Shaq Leonard’s Resurgence Ignites Eagles’ Playoff Push

Shaq Leonard’s Resurgence Ignites Eagles’ Playoff Push

For the first two weeks, Shaq Leonard didn’t look like Shaq Leonard anymore. He looked like a man coming into a new team after two back surgeries, learning a new defense and getting used to new teammates after not playing for a month. Rust has a way of dealing with it.

“I wouldn’t say, ‘It wasn’t me’ — it was me,” Leonard said Thursday. “It was just getting used to everything. I’m getting used to the game and I just want to get better every week. That’s my way of thinking. Every week I got better and better. So I hope I can continue to build on that. Including nine games with the Colts and the first two games with the Eagles, Leonard had no sacks, no quarterback hits and two losses. He had a sack, a quarterback hit and two tackles for loss in Monday’s game against the Giants.

“I felt good, I felt confident,” he said. “It’s a confident feeling going in. I knew the run was good. I knew where they wanted me in the passing game. So I felt good out there and playing. Leonard said he enjoyed the process of learning a new team and not only learning a new defense, but another new defense after Matt Patricia replaced Sean Desai just two weeks after he arrived in Philly.

“I’m just eager to learn and I want to learn,” he said. “For me, man, I love football. So just learning the terminology and things like that, I don’t think it was hard. It was more just trying to figure out where the coaches want you and how they want to play the run. , things like that.

Because football is football. You just have to find out what terminology others use. So that was the hardest part, but other than that it was fun. Leonard is at the center of an intriguing game as the Eagles inch closer to the playoffs. The Eagles’ Opening Day starters were Zach Cunningham and Nakobe Dean, then in Dean’s absence Nicholas Morrow and Cunningham, then Dean and Cunningham, then Morrow and Cunningham, then Morrow and Ellis, then Morrow and Leonard, and last week Leonard and Ben VanSumeren.

Morrow and Cunningham could be back for the Cards on Sunday, so it will be interesting to see who starts and what the rotation looks like. But it is clear that Leonard’s game on Monday against. the giants made that decision a little more difficult.


When Leonard got here, he was asked if he felt he had something to prove to the NFL world. After all, he was a three-time all-pro and a four-time Pro Bowler before his 27th birthday. But two back surgeries derailed his career, ending his tenure with the Colts and ultimately leading to him joining the Eagles.

His answer: “I want to prove to myself that I can still play.” Leonard said it’s too early to answer that definitively. But he feels he is on the right track. “It’s still early,” he said. “I’m going to prove myself, but it’s too early to say I’ve proven it. So I want to continue to build on the game I played last week and go into the offseason and look back and see what I am.” I did it and then I can say if I proved it to myself. But do you feel like you are moving in the right direction? “Actually.”

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