Is it his Seattle swagger seeping through? Or is it an undeniable instinct to share thatthe Eagles are really better than many pundits say?
It doesn’t matter what you think — Byron Maxwell is sticking with his guns. The Eagles’ confidence is sky high and Maxwell wants Eagles fans, and the rest of the NFL to know it.
“Everybody has that,” the Eagles No. 1 cornerback said after OTAs Tuesday. “I don’t think it’s just one person believing that I thinkeverybody is believing that. It’s our year, we truly believe that in the locker room. You can say that as a guarantee but I believe it, it’s confidence.”
Last week, Maxwell told reporters of winning the Super Bowl next season that, “You can take that as a guarantee. That’s just me believing in my team and the product we’re going to put out there on the field. I really do believe that.”
The 2014 Super Bowl champion with the Seahawks wasn’t under the same level of scrutiny in the small market of Seattle. But he knew the risks before he made his bold statement.
“They warned me, the Philadelphia media and what comes along with it,” Maxwell joked. “I was a little surprised but I kind of expected it.”
Is it all confidence or is it some residual swagger left behind from playing with the best defense in football, the Legion of Doom for so long?
“I think that’s just in me,” he said.”Maybe it is a little bit of Seattle, Pete Carroll may have brain washed me.”
And even though the team has lost several key pieces during the offseason and has yet to see practice reps from their supposed starting quarterback (Sam Bradford was active in practice and ran 7-on-7 drills), the rest of the Eagles have the same high expectations Maxwell does.
“It’s our motivation this year,” second-year wide receiver Josh Huff said.”We missed the playoffs by a game and we were dead last in the league (in turnovers) we need to take care of the ball. If the defense causes more turnovers we can get to the playoffs and make a deep run. That’s our motivation on the offensive side of the ball.”
Another member of the Birds’ secondary, the on-field and lockerroom leader Malcolm Jenkins knows what it takes to win a Super Bowl too. He did it back in 2009 with the Saints and sees this year’s Eagles squad up to the task. They have the high confidence that success in the NFL demands.
“I think the guys who are here know what it takes,” Jenkins said, “and have seen where we have fallen short and know what to improve, and that confidence level, having the ability and the talent. I think all the guys we have accumulated are winners and have either won a Super Bowl or know what it takes to be a great player at their position. That spreads to all the guys who are trying tolearn.”
It starts with Chip Kelly and echoes through the roster. Winning with hard work, the right attitude and character is perhaps an easier path than one that relies on raw talent. It was reflected by the Eagles’ offseason moves and is also reflected on the practice field.
“The more guys you get with that confidence, the better your team is,” Jenkins said. “I think everybody fully believes in the players we have andthe process we have. Right now all you can do is trust the plan and if that plan isn’t to get to the Super Bowl we need a new plan.”