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Maxwell Has Ball-Hawking Mind Set

Posted Mar 25, 2016

The Dolphins cornerback’s coaches who worked most closely with him there see no reason why he can’t be as good as anybody in the game.

Byron Maxwell developed into the one of the most sought-after free agents on the market last offseason during his four seasons in Seattle, and the two coaches who worked most closely with him there see no reason he can’t rediscover that form in Miami.

“I think he’s a terrific football player,” Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll said during the NFC coaches breakfast. “He played great football for us in the formula that we asked him to play in. He was very effective. I don’t know what happened in Philly last year, but the fact that he winds up in Miami, I think he’s really thrilled about it.

“He’s an on-the-line-of-scrimmage guy that I think needs to be played that way, supported that way and coached that way. That’s how he was raised. He’s got the right mentality for it. He’s got a very aggressive nature. He’s a physical player. He’s long and has the kind of length that allows him to play with his hands on guys and I think he needs to be supported that way. When you coach him that way, he can be as good as anybody in the game.”

Maxwell was a sixth-round pick in the 2011 NFL draft and took over as a starter the last month of the 2013 season, helping the Seahawks win the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.

Dan Quinn was Seattle’s defensive coordinator before he took over as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons last season and he is particularly impressed with Maxwell’s playmaking ability.

"His best attribute is his ball-hawking mind-set,” said Quinn, who was an assistant coach for the Dolphins in 2005-06. “He was one of the ones that championed our cause for the punch-outs. You’d always see him taking his shots at the ball. There were some big moments that he did where he caused turnovers. It's not just the interceptions, because he does have good ball skills. But he has the ability to force turnovers.

“Past being a ball hawk is his length at the line of scrimmage. He's got 33-inch arms and he's 6 foot 1. He plays on the line of scrimmage and can extend. That's a long release a guy has to take. That's what makes him so unique, and makes him a good player.”

The Dolphins acquired Maxwell, along with linebacker Kiko Alonso, in a trade with the Eagles where the cost was merely dropping down five spots in the first round of the 2016 draft.

While he didn’t have a great season with the Eagles in 2015, his head coach last season still thinks highly of him as a player.

“He does a great job when he gets his hands on people,” said Chip Kelly, who was hired by the San Francisco 49ers after being let go by the Eagles after last season. “It’s kind of what the prototypical corner in this league is like. He matches up well with big receivers. He’s really good in taking them away at the line of scrimmage. When he wins at the line of scrimmage, he’s really successful. Vance (Joseph) is really experienced at doing those things and I think he’ll do a really good job with him.”

Maxwell reportedly wasn’t used the same way in Philadelphia as he had been in Seattle, but the Dolphins fully intend on going back to putting Maxwell close to the line of scrimmage and letting him play aggressively.

“I feel like Byron is going to fit well into what we’re going to do on defense,” Head Coach Adam Gase said. “He’ll be able to do more of what he’s done in the past where he had success. I’ve competed against him a couple of times when he was in Seattle and he challenged us. And we had some pretty good receivers. I feel really good about him coming in. I’m excited … I could feel his excitement getting down here.

"I think Byron fits in our scheme really well. What he did in Seattle was, he's aggressive on the line of scrimmage, getting up there and pressing, being able to play aggressive, and that's what we want him to be able to do."
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