On a handful of times this week Dolphins wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, signed just over a week ago, has told reporters he's ready to play Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.
"I'll be there," he said. "Ready to play. I'm excited about it."
Yeah, well, why doesn't coach Joe Philbin sound quite as enthusiastic about the prospect of putting Gaffney, inactive last week, on the field this week?
“He’s making progress. He’s making progress, yeah," Philbin said. "Part of it is getting through the terminology barrier. Part of it is learning the concepts themselves. Football’s football. It’s not all that much different, but still there’s a little bit. He’s working hard at it, staying after practice. We’ll see how he progresses."
Let me break that down for you: Gaffney can be an asset once he's in football shape (not quite there yet), healthy (pretty much there) and fully versed in the playbook (not there at all). Gaffney, I'm told, is finding a comfort level with his game plan assignments. He's got some of that down. But he is nowhere near knowing the Dolphins playbook and he is struggling to learn the language of the playbook and calls.
So, yes, the team wants him and needs him. But is he truly ready?
"It can be a little bit more of a challenge if they haven’t been around much," Philbin said of the difficulty of putting a new player into games. "I think he’s making good progress."
We should know exactly how good Sunday.