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Wednesday in Hawkville: Byron Maxwell tweaking his technique with each passing practice

Posted Jul 30, 2014

Last season, Bryon Maxwell stepped in the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom secondary and became a primary contributor for the Super Bowl champions. This summer, the fourth-year cornerback has been getting better by the practice during training camp.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for July 30, when the Seahawks held the fifth practice in their Training Camp presented by Bing:

WORD OF THE DAY: TECHNIQUE

As in working on it, which is what training camp is all about – honing the skills that will be needed once the preseason and especially the regular season begin.

STAT DU JOUR: THE MARSHALL PLAN

Before the Seahawks’ defense ranked among the Top 10 in the NFL the past three seasons, their best finish had been No. 15 in 2007 – when John Marshall was the coordinator. In honor of Marshall’s visit to training camp on Wednesday, he’s a comparison between that middle-of-the-pack defense in the second of his three seasons as coordinator and the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense last season:

Category 2007 2013
Touchdowns allowed 31 20
Avg. yards allowed 321.8 273.6
Sacks 45 44
Turnovers 34 39

And that’s what defensive coordinator Dan Quinn saw during Wednesday’s practice from cornerback Byron Maxwell, the newest starter in the Seahawks’ Legion of Boom secondary.

“The thing that I always admired with Maxwell was his technique,” Quinn said after practice. “He is one of our most technically sound guys. So as he’s getting going into his technique, he just keeps getting sharper and sharper.

“We’re five days in, and that’s really when he’s starting now to really be at his best when you continue to grind at his technique. From the first practice to now, he’s one of those guys – even though we call him a veteran player now – he keeps improving the more work and the more reps he gets.”

Maxwell is in his fourth season, but he made his first five starts late last season – when Brandon Browner was injured and Walter Thurmond was serving a league-imposed suspension. All Maxwell did was intercept four passes in those five December starts and then continue to start in a postseason that ended with the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl.

With Browner now in New England with the Patriots and Thurmond in New York with the Giants, Maxwell is the starter opposite All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman in a best-in-the-NFL secondary that also features the All-Pro safety tandem of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.

But there is competition for the job, as coach Pete Carroll pointed out on Tuesday.

“Maxwell did a fantastic job,” Carroll said of the cornerback’s close to the 2013 season. “Whenever we put him in he has done a great job and he really seized the opportunity last year when given the chance and just was as competitive and productive as you could hope a guy to be.

“He was challenged a lot, obviously they’re going to challenge the guy on the other side of Richard and they did. He stood up to it. He handled the pressure of that really well and he comes back to camp with a lead shot to take that job.”

The look on Carroll’s face offered “but,” even before he could say it.

“But he’s getting chased hard now,” Carroll said of a group that includes Tharold Simon and just-signed Terrell Thomas. “He’s got some guys really battling him, so he’s got to have a great camp to hold his spot and that just makes us better.”

Carroll, of course, made his comments before Maxwell’s technique kicked into Practice Five form on Wednesday.

PLAYS OF THE DAY:

Passing offense: Pick one? How about a pick-six, Russell Wilson style? On six consecutive plays at the end of a red-zone 7-on-7 drill, the third-year QB threw touchdown passes – to six different receivers. The first went to tight end Cooper Helfet and the last to wide receiver Percy Harvin. In between, Wilson went to tight end RaShaun Allen, wide receiver Arceto Clark, tight end Luke Willson and wide receiver David Gilreath.

It was only a 7-on-7 drill, which means there was no pass rush. But still, it was impressive.

“That’s the kind of thing we’re trying to preach around here,” said Harvin, who caught his TD pass despite tight coverage from Sherman. “We know we’ve got a lot of weapons on offense – we’ve got a lot of good running backs and a lot of good receivers. On any given play, you can get the ball.

YOU DON'T SAY

“It’s a big blow for him. We felt horrible for him. He’s done such a great job of working his way back. … We have to move on.”

– offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on tight end Anthony McCoy, who injured his left Achilles in practice Tuesday after missing all of last season because of a torn right Achilles

“So they’re just teaching us all to be exactly what we’re supposed to be and let Russell pick his poison. That’s what I’m starting to love about this place.”

Run offense: QB Terrelle Pryor darting up the gut for a 2-yard touchdown on a first-and-goal play.

Pass defense: The obvious choice would be cornerback Akeem Auguste’s interception in the end zone. But let’s go with defensive end Michael Bennett’s “sack” of Tarvaris Jackson on a play that was forced by the pressure supplied by defensive tackle Jordan Hill.

Run defense: Maxwell recovering a fumble by Spencer Ware after the back had picked up the first down on a third-and-2 play.

Special teams: Steven Hauschka – a.k.a. Hausch-Money, as Carroll has dubbed the kicker – was perfect on his four field goals attempts in the special teams segment of practice. Again. But the last one was a 58-yarder.

WINGING IT: BLUE ANGLES VISIT PRACTICE

The Blue Angels are in town to begin preparing for their performances on Saturday and Sunday as part of the Seafair activities. But first, they paid a visit to VMAC and watched Wednesday’s practice.

“There are a lot of lessons we can take away as a team from here,” said Navy Lt. Commander John Hiltz, the right wingman in the precision flying team comprised of Navy and Marine Corps pilots. “We had the opportunity to speak to the team before their practice and they asked us to share some things we talk about – discipline and precision and kind of teamwork and knowing our role on the team. So it was a great day to be a part of a Super Bowl championship organization and see what they do behind the curtain.

“The Blue Angels were excited to be here.”

The Blue Angels will be in the skies over Lake Washington the next two days, when they will practice for their shows on Saturday and Sunday.

“There is not a better venue,” Hiltz said. “We love flying here. When the jets are flying out over the water, the air is so smooth. We really get a chance to showcase that pride and professionalism through precision and a really dynamic display of the things the men and women of the Navy and Marine Corps are capable of.”

Also visiting practice were John Marshall, the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator from 2006-08 who also coached the linebackers before that (2003-05); and Steve Kerr, a five-time NBA champion while playing for the Chicago Bulls who now coaches the Golden State Warriors.

UP NEXT: BACK AT IT ON THURSDAY

The players will be back on the practice fields on Thursday morning for the sixth of the 12 sold-out sessions that are open to the public.

Wednesday’s practice drew the second-largest crowd in the first five open practices – 2,622.