Yesterday, ESPN.com held a online chat with Raiders All-Pro cornerback and S&BP Community MVP, Nnamdi Asomugha. He provided great insight with candid responses into the Raiders upcoming season.
Nnamdi wants the Raiders to draft offense because he knows that JaMarcus is the key to the Raiders success and he wants Russell to have more weapons on the outside. Aso has high hopes for Michael Huff and believes this will be his break out year. He also infers that Huff has been misused by the prior regime and they have to find a way to properly utilize his talents. Rob Ryan has many strikes against him for the way he utilized the talent that he had, but his biggest blunder was his total misuse of Huff's talent.
One thing is certain, the Raiders have a true leader in Nnamdi and he is ready now to lead us to a fourth ring!
RaiderBeat.com is also reporting that the Raiders are fielding numerous calls about trading out of their #7 pick. History suggests the Raiders won't trade down, but if there is any year that they would do it, it would be this year, if the players they really covet are not there. I'm not doing a mock draft, but I will say that the Raiders will end up with more than five players drafted before this weekend is over.
Jim (Charlotte, NC): Nnamdi, just wanted to say thanks for coming back! You are by far an integral part in turning around such a storied franchise. What do you feel makes you the BEST Corner in the NFL?
Nnamdi Asomugha: Playing man to man defense for 90 percent of your plays is more difficult than anyone can imagine. But when you're able to do it at a high level and at a consistent level, I think it speaks volumes to your skills.
Nnamdi Asomugha: That's one of the reasons why someone might say that I'm the best corner.
Drew (Buffalo): What are your feelings about who the Raiders should draft?
Nnamdi Asomugha: I would love to go offense. I would love to get JaMarcus some more weapons on the outside. Possibly Crabtree or Maclin. It will make us more explosive.
James Howell (Indianapolis): What is it like working under Al Davis?
Nnamdi Asomugha: It's a lot better than most people think. He gets a bad rap a lot of the time. But he's so focused on wininng. That is a characteristic trait that we both share. I think we have mutual respect for each other.
Mike, Worcester, MA: Does it feel good when you're out on the field and the opposing team is giving you the "Deion treatment?" How do you stay focused when teams routinely ignore your side of the field?
Nnamdi Asomugha: It doesnt always feel good. There are several games where you feel like you're in the zone and there's nothing anyone can do to complete a pass on you. But you never get that opportunity to get that interception. There are a lot of times when I get a great break on the ball and my eyes get wide and I Think I can get a pick and a score and it turns out the QB doesn't even look. So it can be frustrating, but it helps free up the rest of the defense.
Brandan (los angeles): What do u think the raiders record will be this season?
Nnamdi Asomugha: Whatever record is good enough to get us into the Super Bowl is my goal. I don't know how good we'll be as far as numbers, but I think we have the talent to go pretty far. And it looks like our division may have a down year. So that will also work in our favor.
Justy in PA: Hi! Huge fan! What receivers present the biggest coverage challenge for you, and why?
Nnamdi Asomugha: Moss probably presents the biggest challenge, not because of the size or speed, but because of the mental challenges he gives throughout the course of the game. He knows how to switch up his technique in his route running on every single play. So it's tough to get a read on it.
Matt (DC): Nnamdi, I think your work with the OWIN charity is terrific. What else do you like to do on a day off during the season?
Nnamdi Asomugha: I don't really have days off during the season. There's always some sort of work to do, whether it's watching film or getting deep tissue done. Outside of that, I just like to hang out with friends and watch movies and TV and maybe go to the beach or something and just chill.
Gerald (Chicago): do you ever get back to school?
Nnamdi Asomugha: I haven't been able to get back to any of my high school's games. I went to high school in LA. There's no way I can get back to those games, living in Oakland. But I definitely get back to the Cal games, whenever I get the opportunity. I try to get to two every season.
Danny in LA: Hi -- congrats on being considered the best corner in the league. I'd love to be able to watch the game with more insight. I'm just wondering, what do you look for when you watch other cornerbacks, and how do you determine if they are good?
Nnamdi Asomugha: Well, I don't watch other CBs in the league. Initially when I was converted into CB during my first few years in the NFL, I would watch tape on Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson and Mike Haines and try to steal some of their techniques. But as far as watching guys in today's game, I don't watch. I don't have time to. I'm too busy watching the next opponent that I'm facing. I have a lot of respect for the CBs out there today.
TD (Iowa): What do think of Cable as a head coach?
Nnamdi Asomugha: I appreciate what he had to go through in order to get the best out of his players. He was put into a situation where he had to turn around a team midway through the season. The players weren't his, the coaches weren't his. The playbooks weren't his. But he was told to make magic happen. I appreciate that struggle. Guys responded to him well. I think he has a bright future ahead.
Erick Hayward, CA: What do you think is the biggest asset the Raiders need to become a playoff contender next season?
Nnamdi Asomugha: I don't think you can make the playoffs without a stellar QB. I believe we have that in JaMarcus Russell. I think this will be the year that he gets over the mental hump of the NFL game and really figures it out. I think having Jeff Garcia there will help him out a lot. It will push him and give him another advisor.
Bob (Oakland, CA): What position do you think M. Huff is best suited for, SS, FS, or even CB?
Nnamdi Asomugha: I think Huff is best suited for a rover position. A position that allows him to be free. Make his own decisions, make his own checks and just play football. He has the abilities to play deep middle. He has the abilities to play in the box. And he has the abilities to lock up on the receiver or TE. We've got to find ways to utilize him like teams do with all of their safeties.
Jeremy (Oakland): Hey Nnamdi, big fan. Looking at next years schedule do you like the opportunity to play the division teams the first three games. S.D. at home, at K.C. and back home against Denver. Good chance to get to a great start and be undefeated and up at least 1 game in the division
Nnamdi Asomugha: It's always great to play your division early, because it gives you a sort of barometer on where you stand in your division going into the second half of the season. I think it will be beneficial for us to play those teams early. It will let us know what we need to work on and there won't be many surprises after that.
John (BAY AREA): How do you feel about Rex Ryans departure?
Nnamdi Asomugha: I don't much about him, nor do I know much about the Jets, but I feel like if he's anything like his brother Rob, he has the ability to turn anything around.
Danny Fontana, California: Nnamdi, do you see anyone having a breakout or surprising season this year on offense or defense?
Nnamdi Asomugha: Offense: Zach Miller. Defense: Michael Huff.
Nnamdi Asomugha: Thanks guys for all the questions. I appreciate it. WE have to do this again sometime. Looking forward to a wonderful season, both collectively and individually. I hope to bring back a ring when it's all said and done. Take care.