Rodney McLeod knew going into last week that the plan was for him to take limited snaps as he returned from an ACL injury.
It was still weird.
Last year before that ACL injury, he had played all 872 defensive snaps. And the year before, he missed just two defensive plays throughout the whole season.
Against the Chiefs, McLeod played just 49 of 67 defensive snaps (72%) against the Chiefs.
“Yeah, it was weird,” McLeod said on Thursday. “I think what was comforting to me was understanding that going into it, I knew so I was able to mentally prepare. We kind of scheduled that throughout the week in practice and how it was. I just made the most of my reps. That’s all you can do. I made the most of my opportunities when given.”
While the Eagles’ defense was shredded by Andy Reid’s Chiefs, it was still a big boost to get McLeod back and it’ll give them a big boost going forward.
Not only is McLeod one of their two starting safeties but he’s also one of the captains on that side of the ball and ought to be able to fill some of the leadership void left by Brandon Graham’s injury.
“I think I held up fairly well,” McLeod said. “Most importantly, the goal was to make it out the game completely healthy without any setbacks. I can say that, that happened. Feel good. It was just good to get out there with the guys and just compete. Obviously, the outcome wasn’t what I was hoping for. But personally, I can say I’m in a good step and now it’s just on to the next game.”
As bad as the outcome was from the loss to the Chiefs, McLeod feels like that was about as good a first test as he could have gotten, going against an offense that explosive.
Now that he’s back in the swing of things, we can probably expect McLeod’s role to increase this week against Carolina.
Even though he and fellow starting safety Anthony Harris have a longstanding relationship, they’re still going to have to learn how to play next to each other in Jonathan Gannon’s defense. And they’re going to have to learn it on the fly.
“We sit next to each other in meetings, so we talk ball a lot, which is very helpful,” McLeod said. “We see the game the same. And like I said, I our relationship extends outside of this. It was very easy to kind of get back into the mix and work alongside a guy like Ant. I know we’re only going to build. Chemistry is only going to get better from last game.”
For an Eagles defense that has been gashed recently, getting McLeod and Harris on the field together and for an entire game will be a welcome sight.
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