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Camp questions: Can Nnamdi be a playmaker?

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, July 23rd, 2010 at 2:12 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Tenth in a series analyzing questions and issues surrounding the Raiders with players reporting to training camp Tuesday and practice starting Thursday:

Can Nnamdi Asomugha do more than than just take a wide receiver out of the game?

There’s nothing wrong with being a shutdown corner. There are very few of them around.

But Asomugha is on an island more lonely than any corner in the NFL, and the Raiders’ defensive philosophy by and large has been to leave him there.

In Asomugha’s last 46 games since he broke out with eight interceptions in 2006, he has three interceptions, 20 passes defensed and one forced fumble.

Contrast that with the six interceptions and 31 passes defensed by the Jets’ Darrelle Revis last year alone.

Once upon a time, Charles Woodson held the job Asomugha has now. He was the guy opponents rarely tested, and although there were some wrinkles in the nickel where Woodson was allowed to do more, he intercepted 17 passes in 106 games as a Raider. In his 62 games with the Packers, he has 28 interceptions.

Woodson and Asomugha talk on the phone often, and Asomugha conceded he was a little envious of the opportunities Woodson gets to make plays, but noted, “We don’t do that here.”

Asomugha upgraded his game last year as a tackler, making some physical plays at the line of scrimmage against the run. A former safety, he has the requisite ball skills, and the amount of times he gets to the ball in practice indicate he could do it in a game if the Raiders could be more creative in some of their defensive schemes.

The last year of Asomugha’s contract is in 2011, barring a work stoppage. Asomugha is scheduled to make $16.8 million or the average salary of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL, whichever is greater.

Keep in mind that both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady could be up for new deals, so Asomugha’s salary could be in the stratosphere.

Assuming Asomugha has another one-interception season and breaks up a handful of passes on the few opportunities he gets while teams avoid him, do the Raiders pick up the option? If you’re going to pay a defensive player that much, it makes sense to do more with him.

With Rolando McClain and Lamarr Houston added to a defense which in theory should be better against the run, it should enhance the pass rush because of more second-and-long and third-and-long situations.

Less time to pass means more mistakes from quarterbacks, and changing things up with Asomugha, rather than have him anchored to one side, would result in more plays made by a player dying to make them.

We’ll get an idea in training camp if there are plans to unchain Asomugha.

Previous camp questions:

Can Gradkowski start?

Will wee see T.O.?

Can less be more for Cable?

Can the starting linebackers hold up in coverage?

How good is Mike Mitchell?

Can Mario be super?

Can Higgins return to ’08 form?

Where is Seymour’s ripple effect?

Can Bush be a beast?

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  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    # lefty12 Says:
    July 23rd, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    In the media Revis will always be rated over Nnamdi-he plays in NY.
    _________________________________________________________

    He11! I rate Revis over Nnamdi, Nnamdi was the best in the league before Revis Joined. When Revis joined the NFL he was instantly a top par Cornerback, remind me, how long took it for Nnamdi to be that good, 100 years? he was a major disappointment in the beginning of his career..

  • kvnbntly

    yeah read that too, maybe “if ” howard will play special teams. Last year when Mitchell blitzed i saw bolth howard and morrison pointing the finger at him for not hitting the rb out of the backfeild, seems to me that they were bolth out of position and trying to pass the buck.

  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    # lefty12 Says:
    July 23rd, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    With Howard’s speed and quickness he should be a good ST player.
    ________________________________________________________

    even though he is a terrible hitter, he at least would be better than Ekejiuba =) LOL

  • Just Fire Baby

    Howard’s play has detoriated, he got benched last year, and they brought in a million LB’s this year.

    Seems fairly obvious to me at this stage. Of course,one injury and he is back in the fold, but without that injury or major struggles….there just might not be a spot on the team.

    And you know there is no way they are cutting Sam Williams, lol!!!

  • fat kidd

    who will lead the league in intercepetions jets or raiders?

  • lefty12

    Nnamdi changed positions when he was drafted.It took him a couple of years to get comfortable at his NEW position.He has played for one of the worst teams in the league the last few years and DOMINATED his position.Revis stepped in to a playoff caliber team.Personally,I’d take Nnamdi over Revis.But I’m sure any team would like to have either one.

  • lefty12

    LMN-I said he SHOULD be a good ST player not that he WAS a good ST player.

  • Plunketthead

    Easy one, The Raiders will.
    The jets are gonna hit the wall this year.
    Everyone will be waiting for them

  • Just Fire Baby

    We got Scott, Pain McClain, and Wimbley as starters.

    Figure we have to keep Ricky Brown as our backup MLB, and ST player. Sam Williams is on scholarship, we traded a 5th round pick for Groves so he is staying. Goethel has a chance of sticking, Slade Norris is still in the fold, and they will be using some formations like last year with MM34 in the mix.

    I just don’t see where Howard fits, but I guess we will get our answers in a month or so won’t we?

  • lefty12

    Williams,Howard,Groves-if any of them are let go it wouldn’t be shocking.

  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    for decades onward The Raiders now have two more awards in their arsenal…

    worst defensive player that Fans want to get cut… and worst offensive player that Fans want to get cut…

    From this day known as the “Sam Williams Award” (SWA) and the “Alvis Whitted Award” (AWA)…

  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    # lefty12 Says:
    July 23rd, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    LMN-I said he SHOULD be a good ST player not that he WAS a good ST player.
    _________________________________________________________

    yup, AND AGREE!

    Howard was bad against the run on D, and Ekujuiba was even worse… Ekujuiba and Hiram Eugene is to of the players I hate the most. So I gladly saw Howard get a try on ST…

    that said He isnt much of a tackler and that still is important on ST =)

  • buckeyeraider

    Williams scholarship can’t last forever, can it? Slade Norris, almost forgot about that guy. I thought he looked pretty good in limited preseason action last year.

    Howard’s Int’s have declined since his big year. I still like Howard, I guess. Although I was very critcal of him in particular after the Giant debacle last year. I thought he played very soft in that game. the whole team seemed to be sleepwalking though. One of the few times I didn’t think his players played hard for Cable.

    Like you said, we shall see here soon. Hopefully the competition will bring out the best in everyone. Everybody having to earn their spot.

  • http://Noknuckleheads! 909RaiderLifer

    It sure seemed to me last year, that whenever we had punt (often) or kick off (seldom) coverage plays. I’d hear Ekejiuba’s name called for being envolved in the play…

    I don’t think Howard will take a shine to playing ST’s…

  • Just Fire Baby

    I still like Howard, I guess

    *******************************

    Too funny…..

    I almost forgot about Slade too until I started thinking about it. He did look good in the preseason, although it was against the 3rd’s and 4ths.

    Seemed comfortable in space. I wonder what type of shot he will get this year.

  • buckeyeraider

    909,
    Yeah Ike was an excellent special teams player last year. I believe he was a pro bowl alternate. So, it was recognized around the league.
    I guess that is supposed to be Sam Williams strong point also. That and being a good locker room/chemistry guy.

    Plus, he is one of Al’s pet projects. A surprise 3rd rd pick out of Fresno St. So, I guess he’s on eternal scholarship.

  • Nnamdi21
  • http://sizzurp Dr. Steven Hawking

    He will make the Pro Bowl again.

  • http://sizzurp Dr. Steven Hawking

    Good article, worth reading, and remembering the “Good Ol’ Days”

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3897093

    No. 2: RICH GANNON, Oakland Raiders | 34-for-38, 352 yards

    Nov. 11, 2002, vs. Denver Broncos

    It’s hard to imagine a quarterback playing better than Gannon did in this pivotal Monday night game against the rival Denver Broncos.

    The Raiders represented the AFC in the Super Bowl that season. But on this November night, they were reeling. Losers of four straight, the Raiders came out firing in Denver, and Gannon was a near-perfect triggerman.

    The veteran signal-caller completed 29 of his first 30 passes and finished 34-of-38 for 352 yards and three TDs in Oakland’s 34-10 victory. In one memorable stretch, Gannon completed 21 straight passes, a single-game record at the time. On a 96-yard scoring drive in the third quarter, Gannon was 9-for-9 for 94 yards. Talk about an efficiency expert.

    Gannon’s performance looks even more impressive when you consider the opponent. Not only had the Raiders lost seven straight in Denver, but the Broncos also entered the game at 6-2 and in first place in the AFC West. (They also finished the season with the sixth-ranked defense.)

    The Raiders used their convincing victory as a springboard. It sparked a six-game winning streak as Oakland went on to capture the division title and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Gannon was also able to carry the momentum. He ended up leading the league with 4,689 passing yards and was rewarded with league MVP honors.

    Postseason victories over the Jets and Titans put Oakland in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1983. But without Gannon’s superlative effort in Denver, the Raiders’ memorable season could have easily fallen apart before it ever really got on track.

    Quote/unquote: “They came into our backyard and kind of kicked us all over the field.” — former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan

  • http://sizzurp Dr. Steven Hawking

    Man, I LOVED Gannon, but why did he have to turn into such a little b1tch after he retired?

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Al DAvis found Gannon and gave him the change to be great. Gannon became the same old KC/Minn loser after he tried to steamroll a LB. He was grudging for his tank job in the SB.

  • fat kidd

    Glenn Beck calls Brian Urlacher a neo-Nazi
    Posted by Evan Silva on July 23, 2010 6:16 PM ET
    Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun Times passes along word that FOX News television personality Glenn Beck recently referred to Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher as “a neo-Nazi” when analyzing a website-created list that Beck and Urlacher both appeared on entitled “The Blackest White Folks We Know.”

    We’d prefer not to generate the slightest bit of traffic for a website that came up with such a ridiculous topic. Thus, the website’s name will not be mentioned here.

    According to Jensen, Beck made the comment “presumably because of [Urlacher's] shaved head.” Beck’s ignorance, across the board, is stunning.

    He doesn’t know sports, and he has no tact.

  • fat kidd

    T.O. to Bengals report dismissed
    Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on July 23, 2010 8:46 PM ET
    The burgeoning sports staff at TMZ came out with a report Friday night that Terrell Owens was “very close” to a deal with the Bengals.

    A league source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the report is untrue. Then again, there was misinformation circulated about Owens’ signing with the Cowboys just before it actually happened.

    The Bengals hosted Owens for a visit earlier this offseason, but signed Antonio Bryant instead. They’ve since drafted Jordan Shipley in the third round and coach Marvin Lewis recently called receiver Andre Caldwell the most improved player on the team.

    We don’t doubt the Bengals are just wacky enough to make the move anyway, but it’s an awkward fit.

    UPDATE: Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer also says sources on both sides say the report is “not true.Looks as though T.O. is getting closer to wearing the Silver&Black.

  • lefty12

    Barring injury it ain’t gonna happen-hopefully!!!!

  • Nnamdi21

    72. Word. The mans a turd propagandist for the Neo Con (con being the operative word) multi national monopolies that own the Government.

    Fear machine.

    Divide and conquer when the real foe sits on Wal mart shelves…

  • Nnamdi21

    Fat kidd says…

    UPDATE: Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer also says sources on both sides say the report is “not true.Looks as though T.O. is getting closer to wearing the Silver&Black.

    ============================

    Negative.

    NFLN just had T.O. on last hour saying he wants to play for a contender and besides, we don’t want him…

  • fat kidd

    Nnamdi21 Says:
    July 23rd, 2010 at 7:48 pm
    Fat kidd says…

    UPDATE: Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer also says sources on both sides say the report is “not true.Looks as though T.O. is getting closer to wearing the Silver&Black.

    ============================

    Negative.

    NFLN just had T.O. on last hour saying he wants to play for a contender and besides, we don’t want him…

    …………….raiders are a contender……..

  • fat kidd

    mcfadden or jacoby ford in the wildcat?

  • RaiderFanFromJersey

    As excited as I am about the upcoming season and our chances this year, I wouldn’t say the Raiders are a SuperBowl Contender (I’m sure that’s what was meant by a contender). I think we are a contender for the division, a contender for the playoffs – as long as the pieces fall in place the way we need them to. But let’s not get too carried away now with this “contender” talk. 9-7, possibly 10-6 would be a wonderful season for us, but A LOT of things need to go right to get there (lack of injuries, improved run defense, improved o-line play, 3rd down efficency, ect…). Lets’s get into camp and see where we are before you start making superbowl reservations, please?

  • fat kidd

    yeah and i am excited because we officialy have a kick returner!!!witch cant hurt are chances

  • http://sizzurp Dr. Steven Hawking

    fat kidd Says:
    July 23rd, 2010 at 8:28 pm
    yeah and i am excited because we officialy have a kick returner!!!witch cant hurt are chances

    ——————————————————

    We do who? If you are referring to Jacoby Ford as our “official kick returner” then you are a fukn retard.

  • RaiderFanFromJersey

    How bout no wildcat? How bout 2 back sets with Bush wearing down opposing defenses for 4-6 yds a clip & then DMC breaking a toss for 50+ yd homeruns? Smashmouth Raider football. Play action to our track star recievers for BIG plays. None of these new-fangled copycat schemes. Keep it fundamentally sound, winning football. To hell with the wildcat….unless it works for us, lol.

  • fat kidd

    jacoby ford,yamon figurs,michael bennett,rock cartwright pick one if you were happy with a fullback returning kicks like last year than your a tool…!!

  • fat kidd

    its a lot better starting a drive on the 45 then being backed up against your end zone all the time we always had poor field position last year.

  • http://sizzurp Dr. Steven Hawking

    fat kidd Says:
    July 23rd, 2010 at 8:34 pm
    jacoby ford,yamon figurs,michael bennett,rock cartwright pick one if you were happy with a fullback returning kicks like last year than your a tool…!!

    ——————————————

    Yeah, because everyone of those in your “list” are proven and stellar return men. Jeezuz H fatty, setting the bar a bit low are you?

  • fat kidd

    jacoby ford returns kicks chris berhman on espn it goes like this……..he……….could……go……all…..the……wayyyyyy!!!!!

  • http://sizzurp Dr. Steven Hawking

    fat kidd Says:
    July 23rd, 2010 at 8:44 pm
    jacoby ford returns kicks chris berhman on espn it goes like this……..he……….could……go……all…..the……wayyyyyy!!!!!

    ————————————————-

    Go to bed already.

  • fat kidd

    chris berman there goes jacoby model t ford for a touchdown!!!!!!!!!!

  • fat kidd

    isnt steven spelled stephen dr.hawking??

  • http://sizzurp Dr. Steven Hawking

    Yes fat kidd, it’s a slam on Semour Bush Oakdork. He spelled Dr. Hawking as Steven, not Stephen. SO I spell it this way because it pisses him off, and because he is a fkn moron.

  • fat kidd

    Dr. Steven Hawking Says:
    July 23rd, 2010 at 8:47 pm Agreed, Fk the wildcat. How bout some good old north and south down the field smash mouth football……………………………………if you can figure out how to keep mcfadden from tripping over the yard markers we could play smash mouth!!!!

  • fat kidd

    seymour bush got pissed off the other night says he is not coming back..

  • http://sizzurp Dr. Steven Hawking

    fat kidd Says:
    July 23rd, 2010 at 8:53 pm
    seymour bush got pissed off the other night says he is not coming back..

    ———————

    Yeah right, he will be back, he is addicted. He is the biggest troller on this blog, he never left, he never will. He might retire the lame azz name “Seymour Bush”, but he will NEVER leave this blog. THis is his only life, his only socialization in life, be it negative, he still thrives on it, for him, it’s better than nothing.

  • fat kidd

    Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is poised for a breakout year in my mind, but he might also be heading for a break up year. According to Mediatakeout.com, McFadden is supposedly in a current relationship with a woman who is the mother of his child. However, yesterday a different woman who has been doing the endzone dance with McFadden started circulating photographs of a rendezvous with the Raiders running back in a hotel room. She has circulated the pics, and you can see them here. I’m sure we haven’t heard the end of this one yet. What’s next? A lawsuit because she’s pregnant? A possible shot for a reality show? Money for more incriminating photos? Don’t these athletes realize by now there is an entire culture of women wanting nothing more than to get freaky with the athlete and then profit from it? Start thinking with the big head.

  • priesttj

    As far as addressing the blog question, Nnamdi can be a playmaker anytime he choses to. Playing that position is somewhat restrictive true. But if you can anticipate and peel off your coverage you can victimize some QB’s. I used to watch Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes do it. I used to watch Willie Brown do it. But you have to gamble some which means you will expose the defense integrity. You have to cheat. Nnamdi is a by the book player who plays his position to the “T” he blankets his man and denies him the ball. Which is great it’s what the coaches are asking him to do. BUt if he wants to get picks he has break his assignment and cheat to make plays. It’s up to him if he has that kind of confidence in his safety and his ability to make the play.

    Ed Reed for the Ravens does it all the time. he cheats up and gambles in order to make plays. But those plays in most cases are game changing and game winning plays. Nnamdi has that ability but des he have that kind of confidence?

    So the answer to the question will Nnamdi be a playmaker? Sure if he wants to.

  • http://www.actionext.com/playlist_57486.html La Milicia Negra

    Condolences to Bill Cowher, cancer is a b1tch..

  • Pingback: #NFL News and Notes – July 24, 2010 | The Other 31

  • J Wiggle

    Bruce Campbell is a BEAST …

    Let’s see what happens now that the pads will be on!

  • J Wiggle

    Walker at RT and Campbell at RG = a lot more 3rd and 2′s converted!

  • J Wiggle

    Is there a FB on the roster?

    Getting kinda close to camp starting for that position to still be open.

    Marcel Reese maybe ??????