The double moves are coming Sunday.
Avonte Maddox knows it.
He saw them in Chicago and he's going to see them in New Orleans.
His challenge is staying aggressive but not biting.
“Definitely, definitely, I know it’s coming,” Maddox said with a laugh. “Copy-cat league. I already know it. And they already ran a lot of double moves before that anyway.”
Maddox, a rookie fourth-round pick playing in his first career playoff game, was on his way to a terrific game Sunday when the Bears starting attacking him with Allen Robinson and double moves.
One of the reasons the Eagles had to hang on for dear life at the end of the game.
Chalk it up to another learning experience in a season full of them for the 22-year-old Maddox.
Better eyes, better eyes, definitely. Double moves are going to come, you just have to have better eyes. Still going to play the exact way I’m going to play and I’m going to compete. I’ll be definitely fine. I’m going to keep playing how I play, I’m not going to change anything about it. Once I get my eyes square, definitely I’ll be good.
In other words, Maddox doesn’t plan on being any less aggressive, even after Robinson got him for 10 catches for 143 yards Sunday — 121 of those yards after halftime.
The 143 yards are a Bears postseason record and third-most ever against the Eagles in a playoff game — Larry Fitzgerald and Danny Amendola had 152 apiece.
He’s an aggressive guy,” Malcolm Jenkins said. “We saw last week they double-moved him probably three times. That’s a sign that you’re challenging everything else, we need to get you to soften up. So now he’s learning how to pick and choose his spots. But that’s a sign of respect, if teams are trying to double-move you all the time.
It’s been an eye-opening season for Maddox.
He began training camp buried behind Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones in the Eagles' cornerback hierarchy and didn’t play a snap on defense the first few weeks of the season, then bounced from nickel to safety to outside corner while the Eagles played through a crazy rash of d-back injuries. After missing three games, he's returning in time for the Rams game and settled into outside corner.
That's where he’s started the last four games. All wins.
He's found a home.
What’s just as impressive as Maddox’s playmaking is his confidence and his ability to shrug off the inevitable mistakes any rookie corner makes.
It’s football. You play corner you’re not going to be perfect and certain things are going to happen. It’s all about how short your memory is and mine is short. If somebody makes a play, they’re one of the top athletes in the world too. When those times happen it’s what you do the next play to make up for it. I definitely don’t dwell it. Never let it (get to me).
One of the biggest stories of the Eagles’ remarkable season is the progress their young defensive backs have made.
When the Eagles went into Week 4, Maddox hadn’t played a snap on defense, Cre’Von LeBlanc was on the Lions’ practice squad and Rasul Douglas had played six of a possible 187 defensive plays.
Now they’re the three primary corners on a team playing for a berth in the NFC Championship Game.
And Maddox has been as impressive as any of them.
“Just tremendous growth,” Jenkins said. “His playmaking ability has been evident since he stepped on the field, but he’s now started for us at three different spots - safety, nickel and corner - and you think about it -- he’s still a rookie, and he’s still making plays at all these different spots. For us it’s been a pleasant surprise, and he’s still learning things.”
Who starts where next year? There are a ton of different directions the Eagles can go.
But whatever happens, it’s a lock Maddox will be a big part of it.
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