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Raider DB coaches have common de-Nnam-inator

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Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha
Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha

The Raiders now have two coaches on staff with the title of defensive backs coach-Johnnie Lynn and Clayton Lopez. And there is a common thread among the two coaches: Nnamdi Asomugha.

Nnamdi Asomugha was drafted in 2003 and it seemed upon his drafting that he would only work in the NFL as a safety.

But the Raiders drafted him to play cornerback and set forth to develop him into the kind of player they envisioned him being at the position when they chose in the first round. His drafting even shocked commissioner Tagliabue who butchered his name upon his drafting-"As-a-moo-gah-Nahm-dee".

The Raiders were eventually redeemed for their surprise pick of Mr "As-a-moo-gah" as he developed into an All Pro cornerback for the team. The man credited with much of Nnamdi's development was Clayton Lopez who was the team's defensive backs coach in 04-05. Nnamdi began showing his greatest strides under Lopez, starting every game in 2005. The following season he broke out with 8 interceptions. After that, teams began staying away from his side of the field entirely.

When Lopez left the Raiders after the 2005 season, he took a bit of a demotion as assistant secondary coach for the Detroit Lions. But with Nnamdi's rising star, the man credited with his development saw his star rise once again as well. When Nnamdi was named All Pro and went to his first Pro Bowl in 2008, Lopez was then hired as the Rams' defensive backs coach where he spent the past three seasons.

Nnamdi's contract would void itself after last season, making him instantly an unrestricted free agent. The bidding wars began immediately and the Eagles won the right to his services. The DB coach with the Eagles was Johnnie Lynn. By outward appearances, the Eagles had put together a "Dream Team" of talent last season-- namely at the cornerback position. They added Asomugha along with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to join Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel. You can bet Lynn was ecstatic to be coaching these three... until the season started.

The results were not what the Eagles were hoping. After winning their first game, they lost four in a row. Then they later had a streak in which they lost 4 of 5 games before finishing at 8-8. In those losing stretches, the defense gave up nearly 30 points per game. Nnamdi was not playing like the lockdown corner he had for the previous five seasons in Oakland and went from All Pro to not even making the Pro Bowl. This downfall contributed greatly to Lynn being fired.

So now what the Raiders have is two DB coaches whose one degree of separation was Nnamdi Asomugha. One coach is credited with developing Nnamdi, the other was blamed for his drop in production.

At least they will have something to talk about. I would imagine that conversation would go something like this:

Lopez to Lynn: "Hey, you remember Nnamdi Asomugha? Yeah, I made him and you broke him."

(awkward pause)

Lynn: "Or you could say he made you and broke me?"

Lopez: "Well, let's agree to disagree."

Lynn and Lopez: (shake and nod) "Deal!"

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