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Asomugha: Greatness Doesn't Happen Overnight

Former Eagles cornerback and Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate Troy Vincent can relate to what Nnamdi Asomugha is experiencing right now.

Vincent was the Eagles' big ticket free agent when he joined the team in 1996. Lofty expectations are heaped upon the prized acquisition. And as defensive coordinator Juan Castillo reminded fans on Thursday, Asomugha, like all of us, is still human.

"Meeting the expectations of the fans, which I think is the most important thing," Vincent said of the challenge of being a top-tier free agent.

Looking at Asomugha's numbers there has certainly been an upgrade at the right cornerback position. Asomugha has allowed seven catches for 165 yards and a touchdown, but he also has an interception on the year. Last year's starter at right cornerback, Dimitri Patterson, allowed 44 catches for 620 yards and five touchdowns and only started half of the season.

But Asomugha was asked to be more than just the right cornerback that he was in Oakland. In fact, Asomugha said that he's played every secondary position at some point in every game this season. However, with the expedited offseason and limited time to learn the new scheme, Castillo admitted that he's been trying to do too much with Asomugha.

"He's a special guy, but again, you talk about things that hurt. Those are packages that would have got a lot of reps in the offseason," Castillo said. "I have to be careful with that because Nnamdi is human. He's a great person, but he's human. I have to do a better job handling him. I think what happens, too, with me is that I have to remember he's human."

The Eagles are 16th in yards allowed and tied for 23rd in points allowed, but what's hurt the most is that the team has lost leads in each of the past three games in the fourth quarter. Asomugha's addition was to help deter teams from being able to throw on the Eagles when trying to rally from behind late in games.

"Truth of the matter is there's a growth process. We've been in that growth process since we've started," Asomugha said. "We have the talent, but being a great defense doesn't happen overnight. We've got to make it work. Our goal is to win it all. We don't have that much time to try to figure it out. It's got to be figured out."

And if Asomugha's role should change, he'll embrace that.

"Wherever (Castillo) needs me to be, I'm going to do my best at it and try to make it work," Asomugha said. "The challenge comes when you're doing new things. It's not necessarily a traditional scheme that we have here. Obviously, it's a challenge getting everything down and getting it down with all of the different positions and not just corner. I enjoy being around the football and being able to make plays. You can shut a guy down, but you still want to be able to make plays."

If any sort of change leads to wins, that will go a long way in terms of meeting the expectations of the fans.

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