Byron Maxwell does not hold any ill will toward Chip Kelly despite his shaky 2015 season in Philadelphia. Instead, the Dolphins‘ top cornerback observed a dysfunctional defense, one that ranked 30th last season.
“We weren’t communicating on defense. Our defense just wasn’t good,” Maxwell said, via James Walker of ESPN.com. “Our red zone defense sucked. We just wasn’t good. We just didn’t have the chemistry and the fight for each other that I’m on now [with Miami].”
Thanks to Kelly’s “life-changing” investment in Maxwell during the coach’s one year of NFL personnel control, the sixth-year corner is in Year 2 of a six-year, $63MM deal as his former coach’s team comes to Miami. Maxwell does not doubt Kelly’s football acumen like some of the jettisoned Eagles have, but Kelly’s obviously ventured back into embattled territory thanks to the 49ers’ nine-game losing streak.
“Chip is a good dude. He was a good man,” Maxwell said. “He’s a very smart guy. … He believed in me, that I could be the guy. It didn’t work out, but it taught me a lot.”
Here’s more from around the league during November’s final week of games.
- Instead of using their projected $64MM in 2017 cap space to make outside hires for quick-fix purposes, the Browns should focus that money on retaining Jamie Collins and Terrelle Pryor, whom Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer writes would be top-10 picks in this coming draft. Future expiring-contract players Joel Bitonio and Christian Kirksey should be re-signed as well before they hit the walk-year point so many recent Browns have, Pluto notes, with the recent glut of defectors helping put the franchise in the position in which it currently resides.
- The Chiefs will be without nickel corner Steven Nelson against the Broncos with a neck injury, the team announced. After being deemed not ready as a rookie, the former third-round pick has become one of his team’s top three corners this season. Marcus Peters missed last week’s game and is questionable for Sunday night. Each of Kansas City’s corners is a rookie-contract player on a veteran defense, with rookie D.J. White and seldom-used trade acquisition Kenneth Acker next in line to join Peters and Phillip Gaines in sub-packages in Week 12. Dee Ford and Jeremy Maclin are also out for the Chiefs.
- Ryan Mathews won’t suit up for the Eagles on Monday night, Tim McManus of ESPN.com reports. Mathews left last weekend’s Eagles-Seahawks game due to what turned out to be an MCL sprain. This will give the running back at least one missed game in six of his seven NFL seasons. Philadelphia’s starter missed three games last season and 10 in 2014. Darren Sproles will play, however, for an Eagles team trying to stay in wild-card contention.
- Canadian tight end prospect Antony Auclair could be a rare Canadian college-to-NFL performer, with six NFL teams scouting his most recent game with Universite’ Laval, Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com reports. The 6-foot-6 player has just 17 receptions this season, however. CFL wideouts Bryan Burnham and DaVaris Daniels — who played collegiately at Tulsa and Notre Dame, respectively — could also be 2017 targets for NFL teams. Burnham, 26, has 1,392 yards in 18 games for the British Columbia Lions.