LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd thinks he made significant strides in the offseason -- both physically and mentally -- after having what most consider a successful rookie campaign with seven sacks in 12 games.
“I’m just more used to things,” Floyd said on Wednesday. “Everything was new to me last year. I’m just way more comfortable with the play calls and getting my assignment out to everyone else on the field. I’m just way more comfortable.
“It’s like night and day compared to last year.”
But veteran defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is a tough critic. When asked to grade Floyd’s rookie season with the Chicago Bears, Fangio gave the ninth overall pick of the 2016 NFL draft an “incomplete.”
Floyd said he took no offense to Fangio’s comments, and admitted that he left too many plays on the field.
“It definitely inspires me to go out and play every game,” Floyd said. “I think I’m way faster [than what I showed on film last year]. Like sometimes at the snap I’m stuttering and false-stepping. I just have to clean up getting off on the snap. There were definitely a lot of plays I left out there. And I’m going to do a better job this year of making those plays.”
Coach John Fox added: “I'm sure if you talk to Jordan Howard or guys like Leonard, or really any player on our defense that was here a year ago, it slows down. They understand it, they're not thinking, they're reacting, and so I'd expect that and I've seen that already even in the offseason.”
One of Floyd’s major points of emphasis is avoiding concussions. Floyd suffered a pair of concussions in 2016; the first one occurring on the road against the Giants that led to Floyd being carted off the field and sent to a local hospital for observation. Floyd said the symptoms related to his second concussion -- sustained in Week 16 against the Redskins -- didn’t completely dissipate until February.
In an attempt to improve his technique, Fangio had Floyd use blocking sleds to work on his head placement.
“The crown of my helmet was too low,” Floyd said. “I definitely have to be aware because I don’t want to get another concussion,” Floyd said. “I got to make sure I play every game.”
In a more lighthearted moment, the slender Floyd smiled when questioned about his playing weight -- a hot topic in Chicago last year.
“I thought that would be the first question y’all was gonna ask,” Floyd said. “But I’ve been doing a good job this year compared to my weight last year. I don’t want to let everyone know [my exact weight right now], but I did gain some weight.”