Noah Igbinoghene is here to help rewrite the negative narrative about his fledgling NFL career, and he hopes the experience he gained in his first two seasons with the Miami Dolphins and the improvements he has made this offseason will help him do just that.
“I will just say my overall knowledge of the game,” Igbinoghene said on Thursday when asked how he has improved. “Just being in the building every day. Of course, my experience and knowledge of the game only increased. The coaches helped me with the small details of my craft, and it will continue to improve as I come.
Igbinoghene enters his third season at just 22 years old, and despite his past struggles on the field, he has the opportunity to play an important role this season with starting cornerback Byron Jones who has missed at least the first four games of the season in the reserve. /PUP list.
Additionally, Nik Needham has been listed as limited in practice this week due to a quad injury.
IGBINOGHENE A YOUNG NFL VETERAN
Igbinoghene, the last of the Dolphins’ three first-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, considers all the experience he gained at a young age a resounding positive.
“I’m glad I got out (of college) and went where I went,” Igbinoghene said. “And of course, being super young, I just feel like it’s an advantage for me to have that experience. It’s my third year, and I’m only 22. Like, it is crazy. Some guys came in this year and are older than me. So they just watch it. And that’s such a benefit of me. I’m learning more and more. And when my time comes, man, it will come, I will be right in front.
Igbinoghene’s confidence and perspective will no doubt help him, but he will need to improve his game significantly this season to keep all the reps he takes while Jones is out.
In two seasons, he played 23 games and started in only three of them. He’s recorded 19 total tackles, two passes defended (both came in 2020) and is yet to record his first interception.
Last year, he was inactive for six games, missed two Reserve/COVID-19 roster games and dressed but didn’t see action in two games.
Igbinoghene didn’t get off to a good start this year in the pre-season either. He allowed all four of his targets to be caught against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Las Vegas Raiders, giving up 61 total yards, according to PFF.
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However, to his credit, Igbinoghene responded with a much better performance in the team’s final preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He recorded a pass break and allowed no takes in 17 cover shots.
The ability to adapt and improve in the face of adversity is something Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer has seen Igbinoghene improve on this offseason.
“We’ve kind of seen a bit of progress, I would say from a maturity point of view, in the fact that he’s been able to handle things a bit better, things that aren’t quite in his sense, he’s able to put behind them a little bit quicker,” Boyer said. “He’s also improved his techniques, he’s been working really hard on it. And again, he’s 22. He’s had some experiences, he kind of had a baptism of fire early on. And, I think all of those experiences, he’s been humbled to understand that every experience can be a good experience, as long as you learn from it. And we’re seeing progress, and we’re excited to see when he gets the chance to show what he can do.
IGBINOGHENE LEARNING PROVEN CORNERS (CURRENT AND FORMER)
One of Igbinoghene’s advantages this season is a staff that understands the cornerback position because the coaches have played it.
Dolphins cornerback coach and passing game specialist Sam Madison and defensive assistant Patrick Surtain still rank as the best cornerback tandem in team history, and their experience with the Dolphins helps Igbinoghene to improve.
Igbinoghene described their style as more practical compared to former Dolphins secondary coach Charles Burks.
“(Madison) helped a lot,” Igbinoghene said. “He was a great corner here. He and Patrick Surtain have both been in my head for the little details. I’m not saying Chuck wasn’t doing this last year, but these guys did the part, so they just have a different mentality in how they approach things and how they coach. It’s more of a practical type thing.
While Igbinoghene learned a lot from Madison and Surtain, he’s also learning from current Dolphins cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Jones.
“X and Byron didn’t necessarily have to tell me anything, I was just watching,” Igbinoghene said. “I remember one time I told XI to watch everything he does, and they have nothing to say to me, him and Byron, I just watch everything they do, especially being young… I learn to go about my business, and I grow every year just by looking at them.
Luckily for Igbinoghene, his chance to implement the hands-on coaching he received from Madison and Surtain and what he learned from watching Howard and Jones seems to be coming sooner rather than later.
The question remains, however. Will he finally live up to his first-round draft spot?