Friday, October 16, 2009

Jim Leonhard may be the most overrated Raven of all time


Former Raven Jim Leonhard is a good guy. He is an overachiever – a guy if you saw him on the street you’d think he was a freshman at Towson University.

He’s smart; he’s tough; a gutsy and effective punt returner and an ok safety.

He’s also one of the most overrated players in Ravens’ history.

Look the guy was quintessential Baltimore. We love the underdog here in B’more because we are an underdog city. We carry a chip on our collective shoulder along with an inflated inferiority complex.

So when the proverbial little engine that could actual does and he wears a purple jersey, we embrace him; we exult him; we place him on a pedestal because he succeeded when no one thought he could.

But if you are really honest about it and set your heart aside for a moment, Jim Leonhard was a guy who made the most out of being in the right place at the right time.

He’s not a very good cover safety; he’s not a very good tackler; he’s not exceptionally fast. What he was in 2008 was Johnny on the Spot! You remember him for his punt return skills, taking over for the passive and underachieving Yamon Figurs. You remember his hit on Alge Crumpler in the Divisional Playoff Game that forced a critical turnover yet you forget about the many missed tackles and how he played “horsey-back” with Brandon Jacobs for 15 yards last season.

When you add it all up, Jim Leonhard was very replaceable.

Adding to the Leonhard folklore are the inadequacies of Dawan Landry and Chris Carr this year. Landry is best when he plays inside the box – check that, he used to be best there. Now he looks lost all over the field, particularly when he’s asked to do what Leonhard did last year in coverage. The guy better suited for Leonhard’s role is Haruki Nakamura.

Nakamura if given the chance will make folks forget about Jim Leonhard the safety.

Hopefully Lardarius Webb will help the Leonhard huggers forget about Jim Leonhard the punt returner.

Until such time, Leonhard will be discussed with glowing terms of endearment even if they weren’t really earned on the field.
Photo by Sabina Moran.

11 comments :

tristancloyd said...

Most of the ravens d ends up being products of their environment. It comes from having several pro-bowlers on a D. Suggs Reed Ngata and even Lewis still are tops at their respective positions. How many Pro bowlers have left the ravens only to vanish into the masses when they leave. Where is AD. What happened to Hartwell when he left. While Scott is having an OK year its nothing like he might have had here. My point is I dont think Leonhard is over rated. But there is no way he has the suppport he had here. I guess my point is that, I while Leonhard may have been a bit over rated, I dont think he deserves the title "the most overrated Raven of all time"

Jerry B said...

If you're right, TL, the changes better come sooner rather than later as this secondary needs all the help they can get!

The Breeze said...

Finally someone said it! I liked Leonhard but fans have a convenient memory when it comes to him. I think we miss Bart Scott far more. Next man up for the Ravens. They should give Webb a shot a safety. He played there in college. He should also return punts.

Anonymous said...

When are they going to give Nakamura a shot, though? What's it going to take? I'll take a wait-and-see attitude about whether he'll be a good replacement for Leonhard.

We could really use a johnny-on-the-spot guy right now in the secondary.

Harryos29 said...

Harry Os 29
... I think that JIM LEONARD was an INVALUABLE part of the Ravens in 2008. IMHO..he is sorely missed. Chris Carr is a huge disappointment.

Brian said...

I agree that Leonhard is overrated by many. He did come up big in the playoffs, which makes people forget about some of his poor play earlier in the season.

Unforunately, the really poor play of Landry so far makes people remember Leonhard even more fondly.

Time to Launder Landry said...

Brian nailed it. Landry is like a fish out of water in the secondary. If anyone on the roster is a worse safety, they shouldn't even be in the NFL. And his incompetencies may be inspiring Reed to take even more risks. It has become a vicious circle and it's time to yank the weak link, No. 26

frank white said...

1st off-- Leonard was a great tackler while on the ravens.

IMO above par, the best north/south return "SPECIALIST" DURING HIS PLAYING STINT ON THE RAVENS.

Ed Reed was able to return the historic 107 INT for a TD thanx to a b lock thrown down by Leonard!!!

This season D Landry has not made up for Leonard's absence.

Landry probably has the most missed tackles on the entire team, Might lead the league.
Wish there was a stat tracker for missed tackles!?!?!??!

frank white said...

Ed Reed was able to return the historic 107 INT for a TD thanx to a block thrown down by Leonard!!!

This season D Landry has not made up for Leonard's absence.

Landry probably has the most missed tackles on the entire team, Might lead the league.
Wish there was a stat tracker for missed tackles!?!?!??!

Crazy Canton Cuts said...

Jim is just a guy

never thought much of him as far to rate him more than an extra DB/ slow safety type

frank white said...

JUST A GUY YOU SAY???
wELL FOOD 4 THOUGHT... COMPARE HIS RAVENS STATS TO THE CURRENT WHICH HE HAS HAD RECENTLY PLAYING FOR THE JETS!!!!! Leonard WAS A GOOD FIT FOR THE RAVENS defense!!!!!!!!!!!!!