The Oakland Raiders cannot replace Nnamdi Asomugha. They can just fill the position with the best player they can.
Those are the sentiments of a pair of Raiders defensive ends–one former and one current.
Trevor Scott and former Raider Jay Richardson spoke candidly about Asomugha during a recent taping of The JRich Report for the forthcoming EYES Radio Network.
To help fill the hole left behind in Asomugha’s wake, the Raiders drafted a pair of defensive backs in Demarcus Van Dyke (third-round) and Chimdi Checkwa (fourth-round).
Ironically, Asomugha may have been the perfect mentor for the pair.
“One of the first guys I met when I got to Oakland was Nnamdi,” Richardson recalled. “He just sat me down and was like ‘What do you do best? Well let’s see after practice how you can help us.’ And after a few weeks of working out and OTAs he was like, ‘Okay this is what you’re good at and this is what I can help you out with.’ He’s one of those guys he’s going to help out young guys.”
Mentoring aside, Asomugha’s performance on the field is something the Raiders are almost certainly concerned with. Given the lack of OTAs and rookie minicamps, the pair cannot be expected to step up and fill the void right away (if ever).
“I definitely think they’re trying to fill the void, obviously taking those two corners, but to fill Nnam’s void is going to be huge,” he said. “Nnam is just a freak athlete. Not a lot of teams throw to that man. And don’t be fooled he will stick his nose down there to come up and make a tackle. . . How smart this guy is, just the way he knows the defense like the back of his hand.”
Richardson echoed Scott’s sentiments on Asomugha’s intelligence while recalling his playing time with the Pro Bowl player.
“He’s such a student of the game, I mean this guy knows every single play the offense is going to throw at him,” The JRich Report namesake said. “There were games when I’d be out there and he’d look at me and go ‘Hey Jay they’re going to run a, it looks like a reverse coming your way.’ I’m like ‘A reverse?’ He’s like, ‘Oh yeah.’ I’m like ‘It’s I-Formation.’ He’s like, ‘Just trust me.’ And I played it to be a reverse and sure enough it would be a reverse. And you’re like, ‘Man, how does he know that stuff?’ But Nnam is one of those guys you don’t really replace, you just kind of refill that spot with whoever you can, the best player you can. There’s no replacing Nnam. He’s really a special football player.”
Music used in the interview courtesy of Malik L.