Andy Reid Happy With Nnamdi

 Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo talks to cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.Nnamdi Asomugha now has 20 games under his belt with the Eagles, and the jury is still very much out in the court of public opinion.

 Andy Reid on Monday was asked to assess his big-money cornerback following a tight win over the Giants.

“Listen, he’s a great player. He understands what we’re doing, he’s making plays,” said Reid. “And like any corner in this league, there is going to be one or two where you wish you had them back. But that’s all part of it, especially in the type of defense that we run where you’re going to get up and challenge on every snap. That happens.”

Asomugha had a turbulent night against New York. He was forced to the sideline for a big chunk of the game with an eye injury but eventually returned and played 44 of a possible 68 snaps. He appeared to be the main defender on Domenik Hixon on a big reception down the right side on the Giants’ go-ahead scoring drive midway through the fourth. On the Giants’ final possession, he was whistled for a questionable pass interference infraction. Asomugha also drew the offensive interference penalty on Ramses Barden that all but pushed the Giants out of field goal range in the closing seconds.

“He challenged, that’s what he did,” said Reid. “And some of those, when you guys have a chance to look at the tape, you’ll see that when you have help over the top and you are in a trail position, sometimes it looks like you might be getting beat down the field. But there are reasons as you look at it that you’ll see.

“We’ve all got things we need to work on. He’s no exception  and he has that mentality to do that. I was proud that he came back in and fought like crazy to get back out there and to play.”

More from the head coach:

* Michael Vick has a knee contusion but is fine. LeSean McCoy tweaked his knee and has a little swelling but is expected to be OK. Akeem Jordan (hamstring) is making progress but will struggle to practice Wednesday. Derek Landri has some knee inflammation but should be OK. Jon Dorenbos (ankle) made it through the game fine and should be able to practice Wednesday. Colt Anderson (knee) is expected to return this week. King Dunlap (hamstring) will practice this week, though Reid was noncommittal as to whether he would start at left tackle in front of Demetress Bell.

* On if the heavy dose of the run game was recognition that this offense needs to be more balanced, or if it was a game plan specific to the Giants.

“I will tell you that you like to have a balance,” said Reid. “Does that necessarily mean that it’s a 50-50 balance? No, that’s not necessarily what it means.  Number one, you want to make sure that you do what it takes to win. And then two, you want to make sure you get your group in rhythm and that you keep the defense out of rhythm. The best way to do that is to utilize all your different groupings on offense and give the defense different looks, and at the same time give your offensive line, quarterback and running back an opportunity to get themselves going.”

* Reid explained the 3rd-down play in the red zone late in the game, where Vick rolled out to his left and ultimately just went down.

“It gave us three options. It gave us two receivers on that side that we could work and then it also added Mike into the equation as a runner. If the play wasn’t there, as opposed to forcing something, and if Mike couldn’t score by running, just go ahead and get down; try to do it in bounds. Get down, the clock will continue to run…and we can go ahead and kick the field goal.”


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  • Matt Broad

    I’ve come to think of Nnamdi almost as I would think of an offensive lineman – if you don’t hear his name, that’s a very good thing; and if you do hear his name, the offense likely just made a play.

    • Tyler Thierolf

      Very true, during all his years in Oakland he only compiled a handful of highlights because quarterbacks didn’t throw his way. For every pass that is completed to his man there’s 10 plays his guy was completely taken out of the play and the QB didn’t even think about throwing it his direction. The downside to being a pure shutdown corner means that the fans aren’t going to hear your name unless you get beat. =/

  • ICDogg

    I think he played a good, aggressive game.

    • bentheimmigrant

      I feel a bit like he was born 30 years too late though. He pushes the line using his hands down the field – he does well not altering the receivers’ path (most of the time), but I get the feeling he would be legendary if he could really mix if up with them.

  • BlindChow

    So does Nnamdi’s penchant for getting drive-extending defensive pass interference penalties outweigh his penchant for drawing game-deciding offensive pass interference penalties?

    • ICDogg

      He had one of each… don’t think he deserved the PI call that went against him. DRC also had a PI call against him, which was legit.

      The one where he drew the offensive PI was a great play. If Barden hadn’t mugged him, it very likely would have been a game-deciding interception instead.

      • Adam

        It still baffles me why Barden would do that! Not that I mind, it saved our ass, but WHY would you mug Nnamdi so obviously?! It’s not like they needed the TD, they were in field goal range. Unless Nnamdi was going to get the pick, which could have been the case. Otherwise I’m confused.

        • ICDogg

          I think he was in position to get that pick. And that would have ended the game right then and there, but for a kneeldown.

        • ICDogg

          SBNation has a good gif of the play

        • To save the potential INT. It was Eli’s mistake on the throw and he owned up to it in the PC after the game.

      • BlindChow

        He also drew the offensive PI that called back a touchdown in the Ravens game. Just thought it was a funny coincidence is all. But he’s had at least one defensive PI called against him in every game this year, hasn’t he?

  • Adam

    Its been my opinion for awhile that people’s expectations for Nnamdi were too high.. he was doomed for failure in the public eyes since day one. People expect a Revis but Nnamdi doesn’t play like that. He didn’t get thrown to in Oakland because there was no reason to do so. You can just throw at Chris Johnson on the other side or any other of the the inept defenders in Oakland. He’s not gonna have a ton of picks and he may get beat on occasion but he plays solid ball. Doesn’t draw a lot of attention to himself. He’ll get tested a lot more than he’s used to with DRC on the other side, but I think as a cerebral player he will get better as the year goes on.

    And no one seems to talk to about his run defense either. He’s made quite a few sure tackles coming up to the line of scrimmage. Something you’d never see Asante do.

    • JofreyRice

      Don’t you think the expectations were based on his profile and price tag? He’d been franchised, and subsequently made the highest paid CB in the league by Oakland. He was the marquee free agent on the market. You’re describing a defender that was the beneficiary of being “solid” on a horrible defense, at best–which is something I can agree and ultimately live with–but that opinion seems pretty heavily influenced by the benefit of hindsight, based on his play in Philly.

      Despite Reid’s predictable an inevitable words of support, there is no doubt the Eagles had higher expectations from a guy they paid 4 million dollars more than Johnathan Joseph for. Nnamdi wasn’t supposed to just be some “solid” cornerback, the Eagles followed up where Oakland left off, and once again made him the highest paid corner in the league–making about ~ 3 mil more than Revis or Champ Bailey, this season. They paid for a “shutdown cornerback”. They didn’t get one.

      Whatever Andy may say, If Nnamdi doesn’t improve his play, I don’t expect the Eagles to pony up his 15 mil in base salary next season…no way.

      • Adam

        I fully expected a restructuring in the offseason.

        • JofreyRice

          I’d agree–it’s either that or release–but doesn’t that kind of support the point that hes’ not meeting the expectations of the contract?

          • Adam

            No? Cullen Jenkins played great football last year, everything we expected and more, and he still got restructured. They’ll find a way to make it more cap friendly but keep him happy money wise. It’s just what the Eagles do.

          • JofreyRice

            Can’t quite agree with you. Jenkins was not a marquee free agent signing like Aso was. He was not getting as much interest on the open market as he hoped he would, because of age/injury concerns, and the Eagles scooped him up. The deal he signed with the Eagles was reasonable in the first year, and ballooned in the second. It was clear that Jenkins’ contract was evaluation-based, and would be re-visited after 2010. Nnamdi’s deal is more typical of big money long term free agent contract–there was nothing like the same huge increase in the second year.

  • He’s been very underwhelming so far and I’m tired of people making excuses for him. Last year it was, “He can’t play zone” and “they’re not using him right”. Well, this year they are using him in press, and he’s still getting beat 2-3 times a game. Teams are targeting him instead of DRC (who we should re-sign now). He doesn’t recover well and is always in search of over the top help. I have a feeling he won’t be on the team next season….that money could be spent on the o-line and a safety (to replace that stiff Coleman).

    • Jason A Hines

      I have to disagree. Also I have to ask, what is the definition of getting beat? He’s not getting beat 2-3 times a week for TDs. He’s not even getting beat 2-3 times a week for long completions. It seems to me that Nnamdi plays smart football in the concept of the defense. The times when “he” has given up big plays, there have been other breakdowns on the D that led to that.

      • BostonianEagle

        For instance, that Fitzgerald touchdown last week where Coleman was completely missing from the play. It happened AGAIN this week where Coleman bit on the play-fake and Nmandi was hung out left to dry. Nate Allen bit on a fake too. So many folks emphasizes that this is a team game, and yet they waste no time to point out every single moment when one player appears to be at fault on the play.

        • When you’re getting paid Revis money, you shouldn’t need over the top safety help. Revis and Champ Bailey didn’t need it….

          • You do realize that you can only play the defense that is called. Revis doesn’t get help because that’s how the defense is called. The safety doesn’t just say, “oh well he’s got the receiver let me help out somewhere else”. And the Eagles have never run their defense to where the corners were on an island ala the Jets or the Broncos when Champ was in his prime. So it’s not even a matter of need, its a matter of what defensive play was called. Johnathan Joseph, Brandon Carr, Dunta Robinson, Cortland Finnegan all got paid around the same money as Nnamdi and they all play different styles.

      • Committing pass interference penalties or giving up over the top TDs is getting beat. When Fitgerald beat Nnamdi/Coleman…it was mainly Coleman’s fault. But, who exactly was he passing Fitz off to cover? He should have been with him stride for stride to double cover him. That’s my problem with him. Everyone is making excuses for the guy….and ignoring the truth. He’s just a very average player.

        • Yeah Nnamdi is on the same level as Dmitri Patterson and Ellis Hobbs. I’m not saying that Nnamdi hasn’t made mistakes but people act like he’s just atrocious. The dude has not given up that many plays. And for that matter, DRC has given up about around the same as him, yet the in 4 weeks QBs have the lowest QB rating against our QBs. No one is making excuses, but you have to be kidding if you say this guy is average. That’s laughable at best. And your criticism of the Fitz TD you actually completely let Coleman off the hook just to crush Nnamdi. Your suggestion of him to run stride for stride with him when its supposed to be ZONE coverage is off as well. Again, im not saying that he hasn’t made mistakes but his volume is mistakes is considerable low compared to the other corners in the league. I’ll tell you what, lets trade him for one of the giants Corners and see how great our secondary looks.

    • xlGmanlx

      The problem is Kurt Coleman is a fraud as a NFL player. Every big play usually results from him biting on a fake or getting toasted and players playing different leverage expecting support over the top from him. Coleman STINKS!

    • JofreyRice

      the “defend-Asomugha-at-all-costs” contingent is a bit puzzling to me. I don’t think those that offer negative critique of his play are being unfair. I haven’t read any comments stating that the guy is the league’s worst cornerback–other than the strawmen from Aso apologists—just that he’s not the shutdown guy he got paid as. I agree there is no way the Eagles shell out 15 million in base salary next year for more of the same slightly-above-mediocre play from Aso.

      • John Doerien

        Slightly above mediocre hahaha. You guys are terrible (haha) and watch too much Reality TV. I guess if Nnamdi played more like Revis we’d be uh…3-1. Y’all are complaining about his money like our team isn’t $26mn under the cap. I agree Nnamdi has not played like some all- world God at corner…but who has?? I am just looking through articles to see where he mentioned being the greatest of all time. Hey lets get the Jets’ Cromartie instead. Crazy thing is if Nnamdi gets one INT everyone will say “now he’s a shutdown corner!” Glad he doesn’t read these blogs – useless. You can’t defend at all cost – but some Philly fans act like Nnamdi isn’t bringing a physical style of play to the secondary that has frustrated EVERY receiver the team has played. Except the silly zone we played against AZ. He’s not an INT machine but a blog dedicated to his “struggles” is a bit much for secondary posting its best numbers (lowest QB rating/ efficiency in the league) – next topic.

        • Adam

          Amen brother, you nailed it.

          • John Doerien

            “Extreme Couponing” Hahaha – good stuff. I just think we are going overboard on the critique. Is he the $60 mn dollar man you thought he would be? – probably not. Is he Revis? – Maybe when he was 27 but the guy is 5 years older…I think. Just haven’t seen Nnamdi play that bad and the numbers prove it. I guess we can reassess later. JoFreyRice you’re not terrible but your expectations were too lofty thats all…Guarantee the next CB stepping into his role will be a significant drop off. But lets not go there given we are 3-1 with the best CB tandem in the game playing physical – for now. I think the Nnamdi Revis debate ended a while ago. Neither has won a ring yet so I guess thats next on the lsit. Hope Revis is as great at 31 as they both were at 26-29. Thats all. Now go get a Cheeseburger before Real Houswives starts.

        • JofreyRice

          So your rating system is as follows:

          playing like some all-world God (who has??)
          INT machine
          ???? (Asomugha)
          slightly-above-mediocre (certainly not Asomugha–laughable!)
          terrible (anyone who offers criticism of Asomugha)

          Good to know. Looking forward to more analysis, but have to run as “Extreme Couponing” is starting.

    • Alex

      4 completetions in 15 targets in 4 games. You’re a goof just like you are on twitter

  • barnell

    Tim & Sheil – could you guys create a chart comparing Nnamdi to Vincent, Taylor, Sheppard, Brown and Samuel. Something concrete beyond the eyeball test.

  • Well…Reid said Pinkston was doing a good job as well……
    C’mon, what’s he going to say? Reid NEVER admits his mistakes and always sticks up for guys he’s drafted or signed. He threw big money at the top free agent and his style apparently doens’t mesh with our system. Not Reid’s first swing & miss.

  • I definitely feel like Nnamdi is more of an asset against the bigger stronger receiver which seem to be most of the top tier guys, but faster guys give him a bit of trouble.

  • Coleman didn’t do Nnamdi any favors on a few plays there. Looked like Asomugha was expecting inside help while Coleman was streaking forward to bite on a play fake. I don’t think he’s been GREAT, but he’s also getting hung out to dry by his safeties.

    • CL1509

      EXACTLY! Coleman is Horrific in coverage and teams are picking up on that. He continues to bite HARD on play action fakes and leaves the corners without over the top help. Pittsburgh will have a field day with them on Sunday if this isn’t addressed!

  • Vic in LA

    Every corner gets beat. Just like every receiver drops balls, every OL misses blocks, every QB has bad throws and every LB misses tackles. Too many people expect perfection, it is insane. Do you guys see the force with which he jams receivers at the LOS it’s crazy. He doesn’t look strong but the man generates tremendous disruptive force.

    • Yeah I was thinking that when I saw him cave Ramses Barden’s chest in and his head snapped back before poking Nnamdi in the eye.

  • Tyran Mackey

    Watched Nnamdi closely this season. I am confused by Eagle Nation. Forget the hype (which we created) or the contract. The guy plays smart football, is humble and competes out there. I thought thats what we do in Philly. He never claimed to be a highlight reel. We have the best CB tandem in the league and we complain. You’d be hard pressed to find another All Pro corner/ Free Agent or maybe we should bring back Sheldon Brown. QB ratings in the entire league are lowest against the Eagles. Every corner on our team has been beat in each game yet Nnamdi gets singled-out…UNREAL. I guess he should hold a workout on his lawn to justify our feelings..Lets go get Antonio Cromartie so we can all smile has he gives up plays and runs his mouth..but may get an INT in a loss. Nnamdi is solid, not flashy, just solid.

    • GoBirds1

      Except when he gets beat or does not have over the top help, he quits on the play. He has done that several times and that is unacceptable regardless of the expectations. Furthermore, he is not that good period. He repeatedly gets beat off the jam, does not have make up speed, and never turns and makes a play on the ball. So where is he good, run support? hahaha

  • I suppose it’s not a surprise that Reid Apologists are sticking up for Reid’s guy Nnamdi.
    Is Nnamdi the worst CB in the league? Of course not. I think some of us are just saying that he’s not nearly lived up to the hype and isn’t earning the large contract…to this point.

    • Meh

      And who’s fault is it for hyping him up? Media and fans. Dude didn’t come out and say “I’m a shut-down corner! Make me rich!” ESPN and the sports media built him up to a” sweepstakes” and now you’re let down cause his armor isn’t always shining and his nose ain’t always clean. They did the same thing to Andrew Luck and Cam. At least Nnamdi isn’t another CJ2K or Haynesworth. Dude saved our ass this game. Give him a break.

    • D3Keith

      I’m firmly in the Nnamdi is a lot better than people give him credit for camp, and I’m on board with the idea that every corner gives up some receptions, and NA does a lot of technical things that the untrained eye doesn’t appreciate. And his safety help isn’t always great.

      That said, the second part of your comment is fair. I don’t necessarily agree, but it’s valid for people to have that opinion, depending on how much they hyped him up in their own minds.

  • CL1509

    Too much focus has been put on Nnamdi. Dion Sanders in his Prime would have problems in this defense with the Safeties we have. Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman are the worst starting safety duo I have seen on this team in YEARS!

  • The weak link in the Defensive Backfield is Coleman. Coleman is easy to sucker out of position, all it takes is one false step and Coleman never recovers to catch a receiver with world class speed. Coleman thinks big hits in run support first.

    5 Passing Touchdowns in 4 games, with 5 Interceptions is not to shabby for a pass defense. Considering Coleman gets played out of position as much as he does against quality Offenses.

    Ryan has an interception also for a total of 6 in 4 games for this defense. The competition is only going to get better beginning this week against the Steelers.

  • 85

    Sheil and T-Mac, it’d be great if you guys could use the All-22 this week to take a look at these plays, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it seems like every time Nnamdi gets beat, Coleman is the safety to that side. Happened with Fitz last week, and the one to Hixon on the last drive too.

    In particular, on the replay of the Hixon play, Nnamdi is playing under him as though he’s completely taking away any in-routes. Maybe the Giants had a sight adjustment, maybe it was the call, but Hixon went vertical and Nnamdi is playing catch-up because no one is there. Could be that Nnamdi was out of position, but Collinsworth mentioned numerous times that Coleman was being too aggressive in run support. On the other hand, when they tested Nnamdi with Barden earlier, Allen was in perfect help position and nearly picked Manning.

    Against Pittsburgh – who can’t run the ball whatsoever – it is extremely important that this stop, because Wallace and Brown are going to require safety help at times, and Miller is capable of hurting them down the middle if Coleman keeps taking himself out of position.

    • D3Keith

      This is called trail coverage, which Andy referred to in the comments:
      “Nnamdi is playing under him as though he’s completely taking away any in-routes.”

      Good eye to recognize it. A lot of people who’ve watched football for a lot of years have no idea about stuff like that.

  • Alex

    Everybody needs to be quiet. 4 completions on 15 targets in 4 games. That’s it. Just be quiet.

  • Alex

    Alot of you ‘fans’ are just completely ignorant and have no idea what you’re talking about. Nate Allen is playing is at Pro Bowl level and Coleman has had 2 or 3 mistakes that have cost us. Big deal. Opposing QB’s (Flacco, Eli) that have torched everybody have struggled mightily against us. We’re 3-1. End of story

  • Joe M. Allentown, Pa.

    Yeah right andy….. like juan was doing….. guess I HAVE TO DO A BETTER JOBb of watching you and your coaches adusting to teams running circles @ your game plan for them!