Eagles

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

usa-rodney-mcleod-eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

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

Jeff Lurie releases statement in light of NFL's national anthem policy

Jeff Lurie releases statement in light of NFL's national anthem policy

The NFL’s new policy that aims to eliminate on-field demonstrations during the playing of the national anthem has been the biggest news of the day. 

The policy (outlined here) has been met with plenty of reactions, even from a couple notable Eagles players (see story)

On Wednesday evening, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie released the following statement: 

I have always believed it is the responsibility of sports teams to be very proactive in our communities. In this great country of ours, there are so many people who are hurting and marginalized, which is why I am proud of our players for continuously working to influence positive change. Their words and actions have demonstrated not only that they have a great deal of respect for our country, but also that they are committed to finding productive ways to fight social injustice, poverty and other societal issues that are important to all of us. We must continue to work together in creative and dynamic ways to make our communities stronger and better with equal opportunities for all.

Lurie is considered one of the more socially aware owners in the NFL and his players have been very appreciative of his support in the past. Lurie even joined his team on the field during this season in September after President Donald Trump publicly said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now.'"

But this statement doesn’t really answer any questions. 

While it’s noteworthy that Lurie is proud of players who fight for positive change and at least he mentioned the reason players are protesting in the first place, the Eagles’ owner didn’t address any specifics about how the Eagles will address the new anthem policy and possible fines that could be levied by the NFL to the Eagles. Nor did Lurie address if or how the Eagles would discipline players now that the power to do so is in their hands. 

In fact, Lurie didn’t specifically mention the anthem or protests at all. 

It was first reported that the policy passed unanimously, but then it was revealed that 49ers owner Jed York abstained from the vote. Lurie, presumably, voted for the policy. At least we know he didn’t vote against it. 

Earlier in the day, Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said his team would support any players who wanted to protest during the anthem and would not fine them.

Lurie’s statement fell short of answering some important questions. 

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, others react to NFL's national anthem policy

Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, others react to NFL's national anthem policy

Updated: 9:35 p.m.

As expected, the reactions started pouring in Wednesday when the NFL announced its new national anthem policy.

From players to organizations and groups outside of football, many are acknowledging the league's polarizing decision.

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie released a statement Wednesday night (see story). Here's a look at how his team could be affected (see story), while players have started to express their thoughts on the policy.

"Ultimately it is taking the players' voice away," Lane Johnson told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Derrick Gunn. "I think there will be some backlash from their decision."

Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long also released statements on their Twitter accounts.

Here's a look at some of the reactions: