87 Comments

Cre’Von LeBlanc And the Problem With Rooting for a bad team

| June 7th, 2017


The Bears have been a bad team for most of my life. I have fallen victim to the same spell Cre’Von LeBlanc currently has cast upon so many Bears fans. The “he’s good” spell.

Remember Jeff’s “Joe Anderson Boner”? In that instance, fans exaggerated the okay camp performance of a complete mediocrity. Fans often convince themselves a bad player is good simply because he isn’t literally shitting his pants on the field.

LeBlanc was bad last year. Was he as bad as Bausby or Glenn? No. He wasn’t even as bad as Tracy Porter was during his mailed-in last few games. But, make no mistake, he was still bad!

In recent weeks, a number of fans have taken to Pro Football Focus to convince themselves this wasn’t true. PFF uses opponent passer rating and other metrics to try and tell us that what we saw with our eyes was not reality. LeBlanc was actually good.

The problem with those numbers is there are plays in which LeBlanc was beaten badly, but didn’t get assigned blame because the receiver didn’t finish the play.

Plays like this:

Or this:

When you consider the sample size (LeBlanc played about 65% of the team’s snaps last year), these two shoulda-been-touchdowns alone could really turn his passer rating stat upside down. And that’s just from one game. There are plenty more examples.

It didn’t really matter if he was in the slot or outside. He was largely responsible for the best game of Randall Cobb’s season and for one of Jordy Nelson’s best later. Cobb and Nelson are good players, but LeBlanc was sent to the bench against Minnesota because he was torched by Cordarrelle Patterson.

What LeBlanc does get credit for with those numbers, however, is a couple of passes that were thrown pretty much right to him; he happened to intercept them. Don’t get me wrong, he deserves some credit for those interceptions. He had the awareness to know the ball was coming and attack it. We’ve seen a lot of cornerbacks who had no idea when the ball was coming right to them over the years.

The problem is that you can’t use statistics, even when they’re paired down this far to truly evaluate performance. You have to actually watch the games. The Bears had the worst secondary in the NFL and LeBlanc was one of their biggest problems.

While PFF can say what they want and fans can believe what they want, I have reason to believe the Bears coaches are with me on this. When the season was winding down and the Bears had so many injuries they were forced to turn to street free agents at cornerback, LeBlanc wasn’t on the field. In Week 17, LeBlanc got the start because Porter was suspended for the first series. When Porter returned, LeBlanc was on the bench behind Johnathan Banks (not to be confused with Mike Ehrmantraut) and Demontre Hurst, a player they cut three times a year.

The Patriots, a team known for finding good defensive backs, had LeBlanc and let him go. What does that tell you?

In a way, I don’t blame fans. I’ve fallen victim to the same spell so many times, I can’t even name them all. Remember Robert Chancey? How about Mike Wells? Or D’Wayne Bates? Hell, Jim Miller probably counts as one. As fans, we want to believe they’ve uncovered a secret gem because, dammit, we need something positive to believe in.

Maybe LeBlanc can put in the work and become a good player. We should never say a young player can’t become good. But he wasn’t good last year and we shouldn’t bet on that changing.

Tagged: ,

  • fishing florida

    Worst written article I have ever read. Those receivers were only wide open because LeBlanc knows just the sheer intimidation factor he brings to the field would cause them to drop the ball. LeBlanc is one of the best CBs in the league. You are such a HACK!!!

  • willbest

    I am starting to think that dablog is some sort of confluence between two realities. Jeff’s comments about sending Glennon to siberia yesterday and now this. “He wasn’t even as bad as Tracy Porter was during his mailed-in last few games.” Good lord man. He was playing on 1 leg when he should have been on IR but gritted out because all those young bucks were in the hot tub with bruised labias.

    When I saw the rookie Amos, I thought he might be something. He never took that sophomore step. No harm, no foul. When I watched LeBlanc, I thought I hope to hell he isn’t on the team next year. Tracy Porter is at least an NFL DB in mind and spirit. His body just won’t let him do it anymore.

    • fishing florida

      WRONG!

    • SC Dave

      Yeah, unfortunate about Amos. Callahan showed some ability to make plays, but seemed to fade a bit too.

    • Irish Sweetness

      Leblanc goes to the back of the queue anyway with our new signings. Hall looks to have only Eddie Jackson to fend off for a start.

  • BerwynBomber

    Wow. Where to begin? In the first GB game last year LeBlanc denied two TDs via PD’s. No small thing — and that game was competitive much longer than it had any right to be. He also later had a pick six against Stafford and DET when he made a nice jump on the route and ripped it away from the DET WR (might have been Tate). Which was unlike Jacoby Glenn’s and D. Hall’s Stafford INTs earlier in the year when they just happened to be within five yards of very errant passes.

    No one is claiming LeBanc will be a Pro Bowl player or that he should even start. But he showed enough last year to warrant a second look. And my guess is Fangio and Fox will come to the same conclusion short of LeBlanc having a horrible camp/pre-season.

    And the Porter dis for dogging it? Good lord, man. He was playing on one leg the second half of the year. If that had been Cutler out there, you and Jeff would have been proposing a courage award.

    I swear Andrew watches half of our games in an alternative universe.

    • CanadaBear

      100%. I’m not counting on LeBlanc for anything but he at least had a few moments last year. Really didn’t get the shot on Porter. He’s out there on one leg getting his ass handed to him trying like hell. Versus a #1 draft pick that can’t get on the field because of a clean up surgery that usually keeps people off the field for 4 weeks, not all season.

      • willbest

        Maybe Irish hacked the article.

        • Irish Sweetness

          I didn’t mean to hate on Porter. But he shouldn’t have been on the field. Total liability. Give me a guy with 90% of what he had but 100% of the legs.

    • leftcoastdave

      When Crev jumped that out route for his pick six, it was D. Hall who was covering the outside receiver like a glove behind him. The two rooks combined for great coverage to make that happen. All is not doom and gloom. Sure, the D backfield lacked leadership and healthy experienced players. Now all those rooks will be back with experience and the best will be in the mix.

    • BearDown100393

      He is the worst LeBlanc since Joey was canceled.

    • BearDown100393

      Porter’s leg apparently was “severe”.

    • Irish Sweetness

      He’s a kid, he might work out.

  • King of DBB
    • CanadaBear

      It’s Rosendouche. Who cares?

      • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

        GP cares. He believes everything from all sports writers.

        • CanadaBear

          You two are just going to have to kiss and make up!

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            I don’t see that happening anytime soon. But I will give him props on his handjob post yesterday directed at me, it was funny as hell.

          • CanadaBear

            It was a classic. Fucking GP is certainly funny as hell. We all have our moments around here, esp in the off season, when things go off the rails. Most of it due to people getting worked up over politics. Just not worth it. Rather spew all that venom at Fudgie, BiQueens and Loins fans.

          • Irish Sweetness

            Fuck the Packers, by the way…. and any Packer fans who are lurking. Including their mothers.

          • SC Dave

            Yeah, that was awesome.

        • King of DBB

          They live in Chicago. You don’t.

      • Irish Sweetness

        He bitches without a solution, which is just bitching. He never postulates a plan or idea, so he can never be ‘wrong’.

        • CanadaBear

          It’s just whining.

    • Scharfinator

      Such a hot take article.

      • BearDown100393

        Tomorrow will be a bash piece on Pickles.

    • Sactowns#1

      Gomer Pyle…. looks so dumb he can make your entire organization look dumber just through transitive properties.

    • Rosendouche wakes up with a buttplug every morning.

      That being said, he does have a point about Trub running with the 3rd stringers.

      Absolute idiocy.

      At the VERY LEAST, Trub should be splitting reps with the 2nd, and yes, some 1st.

      Only two defenses I can think of, and both sound so Bears.

      One dump Foxy believes in rooks “earning their stripes”. Yes, we all saw this with Langford and Howard last year. Fox’s “old school” approach of vets automatically ahead of those pesky rebellious yuts with their crazy hair dos is well known.

      2nd possible defense, Loggains and gang want Trub to initially just focus on fundamentals. Circus linked an article yesterday to them drilling Trub about footwork, and Trub himself said he’s re-wiring old habits while wiring new ones, like say oooohhh, taking snaps from under center and recognizing Ds.

      So much like the Karate Kid, they’re making Trub wax a bunch of old cars for now, and when the time is right, those waxing skills will win a tournament against those valley toughs.

      • SC Dave

        If the second defense is true, he can work on footwork just as easily with the 3s and 4s as with the 1s and 2s.

        Let the guys higher on the depth chart actually practice rather than babysit the rookie trying not to trip over his feet.

        • I brought this up b4, but I remember reading somewhere that some music masters refuse to take in perspective students, even young ones, because their technique has already been so fucked they conclude no amount of practice can re-wire it.

          The same can be said about young QBs. There’s a reason QBs sat on the bench a few years, and I’m willing to bet it was about creating solid fundamentals/muscle memory

          (And this was when college QBs actually ran NFL style Os).

          No amount of training could make Cutler stop doing that backpeddling shit, or carry the football like a loaf of bread. He did that shit day one he started. Did the same shit a decade later.

          David Carr kept seeing ghosts even when none were there.

          So if Loggains and crew want to Trubs to wax-off, wax-on, this early in camp, I guess it’s ok.

          HOWEVER, I still think he should get some reps with the JV when Sanchize comes back.

          Only way to acclimate to speed and nuisances.

          • SC Dave

            I agree they need to work him in, but Glennon is the guy this year, and he is new along with most of the receivers that will be playing. Since with Trubisky we evidently have no “need” to fold for Darnold, I’d like to see us win *at least* nine games.

            We’ve got some young studs (Whitehair, Floyd, Howard) and some new guys that are hopeful parts of a bright future (Trubisky, Shaheen, Cohen, Jackson).

            They MUST get used to WINNING. Often. As often as possible. Enough so that every game, they EXPECT to win.

          • That’s always been my biggest gripe about this team since the Nessman meltdown.

            Seems like this team’s pysche has never fully recovered from that. That was the year that the Bears began descending to Browns territory, and the team (and fans) are still mired in the muck.

            Many expected Fox to re-instill that winning attitude, but he’s done anything but.

            The teams have perpetually come out like zombies under his lead. Then after half-time, there seems to be no adjustments and that’s when teams really unload, which leads us to where we are now.

            “Maybe this is the year they turn it around” – seems like the same refrain for the past 5 years.

            At least a new QB is in now, with a franchise off the bench.

            We’ll see if that’s enough to overcome Fisher, I mean, Fox.

            It’ll be trial by fire first few games though.

          • SC Dave

            Maybe the crucible is the best cure. Finish the first half with 4 or more wins, and the season would be looking promising.

          • CanadaBear

            1-7 at the halfway mark might get Foxy removed and Loggains promoted/Trubisky Time!

          • BearDown100393

            Jay Cutler is the GOAT of quarterbacks.

            – Christine Cavallari Cutler.

        • Irish Sweetness

          Yeah, can’t he work on footwork with a guy to snap the ball, a receiver, and a coach?

      • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

        It’s OTAs which is glorified walk throughs. My guess is, like you said, Trubs is mainly working on the fundamentals and footwork. Get that shit solid first.

  • Max

    Whoa there, Jimmy Miller was a badass….. don’t even go there

  • AlbertInTucson

    “…rooting for a bad team.”

    or

    Grasping at Straws.

    • CanadaBear

      All I can add is cautiously rooting for a bad team. I’m always pulling for the Beloved but over the last 40 years my youthful enthusiasm has been tempered to say the least.

      • Irish Sweetness

        I almost embrace our badness. It’s a badge.

  • Take the positives with LeBlanc. He was an undrafted rookie we signed from the Patriots, who know talent when they see it. He could end up being good with more experience.

    • Yeah, I really don’t get too worked up about undrafted dudes.
      Even guys like Webb. I mean, they’re 7th/UFDAs for a reason.

      1st rd busts on the other hand…

    • Johnnywad

      If he was talented he’d still be a Patriot.

      • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

        not necessarily. UDFAs need to be show a lot to make teams as talented as the Pats.

      • We’re the Dr. Mantis Toboggan of the NFL.

        Get left overs of left overs.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hODi8m82_aQ

      • BerwynBomber

        But keep in mind the Pats had one of the best secondaries in the league last year. Hence, not making their squad isn’t quite the shameful cut it could be with other teams.

    • BerwynBomber

      Is that your band?

  • BearDown100393

    LeBlanc is still a Bear? Why?

    We already know he sucks. The story is why is he still on the roster?

    • SC Dave

      There are 37 players on the roster right now that will not make the team.

  • Lol think Andy read Ender and his hopes about LeBlanc winning a starting job and decided to take a big Indian cous-cous dump all over it!

    And I STILL believe Joe Anderson would’ve been good! It’s not as if the Bears (or other teams) are infallible. I bet more than a few underdogs have slipped through the cracks. [How many years was Moon in Canada?]

    I still like Callahan at nickle, but dude’s always hurt.

    And Porter wasn’t mailing it. He was INJ.

    He prolly shouldn’t have been out there at all for half the season, yet alone tasked with covering guys like Hopkins, Evans and Ty Hilton. But unlike Fuller, he played through it. Would’ve been curious to see him at FS, but if he’s always inj, then I can see letting him go and going young.

    I predict the new PS hero will be our new FB, Burton – Pork Chop express baby!

    • SC Dave

      Moon played six years in the CFL, leading his team to the Grey Cup championship in the first five of them.

      • Moon’s first yr in Canada 1978. Oilers had the #1 overall pick and drafted Earl Campbell

        How awesome would that team have been with Earl Campbell and Moon?

        1st (and surprisingly ONLY QB drafted in that 1st rd) Doug Williams.

        (drafted by Bengals, not Skins).

        Doug was no Moon.

        Interesting how things work out. Doug Williams became the 1s af am to start and win a SB much later.

        • SC Dave

          Didn’t WIlliams have like 5 first half TD passes in that SB?

          • BerwynBomber

            Not sure. I thought that was the Tim Smith game … or was that the SB they won Rypien?

            Pretty sure their Williams year was the same year they upset us at Soldier in the post-season. D. Green’s PR being the key play of the game.

            Also recall Williams was rather horrendous that post-season until the SB. Dilfer was kinda the same way with BAL.

          • Irish Sweetness

            The Hogs game, in fairness. Timmy Smith was a nobody. I could have had a hundred yards in that game. I think he had 215.

          • Doug had four TDs in a quarter!
            including an 80 yd pass which was the longest SB pass up to that time.

            Other little facts from quick research

            Doug Williams first black QB drafted in 1st RD
            First black QB to start and win SB (duh)
            Another wouldn’t win till Russell Wilson
            Apparently, Doug Williams had an emergency root canal day b4 SB. Yikes!
            Doug Williams in spite of being a 1st rd QB was paid the least of any starting QB.
            (obviously b4 rook pay scale)
            To make things worse, TWELVE other back-up QBs where paid more!

          • “Modestly” Huge Bears Penis

            Russell Wilson is black? I thought he just had a good tan.

        • SC Dave

          Probably better than Campbell with Pastorini and an over-the-hill Stabler.

    • Irish Sweetness

      I don’t get it. When Bmarsh or Cutty played injured (particularly Cutty’s last few games) .. .there was no love. Porter hangs his team out to dry every time a receiver goes long on him … and crickets.

    • EnderWiggin

      Well, Andrew isn’t going to change my mind. I seen 22 as a guy who hustled his ass off, was lightning fast, and was always close to the ball.
      Unfortunately, he also looked like a chicken with his head cut off. He had no business starting last year!
      With an NFL off season under his belt, he should be just fine at nickle.
      I think the biggest thing against him for that slot – the coaches and Pace really like Callahan.

    • SC Dave

      As a means of injecting some cultural education, that would be a North African cous cous dump.

  • willbest

    Jeff found the Rosenbloom article. His twitter rant did not disappoint.

    “He has practiced six times!” – Jeff

    Yes that is a proper defense of Truibisky. It is also why he shouldn’t start the season. Kid can throw an amazingly accurate football on a breeze-less day with no pressure and know shoulder pads hampering his range of motion. I will give him that.

    • Times like these I would love to have seen Jeff’s tweets in an alternate reality.

      Like, what if Pace drafted Watson, Mahomes, or even Kizer – would Jeff still wanna see him start over Glennon?

      • Irish Sweetness

        Did anyone here want Watson over Mitch?

        I think my dreams were in this order :

        1. Fournette
        2. Watson
        3. Adams

        With two safeties drafted in the first three or four rounds either way.

        • SC Dave

          Five of the first six picks in 2016 were on defense. This season, it was the offense’s turn.

  • BuddhaJoe

    My hope with LeBlanc and some of the other guys is that they were young and got thrown into the fire instead of being eased in, because the Bears didn’t really have a choice. Not many first year guys at CB or S come in and look good. So hopefully at least a couple of them can take the step in year two or three. Probably not Bausby though, fuck that guy.

    • BearDown100393

      LeBlanc sucks.

    • Irish Sweetness

      This.

      Playing NFL safety as a rook must be pant-soiling.

  • AlbertInTucson

    ODB staying away from Giants OTAs.

    The NFL players are missing an opportunity.

    They should ALL get together and say

    “Screw these ‘Voluntary’ workouts.They’re just another chance to get injured. We ain’t playin’ that game anymore.”

    I’m sure Dennis Pitta would concur.

    • BearDown100393

      Absolutely

  • Irish Sweetness

    Dear Jeff – which is it, man?

    DaBearsBlog

    @dabearsblog

    Apologize. But no, Trubisky is never gonna be Cutler or Rodgers. He’s way more Luck. He’s just a football guy and it’ll be all platitudes.

    DaBearsBlog

    @dabearsblog

    He has practiced six times! The kid doesn’t even have a contract yet! Why are you people allowing this nonsense to be taken seriously?

    • BerwynBomber

      I believe Jeff was referring to cerebral pressers. Rodgers and Cutler are known to give interesting, intelligent pressers. (Guys like Brees and Peyton do/did too.) OTOH, guys like Luck and Brady often give off the dumb jock vibe — hence the platitude talk. All Jeff was saying is that Trisky seems wired like the latter.

  • BearDown100393

    Hypothesis: Twitter makes people stupid.
    Alternative-Hypothesis: Twitter reveals stupid people.

    • AlbertInTucson

      Both?

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