Philadelphia Eagles: Wake up Rodney McLeod, September’s over

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite finally making it back onto the practice field after a summer spent on the PUP List, Rodney McLeod remained on the Philadelphia Eagles‘ inactive list when they took the show on the road down to Big D to face off against their division archrival.

Surprising? Eh, sort of. McLeod was never a full-on go at practice at any point up to that point, and expecting him to suddenly go from 0-60 on a few days’ notice probably wasn’t realistic.

But after watching both Marcus Epps and K’Von Wallace suffer injuries of varying degrees versus the Falcons and Cowboys respectfully, its clear McLeod return can not come soon enough, as soon, the team will be forced to rely on practice squad call up like Elijah Riley or even college safety Jacoby Stevens to have enough bodies to field a competent back-end rotation.

Well fear not, Philadelphia Eagles fans; while there’s no guarantee Rodney McLeod will be on the field to face off against Andy Reid and the Kansas City Cheifs, he’s at least back on the practice field as a full-time participant for the first time all season, which is progress worth celebrating.

The Philadelphia Eagles could really use Rodney McLeod right about now.

What do Anthony Harris, Marcus Epps, and K’Von Wallace have in common?

Well, for one, they are all employed by the Philadelphia Eagles. They also all play safety, can play either safety position in a two-deep look, and have at least one start for the Birds this season.

Another trait all three share? They haven’t played particularly well for the Eagles this season.

One of the team’s premier free agency additions of the 2021 offseason, Harris was supposed to both be a bargain bin diamond in the rough and a player capable of outperforming his predecessor, Jalen Mills, despite playing on a one-year contract worth $5 million versus a four-year deal worth $24 million.

So far, Harris has played every snap for the Eagles but hasn’t been quite as advertised in terms of playmaking ability. If anything, Harris has largely underperformed versus expectations despite having six seasons of experience in the Minnesota scheme Jonathan Gannon cut his teeth in. He’s been out-of-position a whole lot more than one would expect from a seventh-year NFL vet and, despite playing in the box more than during his time in Minnesota, hasn’t been particularly useful against the run or opposing tight ends.

And then there’s Epps, who is putting together arguably his best season as a pro in the Phillysota defense. While Epps has received his fair share of flack over the years for some particularly maddening plays on his resume, he’s largely put himself in the best position to succeed when on the field and has proven to be the Eagles’ hardest-hitting safety.

On Wednesday, Epps was a limited participant at practice and could ultimately end up on the inactive list for Week 4 if he suffers any sort of setback.

Even Wallace, the only safety on the Eagles’ roster with multiple years left on his contract, has been incredibly uneven when given the runway to spread his wings, as he recorded a brutal unnecessary roughness penalty in Week 2 that nullified a fumble recovery and “wiped the air” out of Fletcher Cox.

While Wallace looked a bit better versus the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3, he suffered a separated shoulder that sent him on a one-way trip to IR and thus won’t be back on the field anytime soon.

If Rodney McLeod isn’t really to go for Week 4, the Eagles really will have to rely on Elijah Riley as at best their third-string center and at best starting opposite Harris in the Philadelphia Eagles’ starting lineup if Epps is also out.

Boy oh boy, no pressure, right?

dark. Next. Shane Steichen should place a call to Forrest Lamp

Since officially trimming their roster down to 53, the Philadelphia Eagles have placed seven different players on IR. Their active roster currently sits at 51 and they will likely address those vacant roster spots with somebody before the Kansas City Cheifs make their way to the City of Brotherly Love for a showdown between 1-2 teams. Will one of those players be a safety? Hopefully so, but no practice squad signee or open market acquisition could match up to getting Rodney McLeod back on the field. After an ugly end to the month of September, what more could Eagles fans ask for than reinforcements in their defensive secondary?