I saw that Leonard had a very low PFF grade against the Ravens and as also i did not noticed any impact plays from Leonard in the first 2 games i decided to rewatch the game against Baltimore again by focusing my atention mostly in Leonard. And wow i think that 33.4 is a little bit high.
He played 50 of 72 possible snaps on defense and the only play where he did something positive was in 1 & 10 after Colts failed to convert on 4th down in overtime. Gus called a blitz and Leonard put pressure on Lamar and forced an incompletion. He was out in the next (and last) 3 plays of defense.
I noticed that Leonard played all snaps in the Ravens first TD drive. Concretely in the TD play, Gus called cover 3. Blackmon was close to the LOS and when he saw Lamar was going to run, he sprinted towards him decisively, however he was blocked. But Leonard on the other hand was next to Blackmon and he was not blocked, nevertheless, he took a bad angle, looked slow and kind of seemed that he did not try to much to stop Lamar.
On Ravens second TD drive, Leonard played all the snaps except the TD play. Baltimore attacked Leonard heavily on this drive, by the ground and by the air. He looked awful, he could not shed his blockers nor cover his zone. Then in the TD play, Speed was in the field instead of Leonard, and he was spying Lamar, however being his first play on this drive, he naturally was cold and took a Step towards his right when Lamar decided (by design) to run it to Speed's left. So nothing much to do there. Against a QB like Lamar a bad reading is going to cost you, and besides Speed (Who i think had a great game) was cold.
When the score was 19 - 19 and after Kwity sack and Kenny Moore pass deflection, Gus called cover 3 out of Dollar formation (3 DL 2 LB and 6 DB). Leonard and Franklin were the LBs, the Ravens attacked the mid zone of Leonard and he was beat badly.
I love Darius/Shaquille Leonard. For me from 2018 to 2021 there was not a better defensive player in league than Leonard. I vividly remember Leonard's second career game (against Washington) where he had like 20 tackles and a forced fumble, after that game i knew he was a special player. He made so many more fumbles, intercepcions and amazing tackles and plays in that period of time and i always going to remember that Leonard. However the really serious injuries that he has had won't let him be the same again. Off the ball linebacker is arguably the defensive position with the hardest hits, and something that you want from that position is that those players are willing to throw their bodies as hard as they can at the opponent ball carriers. And after the injuries that the Maniac has had i really understand that he is afraid of tackling.
If you watch the tape of the game against Baltimore and focus on Leonard as i did, you will notice that he played as awful or maybe more than the PFF grade he got. I feel bad for posting this cause, after R. Mathis, Leonard is my second favorite Colt defensive player. And it truly sucks to opine that Leonard should be benched, but i truly think that if he is benched this Colts defense can be dominat. Baker was the noticeable weak link of the defense in the first 2 games, then Juju Brents stepped up this week and was a decisive factor in order to won the game. But right now Leonard is also a notable weak link too.
I have watched the Speed play on 4th down (in overtime) tons of times by now and in my opinion that is a beautiful defensive play. He is a LB that had to cover the Ravens fastest WR and he did it clean. Yes he made contact with his arm, however, the play occured 3.5 yards after the LOS (so within the allowed 5 yards) and did not grab the WR. So, to me it was legal. His reaction however is what stoods out, i don't think old Leonard would have been able to make that play.
Most of Speed snaps were in overtime and in the 4th quarter, precisely after the Ravens 2nd TD as he might have noticed the bad game from Leonard too. So, even if feels bad i hope that Gus does the right thing and uses Speed so much more. Because the Colts can take the division easily this year and if the defense gets better linebacker play, oh man playoffs are going to be interesting for sure.