Eagles Wake-Up Call: Matthews Vs. Maxwell
During a seven-on-seven period Tuesday, Jordan Matthews lined up on the outside opposite Byron Maxwell.
The defense simulated a blitz, and Mark Sanchez got rid of the ball quickly, targeting Matthews on a fade down the right sideline.
The second-year receiver tracked the ball beautifully and came down with an over-the-shoulder grab for a big play.
“I already turned the page,” Matthews said afterwards when reminded of the grab. “Don’t worry about that.”
Last year, in the four weeks leading up to the Seahawks game, Matthews had averaged 93.3 yards with four touchdowns. But against Seattle, Maxwell shut him down (two catches for 23 yards). It was the first time in eight games that he failed to notch a catch of 20+ yards.
Matthews remembers that game well and is embracing the opportunity to go up against Maxwell on a daily basis.
“He’s been kicking my butt out here,” Matthews said. “It’s great for me to come out here and actually be able to compete against him. Last year, if anyone asked me who was the hardest corner I went against, easily No. 41 from the Seahawks. Easily. And then I turn on my TV, and he’s on my team.”
While Matthews got the better of Maxwell on the one play down the sideline, the veteran corner got him back later during seven-on-sevens. Maxwell jumped a comeback route, and both players fought to the ground for the ball, but it looked like an interception.
Asked what specifically makes Maxwell so good, Matthews said: “Patience. He knows he has a great body. He knows he has long arms. He’s got a big frame. So he doesn’t let anything tip him off. He’s not gonna turn his shoulders too quick. He’s gonna wait until you declare, and then he’s gonna use his strength. The dude’s one of the most patient guys I’ve ever watched.
“And then when you go watch him on film, even studying the games up to when we played him, it seemed like he never got rattled. Whether a play was made on him, he’d stay in the game. I remember the Green Bay game I was watching, Jordy Nelson looked like he was having some production against him. Then late in the third or fourth quarter, slant comes, boom, he gets the interception. I swear his demeanor never changed the entire game. And that’s the type of consistency and guys you need in this locker room because I’m even learning from him on the offensive side.”
It’ll be a matchup to watch all summer. Matthews is trying to build on an impressive rookie campaign. Maxwell’s looking to prove he can thrive away from Seattle and is worth the $25 million guaranteed he got this offseason.
WHAT YOU MISSED
“I am the new prototype.” Mychal Kendricks speaks on trade rumors, his future with the Eagles.
First impressions of Nelson Agholor, Sam Bradford’s recovery and more in yesterday’s running diary of Eagles practice observations.
From Brandon Boykin’s coverage stats to Chip Kelly’s (lack of) aggressiveness to Zach Ertz’s targets, here are three Eagles numbers that matter.
If you haven’t already, be sure to preorder your Eagles Almanac now.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Good stuff from Matt Mullin of the Philly Voice on Brian Dawkins:
“It was definitely a mistake,” he said of the team’s decision to part ways after 13 seasons. “You can say business is business, and sometimes things in business happen. But that, what happened, that wasn’t business. That wasn’t business. That team, my teammates, the city meant too much to me to do something crazy, to ask for crazy money.”
It was tough for Dawkins. Tough to feel slighted by an organization for which you literally sacrificed your body week in and week out. Tough to uproot his family and move to a new city. Tough to leave your friends and coworkers behind.
“But, ugh, the way it went down, it should not have gone down that way,” he continued. “And, you know, because of it, I had to leave a place that I called home. I had to leave a place that I loved being. It took me a bit, man, to get over it. And not completely over it, but over it enough to keep my emotions in check so that I could be everything that I could be for my teammates — my new teammates.
Brent Cohen of Eagles Rewind tries to project how much longer Jason Peters can play at a high level:
Jason Peters is entering his Age 33 season. The 15 tackles I looked at, on average, recorded an Approximate Value in that season of just 73% of their age 32 season. Also note that by age 36, just 4 of the 15 players were still playing, and beyond that, only Lomas Brown continued.
This is obviously a very rough analysis. OL contributions are very difficult to quantify and Approximate Value isn’t a perfect statistic. Also note that Jason Peters’ AV last season was 12. Just 60% of that would still result in an AV of 7.2. By comparison, Lane Johnson’s average AV over the past two years is 7. The takeaway is that even if Jason Peters follows the above progression exactly, he can still be a decent contributor for another year or two. Expecting much beyond that, however, seems irrational.
We’ll catch up with assistant coaches this afternoon.