Eagles Wake-Up Call: McLeod’s Path To Philly

(Photo by: Jeff Fusco)

Rodney McLeod. (Jeff Fusco)

It was “very hard,” Rodney McLeod says, to leave the Rams. He never missed a game in four seasons after St. Louis signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2012, and when his contract was up this offseason, he thought he’d continue his career in the city that gave him his first opportunity to play in the NFL.

“I thought I was going to be a Ram for a long time. That’s what I was told throughout the whole process,” McLeod said. “Things happen and that’s part of this business and this league we’re in. Change happens, but it doesn’t mean change is always bad. It’s just about what I do with that change here.”

McLeod, who the Eagles signed to a five-year, $37 million deal in March (including $17 million guaranteed), reportedly received interest from the Giants and Ravens as well. But four years ago, when 253 prospects were drafted, McLeod wasn’t one of them. He says now that teams were uncertain about what position he’d play and many didn’t think he was a “true corner.” Read more »

Eagles Sign Derrick Lott, Release Ryan Quigley

Derrick Lott. (USA Today Sports)

Derrick Lott. (USA Today Sports)

The Eagles signed defensive tackle Derrick Lott and released punter Ryan Quigley, the team announced Monday evening. Lott spent time last season on the Buccaneers’ practice squad as a rookie, but Tampa Bay waived him four weeks ago as they began to clear room to sign the players they drafted. Read more »

Eagles Mailbag: Who Will Play A Lot More In 2016?

Jordan Hicks. (Jeff Fusco)

Jordan Hicks. (Jeff Fusco)

For your mailbag question to be considered, complete the form at the bottom of this post.

You can make good arguments for each of those guys.

Ryan Mathews’ injury history suggests he’ll likely miss a few games, but he did rank second among running backs in yards per carry last season (5.1). While I think it’s highly unlikely he reaches that number again, he displayed the talent that makes him worthy of being a feature back. I’m not sold he can stay healthy enough for that, but it’s difficult to envision a scenario in which he doesn’t play a lot more than 21 percent of the offense’s snaps, as he did in 2015. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: A Fit For Jenkins?

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Photo by: Jeff Fusco

Malcolm Jenkins is the perfect example of why scheme fit matters.

The 28-year-old has proven to be one of the top acquisitions of the Chip Kelly era. Though his signing was met with little fanfare (T.J Ward and Jairus Byrd were the two big free-agent safeties that year, you’ll remember), Jenkins came in and brought stability to the position for the first time since Brian Dawkins departed for Denver in 2009. This past season, Pro Football Focus ranked him as the second best safety in the NFL.

Such success makes it easy to forget some of the struggles he had before arriving in Philly.  Back in 2012, the same site had him as the league’s lowest rated safety along with his defensive backfield partner Roman Harper thanks in part to a combined 32 missed tackles. Read more »

NFC East Roundup: The Rise And Fall Of RGIII

Robert Griffin USA Today

Robert Griffin USA Today

Let’s take a spin around the NFC East to see what’s going on with the rest of the division:

Jason Reid of ESPN did a longform piece on Robert Griffin III detailing some of the dysfunction that accompanied his time in Washington.

Feb. 5, 2013 — Griffin called for a meeting. He declined to tell Mike Shanahan what he wanted to discuss, saying only it was important. Griffin, Mike and Kyle Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur gathered in the offensive meeting room at the team headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia. With the coaches seated, Griffin walked to a blackboard and wrote:

  1. Change things.
  2. Change our protections.
  3. Unacceptable.
  4. Bottom line.

Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Corner Question

Malcolm Jenkins. (Jeff Fusco)

Malcolm Jenkins. (Jeff Fusco)

As you look around the Eagles’ defense, there’s clarity at most positions. We know the two starting tackles and three rotating ends; we know the pair of starting safeties; and we have a pretty good idea of who the starting linebackers will be.

But what’s unknown, and likely won’t be settled any time soon, is who will have what roles at cornerback.

“It’s not clear at all, and I think a lot of guys are jockeying for position,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “There’s a lot of depth and a lot of competition, and we’re just waiting to see who emerges from the pack.” Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Opportunity For Smallwood

USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports

Just about every time you looked up, there was Wendell Smallwood.

The Eagles are a bit short-handed at running back at the moment. Darren Sproles has been absent all offseason and Oregon rookie Byron Marshall is among those impacted by the NFL graduation rule. That left the likes of Ryan Mathews, Kenjon Barner, Cedric O’Neal and Smallwood to carry the load as OTAs got underway at the NovaCare.

Duce [Staley] gave me a lot of reps. I was with the twos and the threes,” said Smallwood following Tuesday’s practice. “He’s telling me I’ve got to get my motor going. He wants me to be contributing to this team so I definitely think I’m going to have to get a lot of reps and have to get better.”
Read more »

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