ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) The Los Angeles Rams always had the talent to succeed.
Defensive end Chris Long and safety Rodney McLeod knew when they played for the franchise in St. Louis. As members of the Philadelphia Eagles, Long and McLeod will try to interrupt Rams' change when the division's two leaders meet on Sunday.
"I do not wish you luck this Sunday, but when I see you succeeding, I just feel right about it, it's a good feeling," Long said Wednesday after the Eagles practiced at Angel Stadium.
McLeod and Long saw their time as Rams finish after the 2015 season before the team returned to Los Angeles. McLeod signed a five-year contract in free agency with the Eagles. Long was cut after eight seasons when injuries began to limit his effectiveness.
The decision allowed Long to join the New England Patriots last season and finally enjoy the post-season success that eluded him with the Rams, eventually winning a Super Bowl ring.
Neither Long nor McLeod regret not being able to be with the Rams when they finally broke through.
"I'm very lucky to be where I am today," Long said. "I was very lucky to be where I was last year, and those things do not happen if I do not get hurt."
"Obviously, I would have loved (the current success) to happen when I was there, but I am happy where I am and I have many guys that I know there, very happy for them," said McLeod. "They are playing well and we will have to bring our game to Sunday."
That means strengthening on third chance and in the red zone. The Seattle Seahawks scored touchdowns on all three of their trips inside the 20-yard line and went 6-for-12 on third down in a 24-10 win on Sunday night that ended the Eagles' nine-game winning streak. That kind of crisis can not occur against an upstart Rams offensive.
McLeod is impressed with the way that Rams head coach Sean McVay has reinvigorated the offense, especially with his use of running back Todd Gurley in the pbading game. Gurley had 21 receptions for 188 yards when he was McLeod's teammate in 2015, but has set personal records with 48 receptions for 563 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Wide receiver Torrey Smith, another familiar Eagle with the Rams after spending the past two seasons with NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers, sees an offense that is finally becoming a worthy teammate of defense of elite in Los Angeles.
"Well, for me, the Rams have always had a Super Bowl-caliber defense, the offense has always been bullish and now that's not the case," Smith said. "They are dancing on both sides of the ball." They are a very dangerous team, they are very talented and they play very well. "
Long is eager to see old friends who are the pillars of the Rams' defense, he could be the only Eagle excited to see defensive tackles Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers and outside linebacker Robert Quinn, who have combined for 15.5 sacks and 26 tackles for the loss.
"They deserve it," Long said. "Aaron, since he's been in the league, has been one of the best players, period. Rob has been a first level edge rider. They were playing many years losing soccer teams, so we're happy to see them win. "
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