Eagles Protect Pro Bowl RB, Starter Returns to Practice

Rodney McLeod

Getty Eagles defenders Rodney McLeod, Avonte Maddox, K'Von Wallace celebrate after a turnover in 2020.

The Philadelphia Eagles are likely to be without starting left tackle Jordan Mailata for a second straight week. The massive Aussie missed practice on Wednesday (Sept. 29) and Andre Dillard once again took the first-team reps.

Dillard, the 22nd overall pick in 2019, held his own during his 2021 season debut against the Dallas Cowboys. He earned a 77.4 overall grade from Pro Football Focus on 53 pass-blocking snaps. He was the second-highest-graded offensive player behind Jason Kelce (77.6). Dillard was flagged for two penalties and struggled a bit in run-blocking situations. He’ll look to pad his stats in Week 4.

Four Eagles players were “limited participants” at practice: OL Landon Dickerson (hip), S Marcus Epps (shoulder), T Lane Johnson (ankle), C Jason Kelce (foot/rest). Meanwhile, starting safety Rodney McLeod was listed as a “full participant” and on track to make his first start of the 2021 campaign.

McLeod should boost a deflated Eagles defense that surrendered 380 total yards of offense to Dallas, including a dizzying 220 through the air. The secondary needs their captain back.

“The attitude and the demeanor of our team was good. There was no finger pointing,” defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon told reporters on Sept. 29. “It was, ‘Hey, what do we got to do to get better so we can put ourselves in position to win a game?’ So, it was good to get back on the grass in the walk-through and we got practice coming up here, but good to get back in the saddle and get going again.”

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Eagles Protect Jordan Howard

The Eagles protected Jordan Howard on the practice squad for the first time. The one-time Pro Bowl running back had been out there for anyone to poach in recent weeks. No one did. It’s unclear whether he’ll be called up to the active roster for Week 4. Other players protected included T Kayode Awosika, WR John Hightower, DB Elijah Riley.

Head coach Nick Sirianni has been taking a lot of heat for not running the ball in Week 3. He called three designed running plays all game: two rushes for Miles Sanders, one for Kenneth Gainwell. That was it.

“Again, I do need to do a better job running the football,” Sirianni said. “There’s no question about that. We need to be able to do that to help us be a balanced team and help us win football games.”

The Eagles also made the following moves:

Talking to Owner Jeffrey Lurie

Former Eagles head coach Doug Pederson — the only one to win a Super Bowl – was forced to meet with team owner and general manager Howie Roseman every Tuesday in a formal setting. They would discuss the gameplan and personnel, per reports. That’s not case with Sirianni.

The first-year coach said he talks to Lurie all the time at practice. However, there is no standing weekly meeting on the books.

“We talk all the time,” Sirianni said. “This is an awesome organization in the sense that Mr. Lurie is at practice all the time, so I get to talk to him every day at practice. As far as a scheduled meeting, no, there’s no scheduled meeting.”

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