Seahawks: Byron Maxwell may be key
The Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers met in the opening week of the 2014 season, with the Seahawks claiming a comprehensive 36-16 victory. During that game Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completely avoided throwing into the coverage of star cornerback, Richard Sherman. Opting instead to attack the less experienced corner Byron Maxwell, lining up Jordy Nelson on the left side (Maxwell’s side) and keeping No.3 WR Jarret Boykin across from Richard Sherman.
With Maxwell as the primary defender, Nelson was targeted 10 times for eight completions, 71 receiving yards and zero touchdowns. Maxwell even managed to grab himself an interception and defend a pass.
Maxwell’s coverage has been tested regularly this season, being targeted an average of once every 5.7 snaps in Coverage, compared to Sherman’s average of one target for every 8.5 coverage snaps. However that tactic hasn’t always paid off, as opposing quarterbacks only have an NFL Rating of 81.1 when targeting Maxwell’s coverage, 81 qualifying corners have fared worse.
Ahead of this weekend’s rematch in the NFC Championship game, Rodgers spoke about Sherman while on ESPN’s Milwaukee radio show, hinting that both sides of the field would be in play, saying “Not scared of him, but you have a ton of respect for him”. Even so it seems likely that Maxwell will be the busier corner this weekend.