Rodney McLeod: Eagles embrace test of defending title

The Philadelphia Eagles soared to their first Super Bowl victory playing the "underdog" card throughout the postseason. They can put the dog masks away. After hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, the hunters became the hunted.

Eagles safety Rodney McLeod told NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Thursday the team knows staying on top is often harder than scaling the mountain.

"It's not going to be easy to win another Super Bowl," he said. "You're going to have a target on your back, but we're going to embrace that. We're going to prepare the same. But I think at the same time, we're a relaxed group. That's the way we play ball."

Much of the past week has been spent analyzing the difference between the Eagles and their Super Bowl counterpart New England Patriots. Philly offensive lineman Lane Johnson called the Patriots players "robots" and said the Eagles' ability to have fun while winning is a superior trait. Longtime Pats great Tedy Bruschi fired back, noting that winning every year is pretty dang fun.

McLeod said the way the Eagles enjoy playing together makes working toward a repeat championship an easier task.

"We enjoy time with one another. Football is fun. It's supposed to be," he said. "I think that's the biggest thing."

McLeod pointed to the way Doug Pederson runs the team to bolster his confidence that the Eagles won't turn into robots after winning the Lombardi Trophy.

"Doug allows us to show our personality. He always says it: 'Show your personality,'" McLeod said. "But we still practice hard, still prepare hard, our focus is always there. We're never comfortable, and we never settle. Teams who get complacent -- in our situation we went on a huge run, we played so many teams, we could start to hear the outside noise, but we didn't let it impact us. We continued to push on. We were motivated to bring this thing home. It's just the way the Eagles play ball. We have fun doing it. We enjoy each other. It's a brotherhood."

Now that fun-loving team must get used to opponents trying to topple them from the throne every week.