Earlier in training camp, 49ers’ defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said that the jury was still out on cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. His comments, which were quite alarming at the time, made it sound as if Asomugha was in danger of not making the roster at all.
“We didn’t really know what we were getting when we got Nnamdi,” Fangio said. “He’s had some good days out here and some days where you weren’t sure if he was going to still have it. I think we’re kind of in between with him right now.”
“Hopefully he’ll still have some gas left in his tank to go out there and play like he did prior to going to Philadelphia. So, I think the jury is still out there,” Fangio said. “Nnamdi is at this stage too in his career where some guys start losing, their physical skills start to diminish. We just have to see if that’s entering his picture too or not.”
Despite Fangio’s initial concerns, Asomugha has proven through three preseason games that he does indeed still have some gas left in the tank and has officially been named the team’s number three cornerback behind Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers. So what does that mean? Well, for starters, he’s going to be in the lineup early and often. Just because he is third on the depth chart does not mean he won’t see the field on a majority of the team’s defensive snaps.
The reason for that is when the 49ers go into their nickel package, Rogers will always move inside to cover the slot receiver. That means Asomugha will be inserted on the outside opposite Brown. Chris Cullver, who served as the 49ers’ third cornerback in 2012, played 63 percent of the teams defensive snaps last season in that same role.
It will be interesting to watch Asomugha and how he performs as the 49ers get set to open the season a week from Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. Should he falter, the team will not hesitate to replace him with Tramaine Brock who also had a strong camp.
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