Philadelphia Eagles: With Graham out, Maddox has no safety net vs Giants

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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With Corey Graham out against the Giants, Avonte Maddox will have no safety net in his second game as the Philadelphia Eagles starting free safety.

In case you haven’t heard, Philadelphia Eagles have found their new starting safety.

After suffering a major blow in Week 3 when Rodney McLeod went down with a season-ending injury, and having an overtime victory against the Tennessee Titans cruelly snatched away where the inconsistent play of his replacement Corey Graham, Jim Schwartz shuffled up his secondary yet again for the Eagles Week 5 bout against the Minnesota Vikings, with rookie Avonte Maddox slotted in across from Malcolm Jenkins.

And in 62 snaps, the most of any player on the team and easily the most of his still young NFL career, the 5-foot-9 fourth-round pick out of Pittsburgh‘s play was surprisingly solid.

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Though he never took a snap at safety in college, Maddox made a name for himself as one of the hardest hitting, most aggressive pound-for-pound corners in college football, finishing out his 43 game career with 183 total tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks to go with eight interceptions.

While he’s certainly an unconventional centerfield safety, currently the shortest safety in Eagles history, Maddox possesses blazing fast 4.39 recovery speed to keep the ball in front of him and should serve as a major upgrade when Schwartz places his outside corners in one-on-one man coverage.

And in the Eagles Week 6 Thursday Night Football battle against the New York Giants, Maddox will once again have his meddle tested, only this time, without a safety net.

According to Ian Rapoport, the Eagles have officially ruled Corey Graham for the game after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 5, leaving the team with only three safeties on their active roster in Jenkins, Maddox, and preseason tradée Deiondre’ Hall, a player who’s yet to record a single defensive snap so far this season.

For Maddox, this will be an intriguing test.

While this isn’t the Giants offense of old, seldom throwing the ball past 20 yards, Odell Beckham‘s recent ESPN feature with Lil Wayne has surprisingly energize his team, with the G-Men’s offense looking noticeably better last week in an ultimately losing effort against the Carolina Panthers.

And speaking of Odell, he’s still a pretty good receiver, right?

With former Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur presumably set to match his All-World receiver up against everyone’s favorite punching bag Jalen Mills one-on-one for much of the game, Maddox will certainly have to provide support over the top and help to take down one of the league’s most elusive receivers.

Talk about a welcome to the NFL moment.

Everything Eagles fans should know for Week 6 meeting with the Giants. dark. Next

So, as the Philadelphia Eagles prepare for a potentially must-win game against the division rival, certainly keep an eye on little number 29 in the back of the secondary, as Avonte Maddox’s play, or lack thereof, could be the deciding factor in whether or not the Jim Schwartz can contain Odell Beckham and the Giants potentially lethal passing attack.