Eagles

Gunn on One: Rodney McLeod says Sundays are easy for Eagles' defense

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Gunn on One: Rodney McLeod says Sundays are easy for Eagles' defense

Defense wins championships, and right now the Eagles' D is playing at a championship level. Safety Rodney McLeod is one of the keys to the unit's success. He is this week's Gunn on One subject.

Gunner: This defense has been straight up balling. No. 6 overall, No. 1 rush defense, No. 3 in points allowed and No. 3 in takeaways. What is making this group so special?

McLeod: It's the way we prepare, how we practice. Doug (Pederson) always talks about making it easier on Sundays, and making practice harder, and that's what we do. We hold ourselves accountable no matter who you are, and we hold ourselves to a high standard. We are a prideful group, so the things we do on Sundays, we do out on the practice field. We stress turnovers, interceptions, stripping runners during practice, pursuit to the ball, all those things that you need to do to be a top defense in this league.

Gunner: You have faced mobile quarterbacks in Cam Newton and Dak Prescott, but this guy Russell Wilson takes extending plays to a whole different level.

McLeod: A guy like Russell Wilson ,who can extend a play anywhere from six to 12 seconds — it's pretty impressive. He's a general over there, he makes that offense go, so it's going to be critical for us up front to stay in our lanes and do whatever we can to get him on the ground. Pursuit, angles, we're gonna need everybody, and on the back end for us we have to have good eyes, and just be locked in every play. I think this week is going to test us out a lot.

Gunner: Is this season the most fun you've had playing in this league?

McLeod: It's got to be. ...  It's one of the best groups of guys I've been around. From the practice field to Sundays to off the field, we hang out a lot and you see it all unfold out here on the field. We're just playing for one another, and we're trying to do it for the city of Philadelphia, but also for each other. We put so much into it, so just to see the results we're getting right now is amazing. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but on this team.

McLeod is always insightful and entertaining. To see my extended interview with number 23, tune into Eagles Pregame Live Sunday from 7 to 8pm on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Film Review: Eagles go back to same play with Nick Foles

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Film Review: Eagles go back to same play with Nick Foles

Arguably the best and worst play in the Eagles' 43-35 win Sunday over the Rams came on the same call from Doug Pederson. 

The interception in the first quarter and the key 3rd-and-8 conversion late in the fourth were nearly identical. Carson Wentz was the quarterback for the first one, Nick Foles ran the second. 

Give credit to Pederson. The play clearly didn't work the first time, but he went back to it at a pivotal moment in the game. That's trusting the play and trusting the backup quarterback. 

Let's first take a look at that early interception: 

 

It's 3rd-and-5 from the Eagles' 30-yard line. Wentz is in shotgun with LeGarrette Blount flanking him. One tight end on the same side. Alshon Jeffery at the top of the screen, Torrey Smith at the bottom. Nelson Agholor (circled) is being given a cushion by Rams cornerback Nickell Roby-Coleman. The aptly named cornerback is the Rams' slot corner in their nickel package. 


The running back and tight end stay in to block, which creates a lot of room in the middle of the field for Agholor vs. Roby-Coleman. Wentz is locked in. The Eagles need to get to the 35-yard line for a first down, so Agholor reaches the top of his route at the 39, before cutting back. 

You can see there's not much of a window here, but this is a back shoulder throw that has to be perfect. 

It's a tight window, and although Wentz hits Agholor in the hands, Roby-Coleman is able to get a paw in there to deflect it to Kayvon Webster, who broke toward the play. Webster picked off the ball on the deflection and the Rams took over in Eagles' territory and scored a few plays later. 

So the play didn't work the first time. Had the throw been absolutely perfect and if Agholor could have made a great catch, it would have. But this is a play that has to be perfect to work. 

The next time, it was. 

This probably looks pretty familiar. It's 3rd-and-8 from the Eagles' 23-yard line. With 1:52 left in a two-point game, they know if they pick up this first down, they can pretty much run down the clock and escape Los Angeles with a win. This is huge. 

Same play. This time, Foles is in shotgun with Blount next to him. The tight end on the same side; both will block again. Jeffery and Smith are the wideouts. But we'll focus on Agholor (circled). He's against Roby-Coleman again and has that cushion. 


Foles is locked on Agholor, just like Wentz was in the first quarter, but there's just not much separation. Really, there's no separation. Roby-Coleman plays this really well. 

Foles needs his pass to be absolutely perfect. He needs to put it in a spot where only Agholor can catch it. 

How's this for perfect? 

On this particular play, Foles actually threw a better pass than Wentz did in the first quarter. Now, Foles obviously isn't going to be Wentz, but this pass should at least give fans some confidence. 

And confidence isn't lacking. At an absolutely pivotal moment of the game, Pederson went back to a play that produced an interception the first time. And he went back to it with his backup quarterback who hasn't really played much all season. It was gutsy, it worked out and it shows the head coach's confidence in his new QB.

On Wednesday, Pederson pointed out Foles and Agholor were able to complete this pass after not working together all week or all season. All those reps have been going to Wentz. Now, Foles will get the chance to work with Agholor and the other starters the rest of the way. 

Report: Carson Wentz has surgery on torn left ACL

Report: Carson Wentz has surgery on torn left ACL

Carson Wentz underwent surgery Wednesday on his torn left ACL, according to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.

The surgery was performed by Dr. James Bradley, a Pittsburgh-based orthopedic knee specialist, per Mortensen.

The typical recovery timetable for an NFL player with a torn ACL is 9-12 months. 

Two days after Wentz suffered the depressing injury in Los Angeles, he was at the Eagles’ practice facility Tuesday helping Nick Foles game plan for the Giants, even though it was the players’ day off (see story).

While Wentz recovers, the Eagles anticipate he’ll put on his “coaching hat” and do what he can to assist the offense.