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Byron Maxwell is not good, but what is the solution?

Byron Maxwell sat at his locker stall in his uniform for a while after Sunday's loss to the Tennessee Titans. After a while he picked himself up and got a shower. He changed into his street clothes and then sat right back down. And he sat there.

And sat there.

And sat there.

He took sips from a gallon sized container of what looked like water. And he stared into nothingness, alone with his thoughts.

And he drank. And he stared. And he sat.

The Dolphins game against Tennessee ended around 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. It was 5:45, and the Dolphins locker room was empty of other players when Maxwell finally decided to make his exit.

So he was either waiting for traffic to die down. Or he was really spent. Or he was doing a lot of thinking.

Maxwell now has this to ponder: The Dolphins are not thrilled with how he's playing. And they've told him. And they're telling the public as today defensive coordinator Vance Joseph conceded Maxwell "has not played well overall."

That's pretty obvious. Joseph went to Miami head coach Adam Gase in the days prior to the Cincinnati game and advocated benching Maxwell. Gase obviously deferred to his DC.

The only reason it is certain Maxwell regained his starting job last week and continues to be the starter as the team heads into the Pittsburgh Steelers game Sunday is because rookie Xavien Howard is out after another knee surgery -- his second in five months.

So Maxwell plays and will continue to play.

But make no mistake. The Dolphins are not thrilled with him.

And rightly so, apparently, because according to ProFootballFocus.com, Maxwell is the 58th rated cornerback in the NFL now. He is 51st in pass coverage and 91st in run defense. And the run defense is truly frustrating because Maxwell is long and strong and should be good in run support.

But as everyone saw against the Titans when he took an inside angle on a QB keeper, letting Marcos Mariota get outside and walk in for an easy short TD run, Maxwell either doesn't get or simply doesn't want it.

He's often seemingly not much of a willing tackler.

And you know where that leaves the Dolphins in the short term?

In trouble to the, um, max-well. (Sorry). Because the team seemingly has no other recourse right now.

Yes, Howard is eventually expected back. But not this week.

Yes, Chris Culliver will begin practicing next week as the physically unable to perform rules allow. But Joseph said he won't be ready to start right away.

Yes, Bene' Benwikere was signed off waivers from the Carolina Panthers, as I explained in the previous post, but he arrived five minutes ago. Joseph said today the Dolphins will try Benwikere outside initially. Of course, that's where they need him most. But it's going to be interesting to see how much playing time he can get right away.

And yes, the Dolphins also added Chimdi Chekwa, who they cut after the preseason but obviously needed now. Is he the answer after not playing the first month of the season?

The point is there are no ready and obvious replacements for a poorly performing Maxwell. Deion Sanders isn't coming over that hill to save the day. Even if he could come over that hill, Sanders wouldn't pick the Dolphins to play for anyway because ... playoff opportunities.

So Byron Maxwell is your guy.

By the way, the Dolphins are not likely to get tons better even after Maxwell exits eventually if the players mentioned above are his replacements and continue to play as they have.

Howard, who the Dolphins believe will be quite good in the future, is rated the No. 88 cornerback overall by PFF. Benwikere was rated the No. 72 cornerback overall. Tony Lippett is rated the No. 63 cornerback overall.

All of them are rated lower than Maxwell on an overall grade basis so far this season.

On the bright side, Ben Roethlisberger, Phillip Rivers, Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer and Tom Brady -- all remaining on the Dolphins schedule this year -- are not great quarterbacks.

Oh.

 

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