By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, July 17th, 2009 at 12:32 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Highlights of an interview with Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha on the “Petros and Money” show on KLAC (570-AM) in Los Angeles:
Q: How much does the coaching fluctuation play into the team’s poor record over the past six years?
Asomugha: A huge part. It plays a huge part. We can leave football and go to any company in the world. When your head person, the head guy in charge, is leaving every single year, that’s tough for the employees, it’s tough for the focus of the company to move in the right direction, and that’s been one of the problems with us. One of the things that has hurt us has been the coaching changes throughout the year, so it’s great to have Cable back, maybe that will help us a lot more.
Q: What changed when Cable took over? What did he do that caused the powers that be to bring him back?
Asomugha: He didn’t change too much. We were in the middle of the season and he didn’t want it to be like this big shock factor where everything changes and we’re trying to start all over. He was just trying to continue with what he had, and tried to build on it. But what we were able to do in those last two games, what shocked a lot of people, in getting those victories against teams that were essentially playoff teams, so that was one thing that led to the rehiring or bringing him back for this year and guys believe him, guys want to play for him.
Q: Does Al Davis text you up in the offseason, what’s it like working for him?
Asomugha: I don’ even know if he’s even into Twitter and all that stuff. It’s great working for him. First of all, he doesn’t come out all the time. People always want to know if he’s always at practice. He’ll come out every now and then, maybe once a week, just to see how the team is playing, or see how the team is preparing, but Al is a guy who wants to win, and I think that’s what gets guys going. You’re looking for a guy who wants to win so badly, and he’ll go whatever lengths he has to get that job done.
Q: Regarding the AFC West is Jay Cutler worth two first-round draft picks and mortgaging the future as Chicago did?
Asomugha: I don’t know. I think that might say a lot about the quarterback they had before Jay, more than it says about Jay, actually. Jay is definitely a great player and, you throw great around a lot, but he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the league. In my opinion, in our division, he was always one of the guys that was tough to prepare for, because he had the confidence to throw anywhere and to do anything he wanted to do. I think it’s going to be a great fit for Chicago. I didn’t understand Denver’s reasoning for letting him go because I felt he was going to help them out a lot.
Q: Talk about how difficult it is to play cornerback, how you go about handling the position . . .you’ve got to be kind of a cocky, A-hole to play that position . . .
Asomugha: It’s got to be in you It’s got to be in you somewhere. Not necessarily an A-hole but you have to have this air, you have to have this confidence inside of you, because once you lose it, the moment you lose it, you’ve lost the battle. You have to go into every play saying, I’m going to dominate this receiver that’s across from me . . . in the scheme we play in Oakland, it’s man-to-man, 95 percent of the time, and you just don’t see that anywhere else in the league, so it’s a very difficult position to play especially against the athletes that we’re going up against.
Q: Ever feel like you’re on your own out there like a lone gunman, on your own . . .
Asomugha: All the time. There’s time in the middle of the game where you’re thinking, `is anyone going to talk to me?’ The rest of the defense is taking care of business, you’re by yourself. You always feel by yourself. It’s not like a defensive lineman, where you’ve got a guy to the left and the right of him. We’re out there, 10 yards from everybody else.
Q: How important is that defensive line?
Asomugha: Rod Woodson always used to tell me, show me a great cornerback and I’ll show you a great pass rusher on that same team, and I think it works both ways. No one can cover for five, six seconds, four seconds, at that, so any time you’ve got a guy on the defensive line or a couple of guys, as we have now, as we’ve brought Greg Ellis from the Cowboys, a couple of guys that can get that pass rush, you’re going to make life much easier on the corners on the island.
Q: One guy that just is tough, harder than anyone else?
Asomugha: I would say Randy Moss. I’ve said it a few times now, any time I get the question, that’s going to be the answer. There are several receivers in the league that are above everyone else and you’re going to have to always bring you’re A-game for them, but Moss is a guy who always seems to be in his prime. Even as he ages, you wonder when he’s going to slow down, when he’s going to stop with all the tricks on the field. When I say tricks I mean, the mental games that he plays with his guys in terms of changing his routes, changing up his stance and things like that. He’s a guy you’ve got to be prepared for each and every snap. And I played with him for two years, but still couldn’t figure him out the way that I would have liked to. I would say Moss.
Note: According to his P.R. firm, Asomugha will throw out the first pitch Sunday when the Oakland A’s host the Los Angeles Angels.