What legends are on Slay's Mt. Rushmore of QBs he's picked off?


Darius Slay loves talking about his Mt. Rushmore of quarterbacks he’s intercepted.

“Right now I’ve got Tom and Drew,” he said, referring – obviously – to Tom Brady and Drew Brees. “I didn’t get to play with (Peyton) Manning because he retired one year later.”

Slay picked off Brady early in 2018 in a 26-10 win over the Patriots in Foxboro. He got Brees at the Superdome in 2017 in a game the Saints won 52-38.

He never did pick Manning, who he faced just once – in a Broncos win over the Lions at Ford Field in 2015, Slay’s third year and Manning’s final season.

“Peyton Manning? That’s my favorite quarterback of all-time all-time,” Slay said. “Peyton Manning was the dude. If I caught one of his? I would have cried. I would have cried. I would have cried, really. I’m not really too emotional, but I would have been emotional that day.”

The fourth QB?

It's Aaron Rodgers, who Slay faced twice a year from 2013 through 2019 and a 15th time in 2020 with the Eagles.

Not a single INT.

The Eagles face Rodgers and the Packers Sunday night at the Linc, and considering Rodgers turns 39 next week and the Eagles and Packers don’t play every year, this could be Slay’s last chance.

“I get a chance to try to get a pick ball to put on my Mt. Rushmore pick ball selection,” Slay said. “The only (active) person I haven’t got is A-Rod. He’s the only one I’m missing. Hope he blesses me with one, but it’s going to be too hard. But if I do, it’s going on my Mt. Rushmore."

How has he faced Rodgers 15 times without picking him off? Slay has 26 career INTs, including six the last two years with the Eagles.

“It’s hard!” Slay said. “It’s so damn hard. I know he ain’t just going to throw it to me. He gave me a game jersey so I might just put the game jersey in place of it if I can’t get it. I’ll probably put the game jersey right there.

“But it’s hard to get ‘em, man. He won’t just throw it to me. I wish he would throw it to me. Some people just throw it to me. He don’t want to throw it to me!"

Rodgers is the NFL record holder in fewest interceptions per pass attempt. He’s thrown 7,494 passes and 100 interceptions, or one INT every 75 pass attempts.

Rodgers has started 217 games and thrown one or no INTs in all but 18 of those games.

“I’ve seen it all,” Slay said. “I’ve gotten torched by him before and I’ve locked him up before so I’ve seen both sides of it.

“He’s an animal. Besides Super Bowls, he’s probably one of the greatest ever at the quarterback position, but of course I’m going with the GOAT himself, Tom Brady, because he finds a way to win (Super Bowls). But from a talent standpoint, A-Rod is a guy that you’d go and create (if you were building a quarterback).”

Rodgers – who won his second straight MVP and fourth overall last year — hasn’t been bad this year, but he hasn’t been vintage Rodgers. All his numbers are well below his career averages – completion percentage, yards per game, yards per attempt, yards per completion, TD ratio, INT ratio, passer rating.

The Packers are an uncharacteristic 4-7 and have lost five of their last six games. This is a franchise that’s had four losing seasons since 1992.

But Slay Rodgers' numbers are more a reflection of the Packers’ inexperienced receivers than Rodgers’ play.

“He’s got younger guys now,” Slay said. “One thing about A-Rod, he’s had relationships with receivers for a long, long time. He had Jordy (Nelson) for 10 years, he had a young Davante (Adams) coming up, (and he) learned from Jordy, now Davante (Adams) becomes the guy who was there eight years. He’s had Randall Cobb, but right now I feel like he doesn’t have that veteran receiver that can teach the young guys what to expect besides Randall Cobb, and he hasn’t been out there for a minute because he's been hurt.

“But when they get it together and understand what A-Rod’s trying to do, they’re going to be very, very (good).

“He’s got new guys, (Allen) Lazard is for sure the leader over there and they’ve got a good group, they’ve got a guy (Christian Watson) that’s big and fast and can stretch the field and they’ve got a veteran over there, too (Sammy Watkins). They’ve got a lot of good things going for them.

“It’s going to be a tough opponent and we’ve got to come in here and execute because A-Rod is one of the best to ever do it, and you can’t go in there slipping or thinking it’s sweet or anything like that because it’s not. This is the type of game that he thrives on. Guys want to make him feel like they’re a lesser team or they’re the underdog? He likes being the underdog, so we’ve got to go out there and hand it to them early because if we don’t, he’ll hand it to us.”

Slay does actually literally have a Mt. Rushmore display at home. Two spots are filled with footballs. Two spots are empty.

“(The Mt. Rushmore balls), I’ve got a nice little barn thing at my house,” he said. “I play my little golf and all my little fun stuff I do at home, it’s right there. So I got my Pro Bowl jerseys and I got them GOAT balls. I only got two. I need that third one.

“A-Rod, give it to me!”

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