Byron Maxwell Getting More Comfortable in Eagles Defense
No, Byron Maxwell isn't the shutdown, lockdown corner Eagles fans were hoping for when he signed a six-year, $63 million contract which contains $25 million in guaranteed money.
The first-year Eagles cornerback certainly got off to a rough start during the opener in Atlanta, but since that night has showed signs of improvement. The Eagles wanted Maxwell to work on his technique, and wanted to expand his role, something defensive coordinator Billy Davis says they cut back on.
"Well, I think it's probably just keep him in less of -- I really had an expanded role, I had him doing a lot of different things," Davis admitted. "I think by limiting that and letting him settle into the defense first before he moved too fast forward, is benefitting him. And again, it's a learning process-- all free agents, I don't care how long they have been in the league, there's a learning curve from the coaches learning the player and the player learning the system, and I think we are going in a great direction with Max on that."
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The technique that Philadelphia instructs its cornerbacks to play – which is more a a man-to-man style – is much different than what Maxwell is accustomed to from his previous NFL stops in Seattle. Davis admitted earlier this season that Maxwell struggled grasping the technique, but he says he thinks he is coming along nicely in recent weeks.
"Every week he's gotten better," Davis explained. "The first week, I think – the expectations are so high when you sign a contract like that. I think right now, he's feeling comfortable in our system; I think we are using him. I'm learning him, we are learning him, and we are using him in the best way, and I think every week, you'll see him climb and climb and be better and better."
Maxwell suffered a bruised quad early in the team's loss to Washington. The following week of practice, Maxwell claimed he couldn't "really run" but came back and played well in the game against the Saints.
But entering that game with the Saints, Maxwell had graded out as one of the worst corners in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, he was the 95th ranked cornerback out of 104 qualifiers - but Davis didn't see the injury holding him back.
"I don't think his injury was a factor at all," Davis said. "I think Max played pretty well; it was probably one of his better games. I think there were two shallow crossing routes that they caught on him, but that was about it. Didn't throw at him a whole lot which sometimes as a corner, that's good, it's a good game. But he's getting better and I don't think his injury affected him much. You would have to ask him; I didn't hear anything about it or see anything visually."