LB Shaquille Leonard Frustrated With Role

LB Shaquille Leonard Frustrated With Role November 10th, 2023 at 9: 59pm CST • By Ely Allen Last year saw the most limited season of Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard’s career.

As he continues to work his way back from the injury that derailed his 2022 season, his defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has publicly disclosed that Leonard is still on a timeline that will determine how soon he is able to return to a full-time role, with the current goal being sometime this month, according to Mike A three-time first-team All-Pro, Leonard was suffering a persistent back injury that limited him to only three games last year.

Back surgery aimed at addressing the issue occurred before the 2022 season, forcing him to miss the first three games of the year.

When he finally made his season debut, he only saw 16 snaps before exiting with a concussion.

He would eventually play limited snaps in two more games before being placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the year after undergoing a second back surgery.

Since his return, Leonard has returned to the starting lineup, playing in eight of the team’s nine games so far this year.

Even though he looked a bit like his old self, flying around the field to be among the team’s top four tacklers, the staff was still a bit disappointed by his lack of flashy plays.

Usually a breakout turnover machine, Leonard did not force a fumble, did not break up or intercept a single pass and threw no hits on the opposing quarterback, while accumulating just two tackles ball to lose.

As a starter, Leonard still had a limited number of tackles, while Colt teammate Zaire Franklin, the NFL’s leading tackler, saw virtually every defensive tackle in season for Indianapolis.

According to Nate Atkins of the Indianapolis Star, he recently expressed his displeasure with the situation, saying he wants to be on the field 100 percent of the time.

“My patience was kind of thrown out the window,” Leonard told the media.

“I want to be on the field.

If I wanted to buy a ticket I could sit in the stands or something.

Bradley told the media he understood Leonard’s frustration and wanted him to continue that desire, but it was clear the plan would remain the same, according to Joel A.

Erickson of the Indianapolis Star.

Even last week, when Franklin was forced to miss the Colts’ game at Carolina, instead of giving Leonard more playing time, the staff turned to undrafted second-year reserve Segun Olubi.

Olubi saw 100% of the team’s snaps in his first start last weekend; Leonard only saw 55 percent of it.

ESPN’s Stephen Holder offers another perspective on Leonard’s struggle to return to the court full-time, suggesting that the defensive scheme might have something to do with it.

Bradley just joined the Colts coaching staff last year, a season in which Leonard barely saw the field.

Leonard was previously the centerpiece of former defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ system, allowing him to move around and make plays with his instincts.

Bradley’s new system tends to shift plays to the middle, giving Franklin more opportunities to make plays than Leonard had at his weakside position.

It requires much more structure from Leonard, especially by asking him to take on more blocks, a difficult role for one of the league’s smaller linebackers to strive in.

While it has not been suggested anywhere, there’s reason to believe these scheme issues could lead to Leonard’s eventual exit from Indianapolis.

Leonard holds a $19.

79MM cap hit this year, and it’s set to only get bigger over the next two seasons.

If Leonard isn’t able to return to his regular All-Pro level of play in

 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*