Asomugha understands what Philly wants

May, 29, 2012
5/29/12
11:17
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[+] EnlargeNnamdi Asomugha
Drew Hallowell/Getty ImagesCornerback Nnamdi Asomugha says the Eagles are primed to make noise in the 2012 season.
Jeff McLane had a nice Sunday feature on Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who says he wanted to come to Philadelphia last year because he knew how hungry the place was for a championship and he wanted to be part of bringing one to it. Asomugha admits that his first season with the Eagles wasn't up to his standards, and he's thought a lot about why that is -- specifically, how much of what he was asked to do was different from what he did in Oakland. And he believes this year will be better, for himself and for the team. But I think what's interesting is the stuff in the story about Asomugha continuing to learn and understand the nature of the Philadelphia sports fan and community, and to continue to appreciate that playing in Philly isn't just about playing well:
"The reason why I liked it to an extent was there was accountability," Asomugha said. "Whereas in [Oakland], 8-8 was, 'Shoot, we reached 8-8!'"

Asomugha has good reason to believe things can be different this year, including the trade that sent Asante Samuel to Atlanta and should allow him and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to play more man-press coverage in 2012:
During workouts this spring, Asomugha has been huddling up the cornerbacks and repeating the mantra, "Last year was about growth. This year is about showing what we've become."

"I think about how much sweeter it's going to be now," Asomugha said, "when we do it after what we went through."

Asmougha, the transplanted West Coaster, could have been speaking for Eagles fans who haven't experienced a championship for 52 years. He may not be from here, or even fit in, but if he delivers, the fans will love him for it.

Yes, I agree with Jeff's conclusion: The players and coaches who deliver the Eagles' first Super Bowl title will be all-time legends in the town, the way the members of the 2004 Red Sox will forever be revered in Boston or the members of the 1994 Rangers will never have to pay for a meal in New York. The idea of being one of those players would have to be enticing to anyone who has an appreciation for the drama inherent in professional sports, and Asomugha is the sort of man who appreciates his place in the larger picture.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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