Rodney McLeod is holding the Eagles secondary together

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After slowly settling in during training camp following a season-ending torn MCL in 2018, McLeod picked up his usual high level of play against the Packers in week 4.

When the defense needed a guy to step up, the 8-year veteran did exactly that. Against Aaron Rodgers at his best, McLeod was a vital cog in the 2 redzone stops that ultimately sealed a victory for the birds.

A tackling machine

What stood out the most about McLeod was his continuous textbook pursuit of ball carriers, both on quick passes to the flat, on jet sweeps, where e.g. Davante Adams came into open-field, as well as a key QB zone-read by Rodgers at the goal line.

In all cases, McLeod never found himself in bad angles this game, which is evident by his 10 tackles and 0 missed tackles. Even more impressive is it, when you factor in his closing speed.

For the second time this season, McLeod finished with an elite tackle grade of 85.0 or higher.

Given that Davante Adams ripped the cornerbacks to shreds in the first half and Aaron Rodgers was 20 yards away from a 500-yard game, McLeod’s reliability as the last line of defense may well have been the difference.

Solidifying the coverage

While McLeod is the better tackling defensive back on Eagles roster, the veteran still needs to find his groove in coverage.

He had flashes against the Packers, e.g. on the goal line where he denied a fade pass to Jimmy Graham. However, consistency remains the key.

For a guy who has been in the elite ranks in terms of coverage for the past few years, he averages a mere 65.1 in coverage, giving up 83.3 % of passes thrown his way, with only 1 pass breakup, and is allowing a QB rating of 146.5 when targeted.

Tune up game vs Jets

Whether it will be Luke Falk or Sam “mono” Darnold, week 5 should be a great opportunity for McLeod to step up into his usual role in coverage, while remaining an elite tackler.

The Eagles will need it, too. Not only is their secondary riddled with the injury bug for the second consecuvitve year, but they take on Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, as well as Amari Cooper in the next few weeks.

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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