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Legedu Naanee is ready to emerge

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Jul 26, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Ready to emerge

    By Christopher Smith, Chargers.com
    Posted 5 hours ago

    If Legedu Naanee were a public company, all the insiders would be urging investors to buy. The fourth-year receiver seems poised to start the year with a bigger role in the offense.


    SAN DIEGO – Philip Rivers[​IMG] faked the handoff to Shawnbrey McNeal[​IMG], floated to his right and struck Legedu Naanee[​IMG] in the hands down the left sideline.

    The first play of team drills on the first day of training camp 2010 went to the receiver that was sidelined this offseason after he had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot. Running and cutting with fluidity, Naanee said the practice built confidence in his foot and that he felt fine.

    A horde of media swarmed him after practice, all wanting to know about the possibility he could open the season in the starting lineup.

    That’s heady stuff for a guy that caught 24 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns last season as he assumed a role as the third receiver. But the potential transformation follows a common trend among NFL wideouts, many of whom emerge on the field during their third or fourth seasons.

    Head Coach Norv Turner regards Naanee’s potential well, but likes the confidence displayed by his 6-foot-2, 220-pound receiver just as much.

    “If Vincent Jackson[​IMG] isn’t with us, Legedu Naanee is getting the opportunity of a lifetime,” Turner said last week. “Legedu believes he can be a dynamic, explosive receiver in this league. He has the same feeling about himself that Vincent Jackson had about himself when I got here.”

    Asked to evaluate Naanee’s strengths, Turner identified running after the catch and exploiting defenses with simple crossing routes. Naanee has produced when given the opportunity. He’s thrived on high-percentage throws, catching an NFL-best 83 percent of his targets last season. All the while, he’s studied what it takes to be one of the league’s elite pass catchers in one of its top offenses.

    “I’ve been here a few years watching Vincent work and watching what it takes. I feel like I’m ready,” Naanee said. “By the third year you’ve played in some games, you’ve been in some different opportunities, you know how the quarterback likes to throw the ball and you’ve been in certain looks, so I think that’s the point where everything comes together.”

    Philip Rivers identified his versatility and knowledge of the offense as key reasons he could excel with an increased role in the offense. The quarterback gets a close look at the time it takes receivers to develop in the NFL and thinks Naanee is on the cusp of a breakout season because of his effort and study time.

    “He looks fresh. He’s worked hard this offseason to get himself healthy to be out there Day One.” Rivers said. “He’s made big plays when they’ve been presented to him.

    “He’s stronger and seems more explosive. He’s hungry. Where that goes, we’ll see over the next month or so.”
  2. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Naanee has grasp of big opportunity

    Monday, July 26, 2010 at 9:59 p.m.

    Like any experienced wide receiver, Legedu Naanee has learned how to keep his distance.

    He will not be hovering during Vincent Jackson’s holdout, but providing his estranged teammate with plenty of space.

    The next-to-last thing Naanee wants to do is to make Jackson feel “like he’s missing out” as the Chargers start training camp. The very last thing Naanee wants to do is to squander his own shot on center stage by convincing Jackson to come back soon.

    “I feel like this is a huge opportunity for me,” Naanee said Monday afternoon at Chargers Park. “I’m excited about it. I think I’m ready for it. I’m just going to come in here and play as hard as I can and hopefully make the decision tough on them when Vincent comes back.

    “In my mind, it’s wide open. It’s everybody’s job to take. So I’m going after it the same way.”

    To that end, the Chargers’ fourth-year wideout finished Monday’s opening practice only to linger on the field for some voluntary drills. He worked on over-the-shoulder grabs against an imaginary sideline, simulating the kind of tough-angled tightrope walk that separates the third-down possession receiver from the dazzling deep threat.

    Naanee is a long way past first impressions at Chargers Park, but he certainly seems motivated by Jackson’s absence.

    “If Vincent Jackson isn’t with us, Legedu Naanee is getting the opportunity of a lifetime,” Chargers coach Norv Turner said last week. “(And) Buster Davis is getting the opportunity of a lifetime. Legedu believes he can be a dynamic, explosive receiver in this league. He has the same feeling about himself that Vincent Jackson had about himself when he got here.”

    While praising players who are in the fold is sometimes used as a tactic to pressure those who are on the fence, no one pretends that the Chargers are better off without Jackson than they would be with him. Though his comeback is clouded by a three-game suspension, Jackson is a Pro Bowl receiver fresh off his finest season, one in which he achieved career highs with 68 catches, 1,167 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

    Jackson is a difference-maker, one of those big, physical targets who can catch the ball in a confined area against tight coverage, and then trample the cornerback en route to the end zone.

    Legedu Naanee is a comparatively compact model, listed (optimistically) at 6-foot-2, more elusive than Jackson, but less electric, a standard-issue slot receiver with sure hands and decent speed.

    NFL statistics show that Naanee caught 24 of the 29 passes thrown his way last season — the highest percentage of any receiver targeted at least 25 times — and that he was most productive on second down and in the second quarter. The numerical knock on him would be that for a guy generally regarded as someone who makes people miss, Naanee’s 10.1-yard average per reception is more typical of tight ends.

    His opportunities should multiply in Jackson’s absence, and his role in the offense could change. Having made only two of his 24 receptions last year from two-wideout sets, Naanee now figures to be competing with Davis to be the man for all formations opposite Malcom Floyd.

    “You can put him in the slot, or put him at X (split end),” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “He has a great grasp of the offense. Having played the quarterback position, he has an understanding of what it’s like to stand back there. He understands windows and little things ... He sees the big picture.”
    Naanee sees, too, that this could be his time to take a prominent place in that picture. In his father’s native Nigerian, “Legedu” means “Good is coming.” For Naanee, the name works both as a translation and as a prediction.

    “He’s got the go-get-it type swagger to him,” Rivers said, “but yet he doesn’t display it in the manner of a prototypical wide receiver. I think he’s a hungry guy and he’s really excited about the potential opportunity. And he’s got the mental makeup that kind of thrives in a situation like this.”

    Like a lot of accomplished college receivers, Naanee left Boise State with his football education incomplete. He had to learn to run more precise pass routes in the NFL, and to line up with such consistent posture that he did not tip off the next play. He had to depend more on a mastery of small details and less on the talent gap between an NFL-caliber receiver and most college cornerbacks.

    “When they say you’ve got to be at six (yards) and snap your head, you’ve got to be at six ’cause there are blitzes, all kinds of stuff that you have going on that you might not see,” Naanee said. “You can’t have that little drag that you might have in college and get by on natural ability.”

    Not if you presume to replace a Pro Bowl player. Not if you plan to make a lasting mark in pro football. Certainly not if you expect to exploit a life-changing opportunity.
    “It could change it in a lot of ways,” Naanee said of the difference the 2010 season could make in his career. “The team could go a different route as far as situationally, when they want me on the field. I feel like I’m a main contributor to the offense, but obviously I want to play more.”

    Unless and until Vincent Jackson signs, the stage is there to be seized.
  3. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    Good is coming... :abq2:

    I can't wait to see this guy play more... :popcorn:
  4. nflhof

    nflhof BoltTalker

    Jul 23, 2007
    Turning up the heat on a absent VJ.
  5. Pointyearedog

    Pointyearedog I only put idiots on ignore...

    Aug 19, 2008
    Did I mention that this was one of my predictions for the season? I feel that Naanee will take advantage of the opportunity and excel.

    Pointy :icon_twisted:
  6. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007
    I think he'll have a decent season, probably around what Floyd had last year. If he does end up starting, won't it be his first time always playing against starting corners?
  7. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Official Hater

    Feb 14, 2007
    Well here in the US Legedu means (insert joke here).:lol:
  8. Dublin Bolt

    Dublin Bolt BoltTalker

    Aug 12, 2006
    Go get em Legedu!!.

    Like he says the job is there for the taking. Step right up Naanee, Josh Reed and Buster. (and maybe that young Williams kid who Acee is so high on)

    Not sure the lad with the funny name is anything more than PS material. I'm reading drops alot.
  9. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

    Jul 27, 2007
    In the US it means, "I'll get to play because no VJ!" :lol:
  10. LV Bolt Fan

    LV Bolt Fan Well-Known Member

    Aug 1, 2006
    :lol: That's a good one!

    But, the real meaning is..........I can't carry VJ's jock. :D
  11. ThunderHorse17

    ThunderHorse17 Lone Wolf

    Apr 10, 2010
    U talkin bout Seji Ajiratou? I do like hime for the PS he can take 3 years to develop jus like VJ did and jus like Legs had to do. Its one the hardest positoins to transitoin to in the NFL.

    LOVE THIS! Saw this article other day and wasnt able to comment or I would have jus said: My BOY!!

    For the record if you can find it last year in training camp Legs had a pic that jus looked crazy legs-like. In it he appers to be falling one way while at the same time his feet are under him and he is makin what looks like the most insane sudden left to right lateral movement I have seen. I think he should be called Ankles!! Only seen ankles like that on LT, granted was really only on his right ankle most of the time.

    Genious Ankles!! quote EGS

    Funny how now you all seem to be commin around to 2 of my recent favorite players in Legs and Siler.

    Speakin of Legs would love to seem some wild..frog...thundercat formations with Legs under center. LOL i think I jus figured out our new WC formation codename!

    O!! since WC is jus a new name for Single wing how bout: LEGS n Wings?
  12. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Carpe Diem et omni Mundio Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

    Jan 19, 2006
    So is Buster Davis

    Line em up and let's see who wants to start

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