Friday, July 29, 2011
Asomugha gives Eagles a loaded secondary
The Philadelphia Eagles signed the crown jewel of the free-agent class, CB Nnamdi Asomugha, to a five-year, $60 million contract Friday. He’ll help shore up an Eagles defense that allowed 31 touchdown passes last season, the most they’ve allowed since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970. In fact, two of their three worst seasons during that span have come in the past two seasons.
The 31 touchdown passes allowed was tied for third-most in the league last season with the Seattle Seahawks. Only the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys, with 33 apiece, allowed more.
Asomugha should help the Philadelphia pass defense in a boom-or-bust area.
The Eagles were near the league lead in interceptions on throws of 21 or more yards downfield, but were near league average in many other areas, and were in the bottom third on opponents' yards per pass attempt.
Asomugha joins Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- who was just acquired in the Kevin Kolb trade -- in the Eagles secondary, giving them three cornerbacks who have played in the Pro Bowl.
We've Seen This Before
The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that it’s not uncommon to assemble this kind of talent in the same defensive backfield. Since 2002, five teams have had two cornerbacks make it to the Pro Bowl in the same season, including last year’s Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and the Eagles themselves in 2002.
Green Bay sent Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson to the Pro Bowl last year and sent Woodson and former Eagle Al Harris in 2008. Philadelphia was represented by Bobby Taylor and Troy Vincent in 2002.
What he brought to the Raiders
The Oakland Raiders defense ranked in the top five in passing yards per game in each of the past five seasons, thanks in large part to Asomugha.
In 2006 he had a career-high eight interceptions, which tied for third in the NFL.
Since then, Asomugha has just three interceptions, but that's because teams largely avoid throwing at him.
He has started 75 of a possible 80 games since 2006, when he had his breakout season, and the Raiders have had one of the league’s best pass defenses in that span.
Last season, the Raiders were the best defense in the league against three-WR sets, ranking first in completions, completion percentage, yards per pass attempt and passing first downs.