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Omar Kelly: Dolphins cornerback Noah Igbinoghene gets second chance to make a better impression

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Omar Kelly: Dolphins cornerback Noah Igbinoghene gets second chance to make a better impression

The talent level has never been in question.

The blend of speed and athleticism is what motivated the Miami Dolphins to select Noah Igbinoghene as their final of three first-round picks, the 30th player selected in the 2020 NFL draft.

His work ethic is supposedly stellar. People who have worked with him have raved about it since his days at Auburn.

Unfortunately, Igbinoghene wasn’t able to turn that talent and work ethic into reliable play in his first two NFL seasons.

And when you’re a first-round pick the bar is set high, so those who fall short of contributing on a consistent basis as a high-level asset tend to fall into the potential bust category.

That’s the label Igbinoghene is flirting with heading into his third NFL training camp, and he’s not in denial about it, or his rough start.

“It’s an everyday process, so just keep going every single day and just get better,” said Igbinoghene, who has started three of the 27 games he’s played in the past two seasons. “That’s really my main focus. If I keep working, it’s going to turn out in my favor.”

Igbinoghene spent most of his young career in Brian Flores’ doghouse, but with the now fired head coach gone he’s been given a fresh start.

This spring Igbinoghene not only benefits from the clean slate provided to him by his new position coaches, Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain, two former standouts for the Dolphins, he’s also benefiting from the absence of Xavien Howard and Byron Jones during Phase 2 of organized team activates.

Those Dolphins veteran starters either aren’t healthy enough to participate this spring, or have decided to skip the voluntary workouts.

Howard has traditionally worked with his own trainers during the offseason, and Jones is rehabbing a leg injury he had surgically operated on this offseason.

Their absence creates an opportunity for Igbinoghene, Nik Needham and a host of other young cornerbacks like Trill Williams and Quincy Wilson who get to line up against Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle during Miami’s 11-on-11 sessions, and 7-on-7 work, the sessions where offensive players line up against defenders.

If you believe in the iron-sharpens-iron mentality towards training, facing off against a six-time Pro Bowler like Hill, and Waddle, the receiver who just set an NFL rookie record for receptions in 2021, should be beneficial from a development standpoint.

“You’re like, ‘Ah damn, he’s fast on film,’ but then when you really get right in front of him it’s like ‘Oh man.’ Those two definitely have a different speed,” Needham said referring to Hill and Waddle’s speed, which has been clocked in the 22 mile per hour range during practices and games. “It’s going to be great this year to just work versus that every day because it’s like, nobody is going to be faster than these two. If we win versus them, we should win a lot.”

The last time Igbinoghene got to showcase himself with the Dolphins’ first-team defense things didn’t go so well.

During the two weeks Howard, the team’s Pro Bowl cornerback, was playing hardball with the franchise and sitting out practices while the team and his camp negotiated a restructured contract, the Dolphins gave Igbinoghene, an extensive run with the starters.

But the Howard-less secondary was consistently getting carved up by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and his backups, and it seemed as if Igbinoghene was the main course.

His struggles got so bad that midway through the second week of practice he was demoted from the first-team to the third-team defense.

Igbinoghene sparingly played on defense last season, despite injuries members of the secondary were nursing throughout the year. There were even times players called up from the practice squad played ahead of him.

The hope is that the work and coaching he’s receiving now will help him become more technically sound as a cornerback. But only time, and passes defended will tell us how that venture is going.

The big question is whether a comfortable Igbinoghene will be a productive one.

Or will the Dolphins need to toss him in the wasted draft pick pile?

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Bob Raissman: Draymond Green and the Warriors helping turn the NBA into reality TV

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Bob Raissman: Draymond Green and the Warriors helping turn the NBA into reality TV

For Golden State, capturing the NBA title was almost as important as settling media feuds, social media scores, or whatever you want to call them.

It wasn’t long after the Warriors won the title that Steph Curry was behind a microphone sticking it to (without naming him) ESPN NBA analyst Kendrick Perkins. In August, Perkins predicted the sharpshooter would not win another ring in the next four years.

And along the celebratory parade route, the self-anointed “new media” guru Draymond Green found his chance to get even. He was not as diplomatic as Curry. “If they ever doubted — this is live TV, right — bleep ‘em,” Green said.

More Green: “I warned y’all, so I’m just going to continue to destroy people on Twitter, as I have been, and Instagram stories.”

Such is life in the NBA, where responding to Tweets, making Instagram deposits, amplifies the art of trash talking. Cats like Green, Curry, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and a whole lot of other guys are more media personalities than one-dimensional, hardcore, NBA players.

Green even has a seat waiting for him on TNT’s NBA coverage when he retires. On the surface, this all looks good for the NBA. The off-court drama provides plenty of material — even when school is not in session.

This ”gossipy” dimension should bring more casual fans inside the NBA’s big tent. Do the “reality show” elements of the league, and the way that is covered, have a substantial positive impact on overall viewership of the NBA’s postseason events where the big moo-la-dee is made? Or does it turn “fans” off?

That equation is hard to quantify. For what it’s worth, total average viewership for the 2022 Finals did not measure up to the 15 million average viewership for the pre-pandemic 2019 Finals. The viewership numbers for the 2022 Finals didn’t blow anyone out of the water.

Legions of eyeballs follow the league through highlight clips on the internet and get news (some of it directly from players) on social media. For some, tuning in for a full three-hour tilt is not exactly must-see TV. It’s not necessary to invest a hefty block of time to be entertained or find out what’s happening.

Platforms benefitting the most from the NBA soap opera are debate shows like “First Take” (ESPN), “Undisputed” (FS1), Valley of the Stupid offerings and podcasts that talk basketball.

Gasbags are feasting on the latest chapter in the Nets-Irving-Durant saga, which should be made into a docu-drama. The story can easily be followed through the words, or lack thereof, delivered by Durant.

The same Durant, who unlike the scribes assigned to cover HIS coverage of the story, has a personal interest in the situation.

It’s confusing. Yet very NBAish, right?

BELTRAN’S BOOTH STUMBLES

Carlos Beltran’s struggles at the microphone continued during Game 1of the Astros series.

Beltran, performing before an average of 456,000 viewers Thursday night on YES, made obvious points, delivered in a nearly monotone style. And he often just verbally rubber-stamped the analysis offered by his YES colleague David Cone. Hiring Beltran was a good idea. His reputation in baseball as an excellent communicator, a manager-in-waiting, resulted in high expectations.

And considering how he was scapegoated in the Astros cheating scandal, Beltran deserved a platform that would re-connect him with the game.

From a broadcasting perspective, Beltran looked good on paper. But how long can YES president of production/programming John J. Filippelli, wait for Beltran to meet those expectations before shuffling the deck? After all, not many baseball analysts become overnight sensations. It sometimes takes a hefty amount of game repetitions before there is a break-through.

Still, there could be an interim step for Beltran if he continues to stumble. He could be moved to YES’ Yankees studio. The controlled environment might loosen him up. The atmosphere might help him relax. That’s something he needs to do.

RATING THE REPLACEMENTS

The Yankees, and their WFAN radio partners, offered up two distinctly different styles in the voices they used to sit in John (Pa Pinstripe) Sterling’s seat last week, while Pa was “enjoying” his forced exile.

For those who like audio dynamite, there was Rickie Ricardo, the voice of Bombers Spanish radiocasts. Ricardo is high energy and flamboyant. You will not fall asleep under his watch. While he likes to cut the pie, he also pays attention to little things like actually letting listeners know where the defense is positioned. Fortunately, he didn’t have a HR call for every player. And Sterling’s “the Yankees win!” call was replaced by “What does it smell like folks? It smells like Vic-Tor-Y.”

On the other side of the mountain sat Justin Shackil who, among other things, is the Yankees digital reporter. A good listen, Shackil stuck to nuts and bolts. And he didn’t rent Sterling’s pom-poms while working the Toronto series. Shackil painted an effective, precise word picture. Most importantly, Shackil is likeable.

If we were forced to declare a winner here, it would be Suzyn (Ma Pinstripe) Waldman. She didn’t have to clean up any messes.

NO TAKE TV

With CJ McCollum returning to the “First Take” panel last week, Stephen A. Smith found it necessary to deliver a preamble to the NBA Players Assn. prez’s appearance.

”We know there are things you can’t say,” SAS proclaimed, providing instant cover for McCollum.

Smith was right.

The subject was Kyrie Irving, specifically how his propensity for missing games could expand into a collective bargaining subject at the negotiating table? When McCollum was asked to answer that question, he put on his tap-dancing shoes. He rambled on until Kendrick Perkins finally answered the question for him.

Again, what is the purpose of having, and paying, McCollum for his educated opinions if he’s going to verbally bob-and-weave on the topic of contract negotiations? If the “First Take” crew is going to accept McCollum’s pablum, it might has well put an owner on the show so we can watch two people say nothing about NBA contract negotiations.

AROUND THE DIAL

For reasons known only to him, WFAN’s Gregg Giannotti thought it was a great idea to take issue with SXM’s Christopher (Mad Dog) Russo revealing his First Take salary ($10,000 per appearance for 40 appearances) during an interview with Howard Stern. Giannotti thought ESPN suits would not be thrilled with Russo talking personal finances. We’re sure Doggie is shaking in his boots. … The way SNY’s Gary Cohen was complaining last Saturday, viewers would have thought he was calling Marlins-Mets from a booth in Antarctica. Cohen brought new meaning to the word “chilling.”… Astros-Yankees on YES Thursday night peaked at 696,000 total viewers from 10:15 to 10:30 p.m. Yankees game viewership is up 15% over last season. Guess pinstriped eyeballs have yet to become tired of winning.

* * *

DUDE OF THE WEEK: VANN McELROY

Never forgetting his deep roots in Uvalde, Texas, McElroy, the former Raiders star, reached out to his former team to support the devastated community. That connection to the Raiders paid off. Owner Mark Davis authorized a $1 million donation for a city reeling from an unspeakable tragedy.

DWEEB OF THE WEEK: RON DeSANTIS

When the Florida Governor vetoes legislation over funding of a sports facility for a local area team, the Tampa Bay Rays, based on his interpretation of the team’s socially-minded initiative on gun control, it’s time to call out his brazen conduct. So, there.

DOUBLE TALK

What Eduardo Escobar said: “I think saying, ‘give me a couple of days off’ is essentially giving up.”

What Eduardo Escobar meant to say: “If I’m not hitting, I’m not playing.”

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Sept. 1 trial status hearing scheduled for teen in killing of Chippewa Falls girl, 10

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Iliana (Lily) Peters family photo

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin teenager accused of killing a 10-year-old girl will find out in September whether he will stand trial.

Chippewa County Circuit Judge Benjamin Lane on Friday scheduled a Sept. 1 preliminary hearing for the 14-year-old boy, identified in court documents as C.T.P.-B. That’s the step in the criminal justice process where a judge determines if enough evidence exists to bind a defendant over for trial.

The body of Iliana (Lily) Peters, 10, was found in the woods near her aunt’s house in Chippewa Falls, Wis., on April 25, 2022, the day after her father reported her missing. (Courtesy of the Chippewa Falls Police Department)

The boy was charged in adult court on April 27 with first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree sexual assault and first-degree sexual assault of a child under age 13 in connection with the killing of Iliana Peters, who was known as Lily. Anyone who is at least 10 years old and is accused of first- or second-degree homicide is considered an adult in Wisconsin’s court system.

Lily disappeared on the night of April 24 as she was riding her bike home from her aunt’s house in Chippewa Falls, according to the criminal complaint. Searchers found her body in the woods the next morning.

The boy told investigators that he was riding his hoverboard alongside Lily on a trail and he intended to sexually assault and kill her, according to the complaint.

He asked Lily to leave the trail and explore the woods with him. According to the complaint, he told investigators that once they were off the trail, he punched her, hit her with a stick and strangled her before he sexually assaulted her body.

The boy’s attorney, Michael Cohen, told Lane on Friday that he was upset that someone posted a video online that included recordings of police communications in the moments Lily’s body was found and that characterized the boy as a “little monster.” Cohen alleged that someone in law enforcement leaked confidential information to the poster and demanded the judge issue a gag order. He didn’t specify against whom, though.

Lane asked Cohen for the link to the video and stated that anyone with access to investigatory materials should keep them confidential and their release could jeopardize the boy’s right to a fair trial.

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Sainted & Tainted: Half of my summer is gone because you didn’t yield

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Sainted & Tainted: Half of my summer is gone because you didn’t yield

Tainted & Sainted

Tainted: June 3, between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. at Johnson Parkway and Sixth Street. The male driver in a black pickup didn’t yield to me and crossed into the bike path where I fell under the bike to avoid hitting your truck. All you did was sit in the truck and say you’re sorry. You left as soon as I got off the street. Half of my summer is gone because of this.

Tainted: Whoever designed this bike path. Hardly anyone stops at the stop sign. Just stop at the corner. Many close calls to me and I’ve told all to stop. Maybe put a yield sign or stop signs on the west side of Johnson. They don’t know how to yield.

Sainted: To the one driver who asked if I was OK. Much appreciated. Felt fine at the time but did break my elbow.

Barb Anderson, St. Paul

 

Tainted

I think It would be desirable if those responsible for the St. Paul skyway system could maintain uniform hours for the operation of the system.

They have posted operating hours indicating a close of 11 p.m., but this is contradicted by one posting indicating a 12 p.m. closing. The reality is that neither apply as I discovered this past Saturday when returning to my apartment from a downtown restaurant.

The location in the general vicinity (east) of the Subway operation was closed at 10 p.m. This is not the first time this has happened to me. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect uniform operating hours to be observed.

Roger A. Godin, St. Paul

 

Sainted

An incredible Sainted to Lakeview Hospital in Stillwater. I had surgery this past Tuesday and had never been there before. The care I received was phenomenal. The staff was incredible and compassionate.

I was on the first floor and it was like a party when they came in for vitals, etc. Kelly always referred me to as The Boss. Thank you for such kindness and for helping me through such a painful surgery. And an even bigger shout out to my personal paramedics Shawna S. and Mary F.  Thank you both so much for everything. I’d be lost without you.

Laura McGinn, St. Paul

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