Alex Leatherwood made his first appearances for the Bears
The Chicago Bears had several injuries on their offensive line before their game against the Green Bay Packers in Week 13. Right Tackle Larry Borom was inactive for the Bears against the Packers. Riley Reiff got the start at right tackle. However, Alex Leatherwood was rotated in at right tackle for the first time this season.
Reiff missed practice Wednesday with a back injury. With the injuries at right tackle, it was assumed Leatherwood would get his first playing time of the year. The former first-round pick played in ten snaps for the Bears during their loss Sunday.
PFF gave Leatherwood a good grade
Leatherwood was given the third-highest grade by Pro Football Focus for a Bears offensive lineman against the Packers with a 73.7 overall grade. He was in for three running plays and seven passing snaps. The Alabama product gave up no pressures in pass protection and earned a 78.6 grade for his pass blocking. Leatherwood was given a 71.9 grade for his run blocking.
Here are all of Leatherwood’s snaps from the game on Sunday:
Alex Leatherwood made his #Bears debut this week and incidentally became a good luck charm for his offense. He didn't make any wild blocks, but Fields hit big pass plays when he entered the game.
Here's all 10 of his snaps — would love to see Flus get him more work this year. pic.twitter.com/d0l0oSvDZh
— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) December 5, 2022
Alex Leatherwood seems to be making progress
It was only ten snaps. But they were solid blocks from Alex Leatherwood. They were solid blocks from the right tackle position, period, as Borom has not had great production there most of the season.
The Bears need to see these types of performances from Leatherwood. General Manager Ryan Poles took a risk by being the only NFL team to claim Leatherwood off of waivers. Because of that decision, the Bears are spending considerable money on a project player that only lasted one season with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Leatherwood spent significant time this season on the NFI list. The Bears activated him for their game against the Dallas Cowboys, but he didn’t play. Brad Biggs with the Chicago Tribune suggested the Bears didn’t start Leatherwood against the Packers because of how Leatherwood practiced this week:
“The Bears started Riley Reiff, who was questionable with a back/shoulder injury and missed practice Wednesday. I think if Leatherwood had excelled in practice, he probably would have started, but Matt Eberflus said the plan was to rotate him.”
One has to wonder what exactly the Bears coaches see in practice. This was the same line of thinking that stopped Teven Jenkins from getting maximum game reps. And Jenkins has been the Bears’ best offensive lineman this season. Leatherwood’s game tape is showing that he deserves more reps during games. He certainly seemed to look like the best option for the Bears to protect Fields at right tackle on Sunday.
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