Peter King wrote* that Nnamdi Asomugha would have been offered more money by at least one team, but wanted to go to Philadelphia because something enticed him. He expounded in a tweet (though this was not specifically stated in his post on the topic) that: “Asomugha thinks the Eagles have a better chance to get to the Super Bowl than NYJ. He was passionate about their chances.”
I can now picture TBL firing off angry letters to Nnamdi Asomugha and his agent. Apparently, he didn’t realize that the Jets have played in the championship game each of the last two years, while the Eagles haven’t won a playoff game. Nnamdi and his agent needed to do some research.
*By the way, that post is classic Peter King and why we love him so much. He starts by dropping that he is having a conversation with Dunta Robinson about Nnamdi going to the Jets. He later texts Robinson to let him know that he went to the Eagles. I’m picturing Dunta Robinson in pre-game warmups before the Eagles game in Week 2, seeing Nnamdi Asomugha on the field, and saying, “hey, I thought you were with the Jets.” Not now, though, Peter sent him a text.
So, Asomugha thinks that the Eagles have a better chance to get to the Super Bowl, and along with it, he now brings massive expectations that the Eagles will make the Super Bowl. He joins Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at cornerback (unless the Eagles have further trades to make). Asomugha obviously makes that a dominant cornerback group that would present problems against teams without wide receiver depth or other weapons to attack down the middle. They also lost Quentin Mikell in free agency to St. Louis, and have a completely unproven linebacker group where Moise Fokou is the only one to start more than a couple of games last year. You can bet teams will be attacking with routes against the linebackers, especially if they have a great tight end.
Which brings me to whether Philadelphia is the favorite to reach the Super Bowl. First, they have to resolve the DeSean Jackson situation. Assuming that gets done, they will have a potent offense with Vick throwing to Maclin, Jackson, Celek and company. Offense wasn’t the problem last year, though Vick did slow down late with injuries. They were 21st in the league in the points allowed. We don’t know how new coordinator Juan Castillo will do. Asomugha will definitely improve the defense, but how much?
I think we tend to overestimate the impact of any one player. The impact of having a Hall of Fame defender over the course of their career is about +1.7 points prevented per season versus an average non-Hall of Fame starter. During their primes, that number will be a little higher, so assuming in arguendo Asomugha is comparable in worth to the group of Hall of Famers, he could be worth about a 2 to 2.5 point improvement in his prime.
Green Bay last year allowed 137 fewer points last year than Philadelphia, and by the simple rating system, were +6.7 points better in 2010. Green Bay beat the Eagles twice, in Philadelphia both times. I don’t think Asomugha is making up all that difference. No player is worth almost a touchdown a game. If the Eagles are going to be better than Green Bay in 2011, it’s because the linebacking group is an upgrade despite its extreme youth, the safeties also play well, and the offense with Vick and company is elite. Green Bay gets Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant back this year, and won the Super Bowl and put up those numbers despite being racked by injuries all season. Even with some minor losses in personnel (guys like Jenkins and Barnett were hurt last year anyway), they shouldn’t drop too far.
For me, it still goes Green Bay #1 as a Super Bowl contender. They don’t have a bad pair of corners themselves, they have the better Matthews brother, and Finley will be an issue for the Eagles. The Eagles just inserted themselves into the #2 slot, along with New Orleans, who did have an “off year” with that playoff upset to Seattle, a regressed defense and Brees throwing too many interceptions, but are just a year removed from a Super Bowl title themselves.
[photo via Getty]