Naanee catches flak

His name means "good is coming" in Nigerian, however it seems that only bad things happened when Cam Newton targeted Legedu Naanee on Sunday.

"Don't throw it to Naanee," one person wrote on Twitter.

"Why is he even in the game," another one asked.

The Panthers nearly beat the Bears on Sunday, but they didn't. A lot of blame was placed squarely on the shoulders of Panthers fifth year receiver, Legedu Naanee.

Naanee was targeted 11 times on Sunday – more than any other player during the Panthers' loss to the Bears – yet he seemed to be unable to pull down passes when it mattered, catching only four passes on the afternoon. Cam Newton targeted Naanee on a crucial fourth down pass late in the fourth quarter, yet Naanee couldn't seem to haul in the reception.

"He was open and that's why I threw the ball," Newton said of the fourth down pass. "It was a poor throw. I just have to make a better throw. Just give him a chance, I don't think I gave him a good enough chance on that particular play but we will watch the film and make the adjustments for next weeks' game."

Reporters peppered Newton on what his read was on that play, because all afternoon, it seemed that whenever Newton targeted Naanee, whose name means "good is coming" in Nigerian, bad things happened.

"There is a roll right, it was man to man," Newton said. "He beat his guys simple and plain. The opportunity was there to give him the football, plenty enough yards for a first down but we just didn't connect."

Coach Ron Rivera was quick to defend his receiver.

"It's about attacking the coverage more than anything else," Rivera said. "We were expecting certain coverages and situations, and I believe we got a different coverage."

One reporter asked if Naanee was the only read for newton on the fourth down incompletion.

"Well, it may have happened the way the coverage was, it turned out he was the only one who had a chance at a play," Rivera said. "When we evaluate and really take a look at it, we'll be able to tell you."

Newton targeted Naanee in the first quarter on a pass over the middle. Newton threw the pass a little high, and it was deflected into the arms of a Bears defender who returned it for a touchdown.

Whatever the case -- whether it's Newton overthrowing Naanee or Naanee not running a crisp route, the two don't seem to be on the same page. The Panthers need another WR to emerge alongside veteran Steve Smith for the passing game to be successful.

Panther Insider Top Stories