Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 8/12/13
Byron Maxwell Put on Quite the Show For the better part of this summer, Seattle Seahawks fans have been subject to Walter Thurmond hype that can only be described as a little excessive. At one moment he’s competing with Brandon Browner for a starting role, and the next he might even be a better cover corner than Richard Sherman. That’s cute, but what about Byron Maxwell? Thrown to the wayside in this sea of Walter Thurmond affection, Byron Maxwell wasn’t going down without a fight. Many, myself included, expected Thurmond to be a victim of the numbers game and become a Jacksonville Jaguar, or even worse, a San Francisco 49er – courtesy of the waiver wire. With his performance in Thursday’s beatdown of the San Diego Chargers, it’s become all too clear that he’s got other plans in mind. Byron Maxwell is going to compete for a starting spot this season. (Photo: Mike Blake/Reuters) To the naked eye, it’s easy to assess Maxwell’s performance as the best among the Seahawks’ plethora of talented defensive backs. He had one leaping interception, as he planted his feet and jumped a hitch route for the diving interception and almost had another on a very similar play — I wouldn’t expect most receivers to have secured that ball coming down. One look at his underlying numbers though, and you realize how truly special his performance on Thursday was. Sheer Dominance So, you may have gathered at this point that I was impressed with Maxwell’s play on Thursday. Now I get to tell you why, with all things quantifiable. When shutdown cornerbacks are discussed, one of the things that is most valued in their play is the ability to shut down their respective side of the field for the better part of the game. They don’t get many interceptions (generally), but that’s mostly because most quarterbacks aren’t stupid enough to throw in their direction. That was certainly the case in San Diego. Maxwell played in just under 50 percent of the team’s snaps, dropping into coverage for 21 of those plays. On those 21 drops into coverage, the quarterbacks only tested Maxwell three times; one of them resulting in an interception, another almost being intercepted and the one blemish being a nine-yard completion. That’s scary good, even when you consider a large chunk of the game was played by “Clipboard Jesus” (for the not-so-versed in Seahawks football, that’s Charlie Whitehurst). Another statistic bordering on absurd from Thursday’s beatdown of the Chargers is the passer rating accumulated by San Diego’s quarterbacks when throwing in his direction. It’s a small sample size, yes, but in the three attempts aimed at receivers being covered by Maxwell, the accumulated passer rating of the three Chargers quarterbacks to play in that game didn’t even make it into double digits. As a matter of fact, it didn’t even get half way there, as they didn’t even get a point per quarterback at a grizzly 2.8 rating. What are your thoughts on Maxwell’s performance? Does this game firmly entrench him in the apparent battle for  Browner’s starting role? Does this affect the job security of another corner on this roster? Let your voice be heard in the comments section below. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE SEAHAWKS BLOG PAGE IN OUR CLUBHOUSE SECTION AT NWSB!
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