Maxwell puts rough debut behind him
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Byron Maxwell found out being the man isn't quite that easy.
When the Philadelphia Eagles gave Maxwell a $63 million contract to strengthen a weak secondary, critics wondered if they overpaid for a guy who started only 17 games in four seasons with Seattle.
One game is way too soon to pass judgment, but things didn't go Maxwell's way in a 26-24 loss at Atlanta. Julio Jones and Roddy White combined for 10 catches and 179 yards against him.
''My technique was bad on a couple of the big plays. It definitely could have been better,'' Maxwell said.
Jones had eight catches and two touchdowns in the first half. His only catch in the second half was a big one. He beat Maxwell for a 44-yard reception on the drive that led to the go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter.
''I should have shocked him, and I didn't,'' Maxwell said. ''You go back to the drawing board, always correct yourself, basically. It's definitely something I can fix.''
There's no time for on-the-job training in Philadelphia where the fans demand more, especially from a guy getting paid to be a shutdown cornerback. Maxwell heard plenty of criticism this week. He gets a break Sunday when the Eagles (0-1) host Dallas (1-0) minus injured All-Pro receiver Dez Bryant.
''Obviously, you hear about it, but you can't let it get to you,'' Maxwell said. ''You have to be a professional and go out and do your job. I understand that's what it's going to be. They're going to react like that. They're going to love you when you do well and hate you when it goes the other way. That's part of the business that we're in. You've got to take one on the chin and keep moving. Keep going. You can't let it bother you too much.''
Maxwell played in a star-studded secondary on the Seahawks with All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman, All-Pro safety Earl Thomas and Pro Bowl safety Kam Chancellor. He was a sixth-round pick who didn't become a starter until late in his third season. Yet, the Eagles gave him $25 million guaranteed over the first three years of a six-year deal.
If he doesn't prove he deserved it quickly, he'll hear plenty about it.
NEW MAN IN CHARGE: Safety Chris Maragos, a special-teams ace, was on the field for 36 snaps against the Falcons. He played 15 snaps on defense the entire 2014 season. Defensive coordinator Billy Davis said Maragos did a good job ''quarterbacking'' the defense. Davis wanted a veteran in the secondary in nickel situations when safety Malcolm Jenkins played slot cornerback.
''He's just gotten better,'' coach Chip Kelly said of Maragos. ''We talked to him last year about: `Don't sell yourself short as a defensive back because we think there's potential for you there and I think he's done that.''
MISSING PERSON: Linebacker Marcus Smith was inactive for the opener after missing most of the preseason with a hamstring injury. Smith said he feels better and is ready to go, but Kelly isn't sure when he'll play. Smith, a first-round pick last year, played just 68 snaps his rookie season.
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