Don’t buy into all of the criticism you keep hearing about Rodney McLeod.
The 2016 season began with quite a few NFL publications stating that the Philadelphia Eagles had on of the best safety tandems in the entire league. When 2016 reached its’ close, Malcolm Jenkins was on the NFL Pro Bowl ballot. His counterpart, Rodney McLeod was seen as a disappointment.
For everything McLeod accomplished during the 2016 regular season, he’s worked his way into the minds of Eagles fans for a different reason. On more than one occasion, McLeod was around the ball and didn’t exactly give what could be called maximum effort. At other times, he was so far out of position that he couldn’t have made a play if he wanted to. The most blaring example came in week 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals. McLeod came face to face with a ball carrier at the goal line. Unfortunately, he pulled up instead of trying to make a play.
Nobody on the Eagles’ roster seemed to be trying against the Bengals. Still, it was McLeod and Zach Ertz who were seen as the poster boys for what went wrong in Cincinnati. Ertz, at one point, was seen in a play where he made no attempt to throw a block on Vontaze Burfict during a Carson Wentz scramble. It didn’t help that the great Merrill Reese and Mike Quick were on the radio call and described the lack of effort shown by both McLeod and Ertz so brilliantly.
McLeod looks to rebuild his reputation, as he enters the second year of a five-year, 37 million dollar deal. The Eagles brought him in to solve their issues at safety. His competitive fire was questioned in his first season with the team. You can expect that to motivate him to play at a higher level in 2017. He’s racked up 328 tackles, intercepted eight passes, forced nine fumbles and recorded a sack during his career. That career started with him being an undrafted free agent. He made that team and became a starter. With that being said, you don’t expect him to believe he’ll fail in Philadelphia do you? You shouldn’t.