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All-22 analysis: Bills LB/EDGE Leonard Floyd

A closer look at one facet of Floyd’s 2022 NFL season — the year without Von Miller

Los Angeles Rams v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills made a splash signing like many fans were expecting. Yes, former Los Angeles Ram edge defender Leonard Floyd. As you’d expect, we’re taking a look at the newest Bill to see what he’ll bring to the table. I elected to preview all nine of his sacks from last year as it’s the hope he can replicate those numbers. The idea of this route is simple. For each sack, we can examine how much was individual effort, how much was due to teamwork, and how much was just plain luck (see Play 9). Let’s do it!

Play 1 — Nice hands

I’ll warn everyone ahead of time. We’re about to see some patterns, starting... now. For starters, you’ll notice that Leonard Floyd is aligned wide. Get used to it. The best part of this rush in my opinion is at the pause. Floyd gets his hands up quickly to catch those of his opponent. That makes it very difficult for the right tackle to latch on, and you can see the result.

Play 2 — A little help from a friend

Floyd is out wide once again. Jimmy Garoppolo is flushed into Floyd by Aaron Donald. Leonard Floyd comes untouched and isn’t quite as quick to the pressure as Donald. The wide 9 is great to allow acceleration and space to find a lane but, as we see here, the extra distance covered can be significant.

Play 3 — Slap and spin

The extra distance in this case allows Leonard Floyd to react to what his opponent (Kelvin Beachum) is doing. Floyd gets his right arm up and slaps that of Beachum to prevent the tackle from latching on (like Play 1). The spin move doesn’t really help a ton, but does keep Beachum’s hands confused. Floyd is able to accelerate to our left and make the play.

Play 4 — Misdirection

These are some pretty sweet body mechanics at play. Spoiler alert, this was not a trend, but shows a bit of potential that I loved seeing. On the first pause, Floyd’s head and shoulder alignment show that he’s pushing Landon Young’s left shoulder (aka “outside”) and rotating his opponent that way. Floyd then quickly shifts to his left (our right, aka “inside”) to make the play.

Play 5 — Some extra running

This isn’t too complicated to break down. The New Orleans Saints decided not to block Leonard Floyd. They nearly got away with it too, if it weren’t for that those pesky defensive backs and that nosy line. Floyd overshoots the target, but thanks to good coverage he has enough time to run it down.

Play 6 — Different handiwork

Floyd takes a more direct path to the quarterback this time, which leads to the opposition being able to get a hand on his shoulder. Floyd punches up at the elbow, dislodging the obstruction. You can see the panicked flailing that follows as Floyd finishes in Aaron Rodgers’ lap.

Play 7 — More handiwork

Have you started to see the trend aside from wide 9 yet? Leonard Floyd has excellent hands.

Play 8 — Swim to the finish line

Floyd’s sacks didn’t highlight the oft-seen rips and swim moves a ton, but they do exist. There’s a compact rip up in Play 1, and here we have a compact swim. The swim is the finisher, after a punch to his man’s shoulder. Both those moves end the stalemate as the initial contact didn’t go Floyd’s way.

Play 9 — I told you above

Floyd obviously plays the game on more than just pass-rush snaps. Geno Smith gives himself up and Floyd is credited for a sack. Technically.

In summary

As noted, the idea was to see how much of Leonard Floyd’s sack output was his own doing and that of other factors. There are certainly some instances where it’s safe to say that another player would have gotten the sack too. Sticking with cynicism, Floyd didn’t exhibit incredible power or athleticism along the way either. Also, one has to assume Floyd was able to fly under the radar to some degree with Aaron Donald drawing extra attention. Okay then [/cynic mode].

Leonard Floyd is incredible with hand fighting. In just nine plays above, there’s a great deal on display. Floyd is quick, reacts instinctively, and decisively. The ability to stay clean of his opponent allows Floyd to routinely maneuver around them. If you’d like an added bonus, Floyd isn’t a rotational piece. The Rams had him on the field for 70% or more of snaps in every game. He broke 90% five times.

The Buffalo Bills have a talented player who very clearly can thrive under the right circumstances. Now to just set him up with said circumstances to allow the thriving and whatnot.