Noah Igbinoghene has become the poster boy of mediocrity in his two-plus years in the NFL seeing the field for just 9 snaps this season, all on kick coverage.
But while he hasn’t excelled in the NFL to this point, is week 5 his chance to show what he can still offer this Dolphins defence going forward. With Xavien Howard ailing with a persistent groin injury, and Byron Jones still a potential doubt on IR, is Igbinoghene finally going to get his chance?
It’s become somewhat of a theme on twitter to bash Noah Igbinoghene and his time as a Dolphin. A raw prospect when the Dolphins reached for him in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, Igbinoghene was originally intended as cover for Xavien Howard with a view to being his replacements in a few seasons.
This led to Igbinoghene being used almost entirely as a boundary corner in his first season, and after being brutally exposed against Stefan Diggs and the Bills, Noah gradually receded into the shadows where he has mostly been ever since.
How does Noah Igbinoghene develop on the bench?
Clearly, he hasn’t excelled in practice or DC Josh Boyer would have surely given him a chance this year. But given the players on the field aren’t exactly excelling, now could be the time to throw the Auburn product a lifeline.
If we compare Noah Igbinoghene’s career stats with this seasons stats for the current crop we see his numbers aren’t entirely disgusting.
In fact if not for the fact he’s given up an ungodly 4 touchdowns, the same number as Howard has given up this season on just 21 targets, his QB rating would be the second best in this group.
That’s not to say he’s an excellent cover corner. But to not play a development prospect at all in favour of Campbell or Crossen seems like a wasted opportunity. Not to mention he has some value as a punt returner, another area where the Dolphins are lacking.
Definitely working against Igbinoghene is his poor performance on the field in preseason allowing 4/5 completions and a touchdown. But a developmental player doesn’t develop in practice alone, he needs some snaps in the heat of battle.
The Dolphins have now given up over 300 yards passing in 3 consecutive games and the only interception taken all season was Jevon Hollands in week one against the Patriots. Something needs to be done to try and address what is fast becoming a glaring weakness.
While it’s fine to have a bend-but-don’t-break approach, and it worked to perfection against the Bills, don’t be surprised when that late season swoon occurs when the defence is just to gassed to keep it up for four quarters.
It’s what happened in Tennessee last year, and could be on the table for late season games where a lot could be at stake like at the Bills, or against the Packers. And of course into the playoffs.
Everyone has seen the boost in confidence Tua Tagovailoa has got this season and how that has affected his performance. Making a player ride the pine for 17 weeks probably won’t make him a great emergency option in the playoffs.
At this point, if the Dolphins aren’t going to play him they may as well cut bait and swallow the $2.5-million extra cap hit this season rather than carrying it over to next year, and use that roster spot on a player who may see the field.
With new coaches, and ex-Dolphins, Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain working with him, maybe the plan is to give him this season, and through camp next year. But if Noah Igbinoghene doesn’t see the field the way this group is playing it’s more likely his time in South Florida is nearly over.