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Tough Miami Dolphins debut for Byron Maxwell

Byron Maxwell was supposed to play last week in the preseason opener but could not get loose during warmups and coaches decided to let him wait a week to make his first Miami Dolphins start.

Maybe he should have waited another week.

That's because Friday night, Maxwell started for the Dolphins and didn't exactly shine. He is by all accounts Miami's best cornerback based on experience and accomplishments. He was really good in Seattle years ago.

But after struggling with Philadelphia last year and getting traded to Miami, Maxwell had a hard time against the Cowboys. Matched mostly against Dez Bryant the first two or three series both men played, Maxwell got kind of used by the Dallas star receiver.

Maxwell yielded an 18-yard reception to Bryant on the Cowboys second drive of the game, one which led to a touchdown. On that touchdown, a run by running back Alfred Morris, Maxwell got blocked by Bryant and didn't seem to show great aggression to get off the block and make the tackle.

And that would have been nice because Maxwell was the last line of defense on the play.

That was Tony Romo's final series for the Cowboys but Bryant stayed in the game when Dak Prescott took over at QB for Dallas. And Maxwell stayed in to cover Bryant.

So that was Maxwell chasing Bryant into the end zone when he got beat on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Bryant.

That was it for both veterans.

Byron Maxwell is going to have to be way, way better if he's going to be the Dolphins best cornerback in 2016. This was only one preseason game. It doesn't count. There is time to improve. But Maxwell will be facing very good receivers this year. Yes, Bryant is one of the best and it showed Friday night. But Brandon Marshall is good, too. Sammy Watkins is good, too. Josh Gordon is good. A.J. Green is good. Larry Fitzgerald is good.

By the way, the New Orleans Saints cut Keenan Lewis because he didn't fit the plans of defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Lewis is also healing from a slew of injuries, including a hip injury that has kept him inactive this training camp.

And so am I saying the Dolphins should run out and sign Keenan Lewis? Of course not.

I'm saying Lewis promises he'll be healthy in a couple of weeks. I'm saying he played very well for Pittsburgh and even for the Saints in 2013. And I'm saying he's 6-foot-1, which fits Miami's view of what a boundary cornerback should look like.

So I guess I am saying the Dolphins would be wise to keep tabs on this situation because, by the way, Tony Lippett had a defensive pass interference penalty Friday.

Xavien Howard begins to practice Sunday. Chris Culliver, signed last week, is a longer term project who won't likely be ready until October. And Maxwell, working all offseason and all training camp, had a rough night Friday.

So it doesn't hurt to keep a lookout.

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