Just a few years ago, the odds for Cre’Von LeBlanc ever solidify a role as anything on an NFL team looked slim. A UDFA from Florida Atlantic who was signed by Patriots, he went on a short stint with Bears, and waived by Lions.
When LeBlanc was claimed on November 8th in 2018, he came to a roster decimated with injuries. In fact, he came to the team with the most adjusted games lost due to injury but still had a shot at the playoffs. A week later, he was forced onto the field in a blowout loss to the New Orleans Saints. A horrific game all around, where every unit was whooped around by a powerhouse of a Saints roster. LeBlanc, who had 1 week to learn the playbook, gave up 2 catches on 3 targets for 24 yards and a TD in 44 snaps. He had no idea what he was supposed to do on the field.
“That was a tough one. Things were new for me”Cre’Von LeBlanc on getting thrown into Saints game not a week after coming to Philly
He would not give up another TD in the next 8 games.
“I don’t know where we’d be without Cre’Von”
– Those were the words by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz when Eagles managed to scratch and claw their way to the playoffs.
It obviously didn’t take long for LeBlanc to adjust to the Eagles defense. From week 12 vs Giants to the divisional championship vs Saints, he played the most coverage snaps of all Eagles CBs.
In 8 games, 304 snaps, he gave up the lowest NFL passer rating (80.4), and the lowest yards allowed pr snap (1.11). However, the best performances of the season came when it mattered the most.
In the wildcard game against the Bears and the divisional matchup in New Orleans, he gave up 8 catches on 13 targets for 65 yards. He had 1 INT and 2 pass deflections as well, good for a passer rating allowed of 75.
Coming back on a high level
On the first day of training camp in 2019, he injured his foot, which would send him to IR. This was disappointing to say the least, considering he was in the running to win a starter spot.
On November 30th, he was activated once again, starting his first game of the season against the New York Giants in a must-win matchup if the Eagles were to make the playoffs with a Wildcard spot. He forced 2 pass deflections on a 3rd and 4th down, and had a tackle for loss in a one-on-one situation against Saquon Barkley, also on 4th down.
In the Wildcard game vs Seattle, he also had 2 pass breakups and 4 run stops. He gave up a passer rating of 85 in the two games he started.
Finally healthy, competition lies ahead in crowded CB room
LeBlanc, Sidney Jones, Nickel Robey-Coleman, Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox, Jalen Mills, Trevor Williams.
The list is long. Especially when you consider Darius Slay has the CB1 spot locked up, leaving the CB2 spot and slot CB open. However, when it comes to slot CB, there’s no leaving out Safeties Will Parks and K’Von Wallace either.
Strap has faced competition before. He has faced adversity before. But now, he is finally healthy, and from the samples of the last two seasons, he is absolutely not one to back down from a challenge.
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports