NFC Notes: Roquan Smith, Alex Leatherwood, Bears, Packers, Jordan Love

NFC Notes: Roquan Smith, Alex Leatherwood, Bears, Packers, Jordan Love


Roquan Smith

Bears LB Roquan Smith said he is not focused on his contract situation after not receiving an extension this offseason and requesting a trade.

“I’m not focused on that, if I’m being completely honest,” said, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “My focus is on making this year the best year I can and then go from there. I don’t want to look forward too much to the future or anything like that. I’m just focused on having the best year I can with my teammates and playing the game I love. That’s what means the most to me.”

Smith reiterated that he isn’t thinking about his contract and added that he must continue to play well in his new position at weakside linebacker. 

“It’s already in the back of my mind,” Smith said. “It just came to the front when you just mentioned it. I flourish in any defense. It don’t matter. Just line me up and tell me a play, and I’m there.”

As for playing in new HC Matt Eberflus‘ 4-3 system, Smith said that it allows him to play in space more often, which is among his best qualities. 

“It’s definitely sweet,” Smith said. “It allows you to play in space more. And I feel like that’s one of my biggest attributes, playing in space, vision. I didn’t get to do a lot of that in the past, but being able to do that now, I think it’s going to be good. And I think it’s going to pay dividends for me.”

Alex Leatherwood

Regarding the Bears claiming former Raiders’ first-round OL Alex Leatherwood, HC Matt Eberflus said that several players and coaches signed off on Leatherwood including former Raiders’ DL coach Rod Marinelli. 

“We studied him on tape. We looked at him,” Eberflus said, via Josh Schrock of NBC Sports. “Some guys have been with him, some guys that were in Vegas last year. We have a couple coaches on our staff. Of course, I know Coach Marinelli, used him as a resource. We’ve got nothing but good reports, and we’re excited to have him. We’ll see where he goes from here.”

Eberflus added that Leatherwood has “a clean slate” in Chicago. 

“It’s a clean slate, it’s a fresh start from him and we’ll see where we start him at. We’re not going to disclose that right now. Still working with the coaches on that. But it’s a clean slate and a fresh start for him.”

Eberflus also praised Leatherwood’s skill as a run blocker. 

“One of the things when you look at him that stands out would be, number one, his run blocking,” Eberflus said. “His run blocking is really good. He’s got good balance when it comes to that. He stays on guys. That’s what we like about him the most right now. He’s got to develop his game. He’s a young player and we’ve got some really good coaches to help him. Chris Morgan is one of the best line coaches in the NFL. We’re excited to have those guys paired up together.”

Packers

Packers HC Matt LaFleur and QB Aaron Rodgers both have confidence in QB Jordan Love should the back-to-back MVP need the former first-round pick to fill in during the 2022 season.

“I see a lot more decisive player out there that is letting the ball rip,” LaFleur said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “I think a lot of times, we all get enamored by the numbers; I don’t think the numbers in this instance really give it a great sense of how he did. I think he graded out pretty well. Certainly, it’s not perfect; it’s never going to be perfect. There are a couple throws that I’m sure he’d like to have back, but I thought, all in all, it was definitely a step in the right direction for him.”

“I think he’s definitely become a master of the offense,” Rodgers said of Love. “But it is just the little things that are going to help him level up. A lot of it is the footwork. Little things like arm angles on run action, his keeper fakes, his hard-action fakes, his run-solutions and RPO game, helping him marry that up with the running game, that’s what I like seeing.”

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