Let's take a look at safety Jim Leonhard.
Leonhard has been absolutely phenomenal this year. The Bills released him after having several very low-impact years with Buffalo. The Ravens picked him up in a deal not many seemed to notice. But it got noticed.
In Week three, Ravens starting safety Dawan Landry went down with a concussion. That left a spot for Leonhard. The 5'8" inch "White Lightning" has been nothing short of miraculous. In that same game, he had a great punt return, a sack and a pass batted down.
"This is a team where you have to earn respect and you have to go out there every day and do your job and make plays. That's been my role since I've been in the NFL," said Leonhard, who is also the Ravens' punt returner. "As cliché as it is, you really are only one play away and at this level, they expect you to keep it up at that top level. When it's your role, it's your job on this team to be prepared." Leonhard said.
And make plays he has. Counting the playoffs, he has 81 tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one touchdown. He has been outstanding in punt returning and kick returning. During the season, he had 28 returns for 395 yards and averaged over 11 yards per punt return.
His postseason play has been ridiculous. He had seven tackles, a sack, an interception and a pass deflection against Miami. Against Tennessee, he had five tackles, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.
Defensive coordinator Rex Ryan knew it was a good move. "Our pro personnel guy brought Jim in for a tryout weekend," remembered Ryan. "Jim learned our defense in a day. George [pro personnel man George Kokinis] asked me what we thought. I said: 'We ran him with the first team by the second practice.' He's a big-time athlete, but not the biggest. He plays like a Raven. He's smart, passionate and physical; our kind of guy."
The signing and the impact Leonhard has had on the Baltimore Ravens again proves how good Ozzie Newsome is at finding talent. We are talking about a General Manager who has drafted Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jon Ogden, Terrell Suggs, Joe Flacco, Haloti Ngata, Jason Brown, Jamal Lewis, Peter Boulware, Todd Heap, and Le'Ron McClain.
The signing of Leonhard is just a minor plus when you throw him in the group of those great football players.
Leonhard has had a brilliant season and the Ravens want to and should re-sign him to a long term contract. The guy has a bright future.
Going into the game against Tennessee, the Titans have an advantage at those positions—and others. Albert Haynesworth is considered a better nose tackle then Ngata. Michael Griffin is considered a better safety then Leonhard. Collins is considered a better quarterback then Flacco.
Cortland Finnegan is considered a better corner then Fabian Washington. Jeff Fisher is considered a much better coach then Jon Harbaugh.
A Twix Bar: $2. A Honus Wagner baseball card: $2.3 million. Ngata, Leonhard, Flacco, Washington and Harbaugh prepping for an AFC Championship Game and Haynesworth, Griffin, Collins, Finnegan, and Fisher watching it: priceless.