During Thursday morning’s presser with Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, while talking about Avonte Maddox someone’s name got mentioned that you may not have thought about for a while.
It’s almost impossible not to do if you’re any kind of sports fan. We often look at current players and compare them to others of the past. Every great NBA star gets compared to Michael Jordan. Great corners in the NFL mimic Deion Sanders. Then, there’s guys like Philadelphia Eagles rookie Avonte Maddox. On Thursday, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz addressed the media, and drew a very interesting parallel between Maddox and one of his former players.
Does anyone remember Cortland Finnegan?
Most of you, upon hearing that name will probably immediately flash back to his fight with Andre Johnson, but what gets lost in the former Tennessee Titan‘s antics was the fact that he was a very versatile and decent player for a while.
For some reason, despite the fact that he could have been very likable, he just wanted to be the bad guy. He even was once quoted as saying that he wanted to be known as the dirtiest player in the NFL.
If you’ve ever spent any time in a locker room you’ve probably heard that the most important thing about someone’s perception is how their team views them. With that being said, it was hard to find any of Finnegan’s teammates who disliked him or didn’t mind playing with him.
His versatility made him successful early, and that’s where Schwartz, who coached Finnegan in Tennessee saw a very real parallel.
Apparently he sees a lot of Finnegan’s good qualities in Avonte Maddox.
"I had ‘Finney’ early. Well, it was the first couple of years of his career in Tennessee. (He) came in and played nickel and then moved outside to corner. (He) could switch back and forth. He was a good tackler. He had speed, similar size… Finnegan didn’t play safety for us, but he played safety in college so he had a lot of those same kind of attributes… I don’t look at (his versatility) as a problem with Avonte. We’ll figure out what’s best for him, what’s best for us over the course of his career, but that flexibility is very helpful from a defensive standpoint."
Most of us would agree, but even if you don’t understand scheme or what a ‘cover 2’ defense is, we all can use the eyeball test. In doing so, we see Maddox making plays game after game.
The jury may be out on a lot of these guys, but regardless of where you put Maddox or what you ask him to do, he just gets it. Philly got a steal in the fourth round, and it’s going to be a joy to watch this guy play for a while.