The Philadelphia Eagles kept Rodney McLeod and showed Malcolm Jenkins the door
The Philadelphia Eagles seemingly had a revolving door in the secondary during 2019’s campaign. Guys who were meant to be cornerstone players at the cornerback position like Ronald Darby and Cre’von LeBlanc missed plenty of regular-season snaps due to injuries. Philly’s safety tandem on the other hand was pretty stable throughout the season. In fact, both starters, Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins didn’t miss any of the team’s 16 regular-season games.
Both McLeod and Jenkins were snubbed when the All-Pro and Pro Bowl nods were handed out, but the Eagles knew they could trust both of them to make enough plays. Good things often come to an end, however, and this past offseason, McLeod was awarded a contract extension while his partner in crime, Mr. Jenkins, was allowed to leave in the offseason.
Since the Eagles wanted to have some semblance of stability at safety, in addition to McLeod’s re-signing, they added Will Parks in free agency and drafted K’Von Wallace. It also appears Jalen Mills will make the transition to safety.
McLeod is a proven veteran that will continue to be a fixture of the Eagles’ secondary for the next couple of years. After all, if something works, there’s no need to fix it, and that’s been the case when it comes to McLeod. Philly made sure a solid contributor remained with them without overpaying for his services.
What are the Philadelphia Eagles getting from Rodney McLeod over the course of the next two years?
The Eagles secondary had a penchant for giving up touchdowns last year. As a team, they allowed 27 touchdowns, good for 21st in the league. Without seeming like we’re pointing fingers, McLeod wasn’t the reason Philly’s secondary ranked in the bottom half in the league though.
The eight-year veteran allowed 16 pass completions and just one touchdown reception when the ball was thrown in his direction. That’s just one pass completion per game for you math wizards out there. McLeod didn’t tally any pass breakups, but he hauled in two interceptions, the first one coming in Week 5 versus the New York Jets, and the other came versus the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12. For his efforts, Pro Football Focus ranked him 44th out 84 safeties last season. McLeod isn’t the second coming on Brian Dawkins, but he’s not going to embarrass himself or his teammates either.
There is, however, one area where McLeod needs to improve on. He has work to do when it comes to his tackling. As good as he is in coverage, his ability to wrap guys up could use some fine-tuning. Last season, he missed 15 tackles. In three of his eight seasons as a pro, he’s whiffed on at least 15 tackles and at least 12 in two other seasons.
On the contrary, he was pretty good in that department back in 2018, when he only missed two. Then again, he only played in three games that year, so maybe that isn’t a great example. If “23” doesn’t want to give away snaps to younger players, he has to improve his tackling efficiency. He doesn’t need to be flawless, but “Birds” fans and their coaches would like to see him cut down on the misses. We’ll see is he does just that in 2020.
The Philadelphia Eagles will give Rodney McLeod a new partner, but who?
Jenkins’ leadership on and off the field will be missed, but as mentioned, the Eagles signed Will Parks and Jalen Mills will be making the move to the backend of the defense. Jenkins’ absence will affect most of the team’s secondary, but it will have a direct effect on McLeod.
These two had played together for more than four years and had developed the kind of communication and rapport a safety tandem needs to work effectively with one another. It’s uncertain at this point if McLeod will be able to have the same kind of chemistry with Mills or Parks, but now that Jenkins has moved on, McLeod’s role will increase. He shouldn’t have any problems adjusting to his old teammate’s absence though. Here’s one of those offseason deals that will prove to be worth the money.