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Challenge Paying Off For Asomugha, 'D'

Posted Oct 30, 2011

It's just another sign that Nnamdi Asomugha is still getting used to Philadelphia.

After Sunday night's 34-7 blowout win over Dallas, Asomugha remarked at his locker that getting a win off of a bye week "is not easy."  Well, it may not be easy, but the Eagles are now 13-0 after the bye week under head coach Andy Reid.

"They're a really good football team. They've beaten teams that beat us throughout the season. We thought it was going to be a fight because of the rivalry and the talent that they have. We can't predict the score, but we would have loved to shut them out," Asomugha said. "We've still got to keep it going. We're happy that we got two straight. It's a long season ahead of us."

Asomugha recorded his second interception as an Eagle as quarterback Tony Romo was harassed all game long completing just 18-of-35 passes for 203 yards with a touchdown and an interception for a 66.7 rating. Both of Asomugha's picks happened to have come on Sunday Night Football. Ahead 14-0 late in the first quarter, Asomugha was in zone coverage when he peeled off and made an outstanding diving haul to bring in a Tony Romo pass that was intended for tight end Martellus Bennett, but broken up by Moise Fokou.

More important that the turnover, Asomugha noted, was that the Eagles padded their lead with Michael Vick's 9-yard touchdown toss in the back of the end zone to Brent Celek.

"The fact that we were able to score from it was big," Asomugha said. "You want to get turnovers, that's great, but you've got to put some points together from it."

The Cowboys arsenal of tall, physical receivers from Dez Bryant and Miles Austin outside to tight end Jason Witten was one of the reasons why the Eagles amassed so much talent in the secondary this offseason. Witten, who is Romo's security blanket, was targeted 12 times but only caught four passes for 28 yards. Asomugha moved around, but played a good number of snaps in the slot to battle Witten. Bryant and Austin were also non-factors with a combined six catches for 55 yards. On a third-and-goal late in the game, Asomugha blanketed Bryant to keep him from scoring the touchdown to help preserve the game's final margin.

"Guys just stepped up today and played great football all the way around," Asomugha said.

The front four for the Eagles attacked Romo in a way that Asomugha described as like a blitz so the back seven could concentrate on coverages. After a slow start for the defense in 2011, Sunday night's win over Dallas and their win over Washington two weeks ago prove that coordinator Juan Castillo's scheme is starting to finally click.

Asomugha said that he and cornerback Asante Samuel have talked with Castillo about different coverages and that Castillo has been receptive. But with all of the talent on the team, Castillo, in just his first year in his post, has had to create the scheme and get everyone on the same page.

"First of all, he's never been a defensive coordinator before and then he gets all this new talent and it's like, we have to cater to what (Jason) Babin does best. We have to cater to what Dominique (Rodgers-Cromartie) or I do best. You just can't do it," Asomugha said. "It's tough for him, so we've all had to learn how to play within the defense and it's challenged us and it's making us better.

"I think (Castillo has) developed as much as everyone has developed. We were all, including him, learning. He's never done this before. Tall task to do it here where so much is expected of him. He's grown and he's continuing to grow. These things take time. It's something that he's wanted to do since the beginning just to help with matchup things."

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