The San Francisco 49ers appear to have the makings of an excellent defensive backfield next year. Despite the loss of safety Dashon Goldson, the 49ers managed to pick up a significant piece at cornerback in by bringing former Oakland Raider star, Nnamdi Asomugha, back to the Bay Area. Asomugha made a name for himself across the San Francisco Bay with the Oakland Raiders that landed him a five year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles worth $25 million in guaranteed money. Unfortunately the Asomugha-Eagles relationship never quite came together the way they hoped and the Eagles cut ties with the cornerback after only two seasons.
49ers' GM Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh, both hope that Asomugha’s one year, $2 million contract will prove to be a bargain and that Asomugha will be able to show the form that caused many to consider him one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL for several seasons.
According to the 49ers' website, Asomugha is catching onto the defense quickly. “This is a really solid defense all the way around,” the four-time All-Pro said. “Since everybody knows the defense, it’s really easy to communicate.
“Anything I don’t get I can ask anybody on the defense and they pretty much have it down.”
Asomugha’s veteran presence will help solidify the cornerback position and stabilize a defensive backfield that also includes, Carlos Rogers, Donte Whitner, Chris Culliver, Tarrell Brown and yet-to-be-signed, first round draft pick, Eric Reid.
Asomugha historically has played a style of defense that involves locking down opposing receivers at the line of scrimmage. However, he is adapting well to the zone schemes in the 49er defense and seems to be enjoying the challenge as well as the way that the defensive schemes work.
“There’s a really good mix of zones and man,” he said to the 49ers' website. “It’s more diverse than you think. You can switch back and forth.”
Asomugha also reports that the adjustment in the locker room has been very smooth.
“The locker room is great it’s a really good group of guys,” Asomugha said of his new teammates. “They told me before I got here that was the case, but you never know what you’re going to walk into. These have been some great teammates, some hard-working guys so it’s been really good.”
Asomugha’s return to northern California puts him back in familiar surroundings, just a quick trip across the Bay Bridge from where he starred at the University of California and in Oakland. The low-risk, high-reward contract Asomugha signed may wind up paying dividends for the 49ers. Asomugha is hard at work, getting ready for the 2013 season and a chance to prove to the league and to his critics that he is still one of the best at his position and to help the 49ers return to the Super Bowl.