Rodney McLeod Ruled Out for Eagles, LB Questionable

Rodney McLeod, Avonte Maddox

Getty Strong safety Rodney McLeod and nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox will have big roles on the Eagles' defense in 2021.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni answered the two biggest injury questions on Friday ahead of the team’s final practice before Week 1. Starting safety Rodney McLeod has been ruled out and starting right guard Brandon Brooks will play.

The Eagles kick off the Sirianni era on Sunday, September 12, at 1 p.m. on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. The team had been holding out hope that McLeod could go in the season opener after the defensive captain strung together a great week of practices.

But no one wanted to risk the possibility of the 31-year-old causing harm to his surgically repaired left knee, especially not after McLeod dealt with ACL and MCL tears in his right knee in 2018. He’ll sit this one out, according to Sirianni. Marcus Epps is expected to start for McLeod, with K’Von Wallace backing him up. Anthony Harris is the starting free safety.

Meanwhile, Brooks will be out there in his usual spot next to Lane Johnson in Week 1. The Eagles should have one of the best offensive lines in football as everyone starts the year at full health, including their new blonde bombshell Jason Kelce. Brooks had been fighting through a hamstring issue at the start of training camp, then hurt his knee the other day at practice. It doesn’t appear to be anything serious, although worth monitoring considering Brooks’ extensive injury history.

Rookie second-rounder Landon Dickerson (knee) was also ruled out for Sunday so the backup center spot falls on Nate Herbig. Second-year linebacker Davion Taylor (calf) has been listed questionable following limited participation all week.

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Avonte Maddox Says McLeod ‘Moving Well’

Avonte Maddox – McLeod’s teammate in the secondary – was asked to provide an update on how the safety looked on the practice field. The nickel cornerback said McLeod was “moving really well” and shouting out instructions to the younger guys. He takes his leadership role seriously after being named team captain for a second straight season.

“I’ve been watching him in practice all week and he’s moving really well,” Maddox told reporters. “And I’m always out there screaming, ‘OK Rod, I see you’ so he definitely still has the energy. He’s our captain so he holds himself accountable so as many reps and things as he can get he tries to do, and he goes hard trying to help us out.”

Maddox is transitioning back to the slot after starting at outside cornerback in 2020. He looks much more comfortable out there and may even get a chance to blitz more in new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s aggressive scheme.

“Everybody loves to blitz, I just do whatever I’m told,” Maddox said. “I’m willing to play whatever play is called, and execute my position.”

Eagles Wearing Midnight Green on Sunday

The Eagles are going with their midnight green uniforms in the regular-season opener. They’ll be wearing white pants and black stripes down the side.

The team also released an epic hype video ahead of Week 1 which pays homage to their indelible rallying cry of “Go Birds.” Jason Kelce starts the fun off by going outside to grab his newspaper, then Brandon Graham and Lane Johnson yell the catch phrase. Later, actor/comedian Kevin Hart makes a cameo. It’s pure Philadelphia.

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