The Eagles have added yet another weapon to a defense that could be coming together at the right time. Following their huge loss to the 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles have signed LB Shaquille Leonard after he passed through waivers unclaimed. Howie Roseman does it again as he continues to find ways to add to this already stacked roster. This move came just in time as the Eagles are preparing to face the Cowboys at the end of this tough stretch of games.
Leonard was recently waived by the Indianapolis Colts on the day before Thanksgiving. After spending the last six seasons of his career with Indy, Leonard will get a fresh start with a team that needs a man of his caliber. He racked up 614 tackles, 15 sacks, 17 forced fumbles, and 12 interceptions during his enitre career with the Colts. Leonard’s off the field efforts were just as important as he was a staple for the community. He was actually waived on a day where he was passing out turkeys for the people in his community.
Indy moved on due to the young talent that they currently have at the linebacker position on top of the fact that Leonard didn’t really fit the scheme that Gus Bradley was running. He’s been a leader for the Colts organization for nearly his entire career so this move was a bit of a head scratcher but as the saying goes one team’s trash is another team’s treasure.
After missing most of last season due to an injury, Leonard played in 9 games this season and posted 65 tackles with 2 tackles for loss while allowing a 63.6% completion percentage against him. He has only allowed 129 passing yards against him so far this season and could prove to be some much needed help in the middle of the field for the defense.
Boosting the Eagles’ LB core
Leonard will be joining a linebacker core that is truly just Zach Cunningham and Nicholas Morrow at the moment with Nakobe Dean on IR. Now with Cunningham expected to miss some time due to a hamstring injury, Leonard’s signing came at a perfect time. I’m sure it’ll take some time to get him acclimated to the scheme that Desai runs but don’t assume that it’ll take long. He’ll be surrounded by season vets such a Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Kevin Byard that can help bring him along quickly.
While we haven’t seen him at his best over the last season and a half, I’m sure the change of scenery will help Leonard feel rejuvenated. Especially with him being reunited with a former coordinator of the Colts and now head coach of the Eagles, Nick Sirianni. Leonard left Dallas after a visit with the Cowboys on Tuesday and met with the Eagles on Wednesday where he made his decision to sign. All in all this was a great pickup for the Eagles as they need all the help that they can get in the second half of the season.
AP Photo/Martin Meissner