Chicago Bears: Charles Leno 2017 season review

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky /

Was Chicago Bears let tackle Charles Leno able to meet expectations in 2017?

When asking any Bears fan their thoughts on Charles Leno you can get a variety of long and differing answers. There is a lot of negative talk around him, as the least recognizable name on the line. However, the team just signed him to a four-year $37 million deal. It seems the Chicago Bears are connected to him. So, in his first season under that deal did he give the Bears the clarity to move on with him, or the uneasiness to try address the position for the long haul this offseason?

Run blocker

Leno had his ups and down as a run blocker, but overall was a solid performer. For every good attribute you find, you can also find him struggling almost equally as often. However, you could say that there are more positives overall.


Leno has great strength. He is able to hold down his own against tougher competition and can use his strength to create holes and seal off the edges. In the play below Leno is taking on an All-Pro performer in Cameron Heyward. He drives him out of the way to clear a path for Jordan Howard.


While he can beat some of the stronger players in the league, he is not going to beat the quicker players in the league. Leno is trying to get into the second level to get his hands on linebacker Jarrad Davis. However, Davis gets Leno moving laterally and swims in around him for the tackle. For as strong as Leno is, he is not quick.

Combo Block

Below is a perfect example of Leno earning his contract and being a starter in the NFL. The combo blocks represent quickness and strength. Leno was pretty solid in this area over 2017. He is able to help Josh Sitton seal the inside then get up field to take out the linebacker Manti Te’o, springing Jordan Howard to the second level.

Below he chips Trey Hendrickson off of the ball to help his tight end. Then he finishes sealing the run off with a clear out of defensive tackle David Onyemata.

That type of execution over a season of play would have nobody questioning his spot on the depth chart. However, plays like the one below are what is being pointed to when questioning what ceiling he can take a team to. Leno is slow to helping Dion Sims chip, and by over pursuing to try to help out, he lets the linebacker run in and get the tackle.

Getting to Second Level

Leno’s quickness typically catches up to him when getting into the second level. However, in the play below he is able to shoot into the gap and seal off linebacker Vincent Rey, springing Howard free.

At the same time, that is best example of getting into the second level outside of the combo blocks, and that was against a Bengals team that looked defeated. Most of his play trying to get out in space looked like the play below.

Seal the Edge

Getting to the second level highlights his lack of quickness, but setting the edge as a tackle can show his strength, and also his footwork.

Below, he is able to get steps on Anthony Zettel and completely clear him out of the play.

Leno is able to push Ezekiel Ansah early, get him to stand up, which buys him time to square up Ansah from the outside and keep him inside to seal off the edge.

Lastly, he is able to catch Tavon Wilson with one arm, and wrangle him to shove him out of the play, helping spring free a touchdown.

But, of course, he is not perfect in this area. He was somewhat lucky to have caught Tavon Wilson at the right time, and on the play below, the Vikings use his attempt to seal the edge against him. Everson Griffen shoves Leno out of the way and frees up the edge for Anthony Barr to jump in and take out the runner.

Pass Block

Overall Leno was about as up and down in terms of pass protection as he was in run blocking. Pass protection was tough for the Chicago Bears. First, you have a rookie quarterback with inexperience when maneuvering the pocket. The team also no wide receiver options to get open down the field. It makes these offensive lineman looks worse.

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However, of the offensive lineman, Leno was responsible solely for five sacks, which leads the team. Coverage resulted in five sacks and Trubisky was responsible for nine. So while Leno wasn’t the biggest issue in pass protection, he was the biggest issue amongst offensive lineman in pass protection.


Overall Leno is being paid like an average left tackle and Leno is an average left tackle. He has his lows with his highs, and while there could be better there could be worse. One of the nicest aspects of Leno is what you see is what you get. There is hardly boom and bust to him just a few bumps in the road.

However, that does not mean that the team should not at least be open to the idea of improving. If there is an offensive lineman in the draft that the new coaching staff likes, they have to jump on him. However, this is not a must address position if the draft. It would not kill the team to go into 2018 expecting another 16 game season from Charles Leno.