Has Chicago Bears left tackle Charles Leno met his preseason expectations so far?
With the Chicago Bears at their bye week halfway through the season, it is a great time to reflect on the first eight weeks. We will pick a group of players over the next two weeks and see whether or not they have met their expectations to date, and whether they can hit those expectations in the second half of the year. Today, we look at Charles Leno.
Right before the season started, the Bears gave Charles Leno a four-year extension. This came as a surprise to some and created a lot of debate about what Leno was worth. As far as left tackles go, his average annual value is 16th in the NFL right now. Is he an average left tackle?
Through Eight Weeks
He has played up to his expectations. He could be considered responsible for allowing three sacks this season. One was a blitz that while he does deserve blame, Mitchell Trubisky has to call out and recognize presnap. That is something that will come with time. Another was Everson Griffen, a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He has not been shut down against the pass, but he certainly has fared better than others at left tackle.
In the running game, he has held up well too. The team has run the ball to the left side more than the right. Bears running backs are averaging 4.2 yards per carry running behind Leno. That is tied for second on the line with Josh Sitton behind Kyle Long.
14 of the team’s 21 runs of 10 yards or more have come on the left side of the field and four have come directly behind Leno. He has held up well, and likely is in the top half of the league when it comes to left tackles.
Second half outlook
While he may be in the top 16 players, he is closer to 16th best than the top blindside blocker. He still does not move well and does not handle stunts and blitzes with ease. Still, he is serviceable, and expecting slightly above average play along with bringing continuity to the line makes him valuable to the team moving forward. Due to a contract this offseason, it is looking like it was the right decision to sign him to the extension when they did.