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Players Credit Nick Sirianni for Sticking Together Through Adversity

Turning around a 2-5 record needs more than just coaching, however, it needs leadership from its veterans, too
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PHILADELPHIA – Just hours after Rodney McLeod said the Eagles were running out of time to turn around their season, he and his teammates were at 36,000 feet flying back to Philadelphia and re-watching the ugly scene that had transpired earlier at Allegiant Stadium.

“We were able to watch the game together right there in that moment and unfortunately, we had four hours to do that and we tried to talk about some of the corrections that are needed, maybe things we need to improve on but just being critical with ourselves in that moment,” said the Eagles safety on Thursday. 

“All of it wasn't ball, of course, It's just another time to bond and hang out and just say 'how we gonna fix these things and how to get a win on Sunday?'"

After the Eagles’ lost 33-22 in a game that was far from that close against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, McLeod said: “Time’s running out. Time’s running out. We’re at a point in the season where we’re 2-5.

"Of course, we didn’t want to be in this position, but obviously, time is running out. We have to make a stand and we have to make a push.”

The push has to begin on Sunday (1 p.m./FOX) against the winless Detroit Lions at Ford Field in the heart of the Motor City.

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It’s moments like the plane ride home, however, that illustrates how the Eagles are buying into their head coach's messaging.

The players had no problem with ick Sirianni using the flower image about growing strong roots with watering and fertilizing a day earlier.

“He has meaningful ways of how he tells his stories,” said CB Avonte Maddox. “The way he tells them is just like they resonate for a longer time. You always don’t want to listen to them and know the football terms, but he’ll see it in a different way and you’re like. ‘Oh, I never looked at it that way,’ so it’s good for us to hear it a different way because it sits in your mind a little bit longer and after you think about it, you’re like, ‘Huh, it does kind of make sense.’

“He always has his way of doing things. The main thing is we’re still here, we’re still working together, we’re still trusting them, they’re still trusting us, and that’s the big picture there.

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"Other than that, the way he tells his stories and different types of stories, I feel they’re definitely meaningful in different ways other than just football.”

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Added tight end Jack Stoll: “Regardless of what he’s talking about he finds a way to get everyone going. Everyone buys in at all those stories, regardless of how he says it, he just has a way of getting everyone going and everyone buys in.

“I don’t have anything else to compare it to at this level, but that’s the kind of head ball coach I want is someone who can rally the troops and really get us going and steer everyone in the right direction.”

Still, leadership has to come from the locker room, especially when times are tough. And times are tough.

Specifically, leadership must come from veteran players.

“A lot of us had conversations on the flight but we showed up here (Wednesday) ready to work and you can see that from walkthroughs (Thursday) and I know that's going to carry over to practice so it's just now that we have to go out there and put it all on the line on Sunday knowing that Detroit's a good team even though that haven't won any games," said McLeod.

“They're facing adversity too so they're a good team and we're going to have to fight to the end and we're going to have to battle but I like the guys that we have."

McLeod is one of the leaders that must keep things together, along with other veterans such as Jason Kelce, Darius Slay, and Fletcher Cox, who already showed his distaste for defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s scheme in the aftermath of Sunday’s loss.

Their involvement would certainly help a rookie head coach face some serious adversity so early in his coaching career.

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Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.