on a blitz with that same unpredictability coming from Floyd and it could mess up a lot of pass blocking schemes.

RRH becomes another option either as a DE or as an OLB from a two point stance and Nichols has shown he can move into a DT spot and rush and pressure from there.  So there are quite a few options that aren't dependent on Floyd's ascension as an edge rusher alone but it all becomes more dangerous and more effective if he can up his game as a rusher as well.

That's what I have been saying.  if you did moving combos of Floyd and Roquan O line could not block them. They arent quick enough.  But once O line gets hands on them and even slightly square they lose.  Its a chess match.  They cant know for sure its coming.  Why Fangio didnt do this hardly at all is a mystery to me.  It seems obvious play to both their strengths like @Sugashanepoints out.

Mack conversely can go around you or through you.  Your only hope is he is hurting or tired or QB gets rid of it in 2 secs. Speaking of hurt, Mack getting seriously hurt would be an absolute disaster for Bears.  But that's football, you take those chances when signing great players to big contracts.  I don't even want think about that. 

That brings me to next point.  Not the injury thing, the ball out quick thing.  Actually I will put is in new  thread in a handful of hours after I finish some work stuff as its a long thought. 

Remind me to do that. 

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I see like 3 takes a week that Bears losing Fangio is going to really hurt the defense.

I suspect that people are playing odds in an attempt to look smart rather than doing any type of real thinking on issue. 

Reminds me of Tiger's first Masters when there was full page newspaper spreads of why he wasn't ready to win it all yet.  Lack of experience with course blah, blah, blah. They were just throwing out cliches.  

They were really playing odds that he wouldn't win and trying to look smart.  Its much easier to predict failure than pick a winner of a big field you see.   Got really burned when he won it that year by like 17 strokes. 

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I do really hope one of our young pass rushers or Floyd steps up so Mack can be rested more and less plays means less chance of injury.

I dont have much faith in Lynch.

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7 minutes ago, dll2000 said:

That's what I have been saying.  if you did moving combos of Floyd and Roquan O line could not block them. They arent quick enough.  But once O line gets hands on them and even slightly square they lose.  Its a chess match.  They cant know for sure its coming.  Why Fangio didnt do this hardly at all is a mystery to me.  It seems obvious play to both their strengths like @Sugashanepoints out.

Mack conversely can go around you or through you.  Your only hope is he is hurting or tired or QB gets rid of it in 2 secs. Speaking of hurt, Mack getting seriously hurt would be an absolute disaster for Bears.  But that's football, you take those chances when signing great players to big contracts.  I don't even want think about that. 

That brings me to next point.  Not the injury thing, the ball out quick thing.  Actually I will put is in new  thread in a handful of hours after I finish some work stuff as its a long thought. 

Remind me to do that. 

Monachino seems devoted to upping Floyd's game as a rusher possibly coaching him on how not to allow the OL to get squared up on him and get his hands on him to control him.  Even at 250lbs he lacks Macks power and I don't believe that's anything that can be coached.

Some guys like Mack, Hicks, and Goldman are just naturally strong and Nichols has also shown some good strength for a guy goes 300lbs or less.  But Floyd is not one of those types so he needs to have different tools to use and the element of surprise is one of them.  He's gonna be more effective on delayed rushes and stunts than he is a straight rush so I can see him being used more behind a DL who can also penetrate or who needs to be doubled.

Once he can use his speed to come free either knifing inside or coming around the edge he can get home fast but once he's been tied up he's a goner.  Because he can cover in short zones or even in man coverage using him as a decoy rusher in combination with a blitzing slot CB could also be effective.  Not knowing how he'll be used on any given passing down may be his best weapon and ours.

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6 minutes ago, soulman said:

Once he can use his speed to come free either knifing inside or coming around the edge he can get home fast but once he's been tied up he's a goner. 

To be fair, this is the case for almost all edge rushers. Guys like Mack are by far the exception. 

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9 minutes ago, dll2000 said:

I see like 3 takes a week that Bears losing Fangio is going to really hurt the defense.

I suspect that people are playing odds in an attempt to look smart rather than doing any type of real thinking on issue. 

Reminds me of Tiger's first Masters when there was full page newspaper spreads of why he wasn't ready to win it all yet.  Lack of experience with course blah, blah, blah. They were just throwing out cliches.  

They were really playing odds that he wouldn't win and trying to look smart.  Its much easier to predict failure than pick a winner of a big field you see.   Got really burned when he won it that year by like 17 strokes. 

I call that whistling past the grave yard.

I give Vic Fangio and his staff a lot of credit but much like in SF he finally had a stacked defense to work with full of guys who fit his schemes.

We didn't lose much player wise so there's no reason to think we'll be any worse off from that perspective so all that's left is to cast doubt on Pagano and his staff yet when he was DC of a similarly stacked defense in Baltimore they were even more aggressive, kicked ***, and took names.  We also kept Jay Rodgers and Pagano brought a good staff with him.

I expect to see some changes defensively but for the most part I think Pagano will do more adapting to what is and has been than to ask this defense to become something other than what it's been.  It works.  And as I recall the media had the same story when Buddy Ryan left to coach Philly yet Vince Tobin came in and for two years the defense was even stingier.

Losing Vic was hard but I don't believe Pace and Nagy could have done any better than to have hired Chuck Pagano to replace him.

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2 hours ago, AZBearsFan said:

To be fair, this is the case for almost all edge rushers. Guys like Mack are by far the exception. 

An exception for sure but he's not alone.  There are others who can man handle OTs pretty well too but few who go 250lbs.  That's rare.

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4 hours ago, soulman said:

 

Losing Vic was hard but I don't believe Pace and Nagy could have done any better than to have hired Chuck Pagano to replace him.

I would have really been interested in Bowles, seriously creative mind and he would have had some unique ways to use the speed this defense has.But very happy with Pagano.

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4 hours ago, soulman said:

Monachino seems devoted to upping Floyd's game as a rusher possibly coaching him on how not to allow the OL to get squared up on him and get his hands on him to control him.  Even at 250lbs he lacks Macks power and I don't believe that's anything that can be coached.

Some guys like Mack, Hicks, and Goldman are just naturally strong and Nichols has also shown some good strength for a guy goes 300lbs or less.  But Floyd is not one of those types so he needs to have different tools to use and the element of surprise is one of them.  He's gonna be more effective on delayed rushes and stunts than he is a straight rush so I can see him being used more behind a DL who can also penetrate or who needs to be doubled.

Once he can use his speed to come free either knifing inside or coming around the edge he can get home fast but once he's been tied up he's a goner.  Because he can cover in short zones or even in man coverage using him as a decoy rusher in combination with a blitzing slot CB could also be effective.  Not knowing how he'll be used on any given passing down may be his best weapon and ours.

Hicks, Goldman and Nichols are monsters. 

Nichols 6'4 and 305.  He is the 'skinny' starting DL.  

Look how he towers over Anthony Adams who is 6'. You can see it better when they are standing up straight. Look at his shoulders.  He can put on more upper body Mack type chest muscle at just 21.   

Screen-Shot-2019-07-10-at-12-16-14-PM

Goldman and Adams.

Goldman is 6'4 and like 340.  If you watch the video and look at his hands they are like 2 slabs of ham with finger sausages.   

Hicks is 6'5 and like 330.   

All 3 can move.  It's a scary trio of DL to deal with when they are on field together.   If you didn't have to sub them out for rest it would be a constant nightmare coming at you.   They are so big though they need to be spelled to be effective.    

With Roquan and Trevathan behind cleaning up it is very hard to run on Bears when those 3 on the field.  

Mack is just freakishly strong and built like a bull. Thing about Mack is he plays the run very well, he doesn't just rush wild.  

Floyd is long and fast, but lacks power.  He actually plays run very well though and sets an excellent edge. 

Now you can see why I think this is best Bears D since '85.  Not sure why people outside Chicago aren't seeing it.   I think they are underestimating what Nichols and Roquan are going to be like as football players this year, especially Roquan who I predict will become a star this year, and over estimating effect of loss of Fangio, Amos, Callahan.

 

 

 

 

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