Miami Dolphins defensive backs coach Lou Anarumo has reportedly told cornerback Byron Maxwell that he has been replaced by rookie Cordrea Tankersley in the starting lineup. Maxwell’s play has certainly not jumped off the screen in the first three games of the season, but according to the Miami Herald‘s Armando Salguero the cause for Maxwell’s benching runs much deeper.
On Wednesday, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald spoke with Maxwell who expressed his disappointment in the news of his demotion.
“For some reason, whatever, they benched me,” he said. “But in no way, shape, did I think my play [warranted] that. It’s a coach’s decision. Sometimes you have to deal with it. I’m a team player. Suck it up. Obviously, you think you’re the best man to do the job. You can’t control it. Everyone is trying to support your family trying to do the job.”
While the Super Bowl winning corner back seems to be saying all of the right things, Salguero believes his words may only cause more frustration among the coaching staff.
“You see, Maxwell is benched in part because his play the first two weeks of the season was sub-par. But it was worse than that,” he wrote. “Maxwell played poorly while failing to play defenses called by the coaching staff.”
The article continues to explain that while the Dolphins’ coaching staff called for Maxwell to play a press-man coverage, the seven-year pro did not follow his assignments and instead either bailed out when the ball was snapped or played several yards off the line of scrimmage.
“Except Maxwell apparently decided to play different technique on his own,” Salguero wrote. “Maybe it was because he thought he saw something. Maybe it was because he didn’t want to let the receiver get behind him. Maybe it was because he was lacking confidence.”
Salguero adds that Maxwell may not even be active in the Dolphins’ Week 5 game against the Tennessee Titans depending on whether Xavien Howard returns from a shoulder injury and how well practice squad member Jordan Lucas performs in practice. While a lack of depth may force Maxwell back into the rotation soon, Salguero sees problems in Maxwell’s game that may not be fixed with time off the field.
“Finally there is this: The Dolphins can handle a player who is struggling physically. A cornerback gets beat, he can be rehabilitated from that. He can work back from that,” he wrote. “But a player who for whatever reason doesn’t play the right technique as mandated, without reason, and then complains publicly he doesn’t understand why he’s benched, is a more serious issue.”
When the Dolphins traded for Maxwell, Kiko Alosno, and a first round draft pick in return for their eighth overall draft pick in 2016, they certainly hoped the move would help strengthen their defensive unit for years to come. For Maxwell to make good on that hope, and make his way back into the starting lineup, he’ll have to make sure he can follow his coaches’ orders.