‘Jeff is a great coach,’ Leonard said. ‘Jeff came in with the right mindset that he wasn’t going to sit back and allow bad play. He demanded excellence from everybody. The offensive line got better. He came in and made sure everybody understood what was at stake and what he wanted from out of every player.
‘When we blow a lead, that next meeting was what we needed. He’d call you out and put you on the big screen and let you know this is unacceptable. I hate that he gets a lot of hate. Coming in, not knowing a coach on your coaching staff, how do you expect him to come in and go 8-0? Give him a full offseason, his own coaching staff and we’ll be a great spot.’
Leonard also praised Saturday for shutting down the linebacker after he attempted to play while still recovering from offseason surgery to address a back injury. He played Oct. 2, suffered a concussion, returned again Oct. 30 and Nov. 6 but was not healthy.
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‘I’m happy Jeff Saturday came along,’ Leonard said. ‘He said, ‘It’s not you. Got to figure this out and shut you down.”
Leonard said he had no feeling on his left side when he returned — he made 11 tackles and an interception in limited snaps — but is feeling better and the strength is returning to his leg.