Asomugha: ‘I Had a Tough Time Last Week’

Last Sunday, after the Eagles fell to the Lions, Nnamdi Asomugha addressed reporters at his locker.

The Birds had shut down Calvin Johnson and the Detroit offense for three quarters, but collapsed in the fourth quarter and overtime of a 26-23 loss. Asomugha seemed to question Juan Castillo and some of the calls that were made at the end of the game. But today, he said that wasn’t his intention.

“I had a tough time last week when those stories came out, to be honest,” Asomugha said. “It was moreso a character thing. And it’s something that I would never do as a player. And I think you guys will start to know that a little bit more as we continue to get to know each other. There’s no underlying of ‘This was said, but it might have meant this.’ I wouldn’t do that to a coach and especially Juan. Just because as far as a player-coach relationship, we had been so communicative. It wasn’t a good feeling. But after speaking to him and him knowing that wasn’t the case, I think it made it a lot better. I don’t think that had anything to do with him being let go.”

Asomugha spoke positively about his relationship with Castillo.

“It’s part of the business of football,” he said. “We all respect him. I respect Juan as a man and as a coach. He’s going to land on his feet and he’s going to do well. It was tough at first to hear it because you’ve pretty much grown so much with a guy and seen him grow so much, but you know he’s going to be fine.”

Had the players lost confidence in Castillo?

“I don’t think so, I don’t think so,” Asomugha said. “We all felt like, or feel like, we’re a really good defense. We’ve played well. There were moments when we didn’t play well, but I think just the bottom line is winning games. You win games, and none of this is talked about. It might be talked about still, but it’s not going to get to the level that it got to. And I think we’ve played well enough to win some of those games. It’s just pulling it out in the end. I don’t think anybody’s questioned us as a defense. Even talking to guys today, everybody’s like ‘We think this defense is good.’ The players, everybody feels that way, so we’re still confident as a defense.”

For the most part, Asomugha is right. The unit is much improved from last year’s group, but against the Lions, the Eagles entered the fourth quarter with a lead, only to see it slip away. That’s happened six times in the last 22 games.

Asked if he felt like the players let Castillo down, Asomugha said, “I don’t know. As a player, how do you really adjudicate something like that? My mind can’t even think on that level because I’m a player. Those decisions are all for the people in upper management. I couldn’t say if players let him down or what the reason was for why he was let go. As a player, I can’t even think on those terms.”

Going forward, Asomugha will take instruction from new coordinator Todd Bowles. The secondary has been the strength of the defense so far. The Eagles are No. 1 in opponents’ completion percentage (52.7) and tied for second in opponents’ yards per attempt (6.2). Often times, they’ve been dealing with bad starting field position because of shoddy special-teams play or turnovers by the offense.

As for Bowles, the players aren’t sure yet how the Eagles’ scheme is going to change or how he’s going to call games on Sundays.

“He might call games a little differently,” Asomugha said. “It just depends on how he sees it and how he sees the situation that we’re in. But I don’t know about the plays as much. Today was more about correcting the mistakes we’ve made in the past. So you don’t really know or can gauge what he’s going to do, but there’s a lot of confidence in his abilities.”

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