Rodney McLeod must be ready for Philadelphia Eagles stretch run

The Philadelphia Eagles need a strong run from Rodney McLeod .

It’s been a solid season for Philadelphia Eagles safety Rodney McLeod. With the departure of Malcolm Jenkins in free agency, McLeod has taken on the leadership role on that Eagles defense. He hasn’t missed a defensive snap since his injury in 2018. Last year, he looked like he was a bit rusty coming off of that injury but he’s stepped up in 2020. He’s been one of the few bright spots for Philly.

Pro Football Focus has given him a 71.7 grade this year as he’s missed just three tackles all season and allowed only seven catches on 16 targets. 34 of his 52 total tackles are solo tackles. He also has a pick and two fumble recoveries. He’s been all over the place. There is one concern with Rodney though. He tends to get beaten by biting too early on certain routes. With safeties who often play that single-high, centerfield role that can happen easily.

Let’s discuss some Philadelphia Eagles game film.

Versus the New York Giants in Week 7, he got fooled pretty easily on Golden Tate’s first touchdown. The Philadelphia Eagles went with a ‘Cover One’ scheme, which is man coverage with one safety playing in a deep zone. McLeod committed to one side of the field. Slay was on that side of the field and that’s a corner who doesn’t need safety help. That side of the field was well covered the whole play. Jalen Mills was stride for stride with the tight end.

What McLeod didn’t consider was that Nickell Robey-Coleman and Cre’Von LeBlanc were on the other side of the field. LeBlanc has been a playmaker throughout his Eagles career but Golden Tate knows how to get free in the slot. We all know Robey-Coleman has been a problem. Since McLeod bit on the routes on the other side of the field, LeBlanc got beat over the top for a touchdown.

He had tight coverage but credit has to be given to the Giants. Daniel Jones made an impressive throw and Tate put his hands up for the ball late so that LeBlanc couldn’t react and try to put his hands up. Had McLeod been over there, it might’ve been a different result.

Former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator and current Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski toyed with Jenkins and McLeod last year. That was a big reason the ‘Birds’ lost 38-20 to Minnesota. hey got too aggressive with the underneath routes and Stefon Diggs beat them over the top more than once. The defense as a whole was undisciplined. The play action was too much handle.

If Stefanski establishes the run game early with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, this defense is going to struggle with play action. The linebacker play is even less disciplined than it was a year ago versus the Vikings. McLeod has to come ready to play and do his part or this one could get ugly.