The LA Rams have had every reason to roll over and play dead. But don’t tell that to veteran outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. You see, his days of showing up to play football on game day but disappearing from the post-game statistics summary are long gone. He is no longer a shade of himself. Rather, he is ripping and tearing his way to get to opposing quarterbacks once more.
And I’m here for all of it.
In the movie The American President, there is a scene where Michael Douglas (President) is in a rather heated discussion with Martin Sheen (White House Chief of Staff), to which Sheen’s character responds:
"“Oh, you only fight the fights you can win? You fight the fights that need fighting!“- A. J. MacInerney to President Andrew Shepherd per The American President"
There is a lot of wisdom in that statement. You don’t play the games that you can win. You play each and every game with all that you have because you fight those battles that need to be fought. Now that is not to suggest that you should riot in the streets against every sleight or cause that you believe in. But it does offer a better option of conventional wisdom to counter the urge to tank, to lay down and surrender, to give up without a fight.
Plenty of fight left in Leonard Floyd
The LA Rams are not playing for their draft position. This is not a team that has a chance to compete in the postseason, having been eliminated from the possibility weeks ago. But this is a team bursting with young talented players, and they are looking to veterans on this team for leadership.
And Leonard Floyd is giving it to them:
The simple truth is that until the Rams had their BYE week, Floyd was simply unable to get to the quarterback. In six games, he was rather ineffective, recording 20 tackles, four quarterback hits, one tackle for a loss, and no quarterback sacks in 284 defensive snaps. Of course, he had corrective surgery in June 2022 to fix an ankle injury that plagued him throughout the 2021 NFL season, and by the second week of the new season, he was fighting through a knee injury.
Let’s hear it for the guy who still plays through pain
The BYE week arrived, and since that time, Floyd has been a beast. In the next nine games, he played 530 defensive snaps, he recorded 32 tackles, 8.0 quarterback sacks, 14 quarterback hits, and eight tackles for a loss.
It’s obvious that Leonard Floyd is not rolling over and playing dead. Quite the opposite, in fact. He is raging into the face of the Rams’ disappointing season and may flirt with the best season of his career.
In a season where almost every important player sitting it out and being shut down, there is something to be said for the guys who fight through injuries and suffer the risk of having less than their best games show up in the statistics.
Give me these tough guys, the guys who suit up in pain as well as when fully healthy. In the past two seasons, the Rams have rummaged through a host of players to start opposite Leonard Floyd. But he keeps showing up and putting out his best. In 48 games for the Rams, he has 28.0 quarterback sacks and 177 tackles. That is far better than his 54 games with the Chicago Bears over four seasons.
And yet, I believe his best is yet to come.