If you live outside of Oakland, you need to listen to this audio if only for the reason of learning how Nnamdi Asomugha’s name is pronounced. The guy is hands down the best cornerback in the NFL. Champ Bailey was dethroned about two years ago, and Nnamdi is just now getting his due.
Nnamdi signed the richest deal ever given to a defensive back this past off season. The first two years of the contract are fully guaranteed. I’m assuming this is a clause Nnamdi insisted on after seeing the Raiders throw DeAngelo Hall to the scrap heap months after signing him to a huge contract. The third year of the deal, Nnamdi is to receive an average of the top five highest paid cornerbacks, or $16.785 million, whichever number is larger.
The Raiders defense is the least of their concerns currently. Oakland’s offense, which ranked 29th in the NFL last season, has been on life support since Rich Gannon retired. Jeff Garcia was brought in this off season to challenge JaMarcus Russell, and the Raiders used their 1st round pick, seventh overall, to select wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Nnamdi Asomugha joined 790 the Zone in Atlanta to discuss the firing of former Head Coach Lane Kiffin as well as other issues related to the Raiders chances in 2009.
Asomugha was asked about Lane Kiffin and his coaching style, before being fired this past season:
“I was fine with Lane. I don’t know how many guys on the team actually believed him and followed him in that way. He was a great motivator, but I think that was the thing that lacked was just players being completely convinced as to what he was talking about and his goals. Me myself, I was fine with Lane. I thought Lane came in and turned around, was in the process of turning around, what was a dismal situation. What he’s doing now in college, I just laugh every time I see him on Sportscenter. I think he’s trying to get everybody riled up and trying to get some emotions going. He’s just got to back it up now.”
On when he thinks the Raiders are going to turn things around:
“The funny thing is that I see the light at the end of the tunnel. You can call me crazy but I see it at the end of the tunnel at the beginning of every year. I saw it coming every year and I’m saying ‘this is going to be the year we’re going to turn it around’. And then we go out and we haven’t been able to put it together. So again, I’m coming into this year, you know we brought back the coach that was with us for the last half of the year so that helps because you’re not learning too much and you’re not always having guys trying to prove something to a new coach. We’ve got pretty much the same plays, the same players. It should be a better year just because we’ve got that growth.”
Asomugha was asked if he sees Jeff Garcia beating out JaMarcus Russell for the starting QB job:
“You know what, Jamarcus is the starter. He’s the first pick of the draft a few years ago so of course he’s going to be the starter but I don’t see Jeff Garcia backing down. He wants to play, he wants to be on the field. It’s great that JaMarcus has this person behind him that’s as hungry as he is to get on the field and make plays. Now JaMarcus will be holding himself more accountable for a lot of things and develop the mental part, and hopefully develop more of the mental part to his game and be able to lead us that way on the field.”