Legedu Naanee… Is there a less beloved player on the Dolphins roster right now (I’m giving Dan Carpenter a “pass” on this one)? I was watching yesterday’s game, and a quote came to mind late in the game “Samir Naga…. Naga… Not-gonna-work-here-anymore” – from Office Space. The quote came to mind in thinking about the conversation that has to be coming at some point regarding Legedu Naanee. I can picture Jeff Ireland having the awkward conversation with him this week, after sitting down Coach Philbin and discussing the roster stating: “Well, Coach, what do you want to do in regards to Legedu Naana…Naanee…NanaaaaaNot-gonna-work-here-anymore, that’s for sure.”
I think I speak for many fans when I say, I’ve had it with Legedu Naanee. He seems like a nice enough guy, and has the tools to be a successful receiver in the NFL. However, he doesn’t break on the ball the way an NFL receiver should, and is directly responsible for multiple interceptions and incompletions through the first three games. He disappears during games, and only seems to show up when a critical gaffe appears. You want this trait from an offensive lineman, but not in a wide receiver at any level. As upsetting as it is for this to occur, Legedu raised the bar in this weeks game against the Cardinals. In a questionable call as to whether it was a catch or an incompletion, he caught the ball, turned… and just… well… dropped it. On the field. Just dropped the ball. It doesn’t even make sense to me to say that, no matter how many times or ways the words leave my lips.
A few other players have been a bit of a letdown thus far. Dan Carpenter, I feel for him a bit, but if he misses kicks again next week, I think Miami needs to start hosting a few quiet “try outs” at the Kicker position. Charles Clay is a player who has been nearly invisible thus far, and quite frankly I expected big things from him as a player this season after he came into his own last year.
The rest of the Dolphins looked good today, overall. I’m still looking for more from the third wide receiver position, whomever that ends up being. Maybe in three receiver sets, the ‘Fins should look to split out a player that is producing – such as Reggie Bush and/or Lamar Miller. Maybe they should explore putting Charles Clay out wide or in the slot, or if Michael Egnew is in a mood to play that day, giving him a shot – it can’t get much worse than the production the team is seeing out of the third wideout role, and it could disguise the packages better when those guys are on the field.
On a positive note, this team is a much better team than I think anyone expected. Ryan Tannehill gets markedly better each week. The offensive line has been solid, and overall the defense has played at a ridiculous level that isn’t maintainable. Brian Hartline has exceeded anyone’s realistic expectations, and Davone Bess is playing well. Anthony Fasano is playing great, and Javorski Lane is shaping up to be scary as he gets more and more acclimated to the NFL. Reggie Bush? Holy, this guy can play. When any top ten draft pick is impressing people when he touches the ball several years later, that’s anything and everything you could want out of the player.
All things aside, if there is anyone still on the bandwagon to “lynch Jeff Ireland” should safely be seeking the assistance of a professional psychiatrist. He has turned up far more players since Parcell’s departure that have been gems than busts. Guys that may not have the flashy name, but come game day they can produce in the roles that they are given. Is he the best general manager in the league? Probably not. Well, upon further review, definitely not… Is he in the bottom half of GM’s? Not a chance. I give him credit for bringing in some pretty damn good players overall, and not giving in to the pressure that it isn’t the most popular decision. Stephen Ross is deserving of a lot of credit as well, as he stuck with his guy, in spite of the reaction from fans calling for his head.
If I could give Jeff Ireland a bit of fan advice, I would say two things to him: 1) Don’t give in to fan pressure. Keep churning away at the roster, and don’t give in to the popularity contest. In the end, if you produce players who produce, the fans will be swayed to your side. 2) Keep an eye on the Giants roster moves. I think the front seven on defense is phenomenal for the fins, but with the needs at wide receiver, the Giants just seem to be able to find insane value players at the position… and if they happen to cast any of them off, I think you’d be remiss not to bring them in and kick the tires a bit. If they can catch a ball, turn, and not drop it… there might just be a “void” on the Dolphin’s roster at wide receiver that they can fill.
The biggest thing the Dolphins need is to figure out how to get that one play in the defining moments of the game. That one play that swings a win into a loss, and vice versa. In two of their three losses, now, they’ve been on the short end of those one or two defining plays that churn out another one in the “W column” for the team. This is the third loss that with a very few small tweaks, would be a win. The 2012 Dolphins are the closest 1-3 team to being 4-0 that I have ever had the pleasure and agony of watching. I’ll give them a season or two before I start screaming, provided that they figure it out. There are so many reasons to be optimistic right now.
Hang in there, Dolfans. It’ll be worth it, I promise.