Where Asomugha lined up

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(Tom Gannam/AP)

There were a lot of questions coming into this game about how Juan Castillo would use Nnamdi Asomugha and the Eagles cornerbacks.

I just took a look at the defensive plays, and from what I could gather, Castillo kept things pretty vanilla for the opener.

The Eagles played nickel (three cornerbacks) on just 20 of 66 defensive snaps, by my unofficial count. On 18 of those 20 snaps, it was Asante Samuel, Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the field together. And on all 18 of those snaps, Samuel lined up at left cornerback, Asomugha at right cornerback and Rodgers-Cromartie in the slot.

Joselio Hanson didn't get into the game until the fourth quarter. On one play, Samuel sat out, and Rodgers-Cromartie played left cornerback. Hanson took over in the slot. On another play, Hanson joined Samuel and Asomugha, and replaced Rodgers-Cromartie in the slot.

Getting back to Asomugha, he played 66 of 67 snaps. The only time he came off the field was when the Rams had the ball on the goal line and the Eagles went with only one defensive back, safety Jarrad Page. Asomugha lined up at right cornerback on 56 of 65 snaps. There were seven instances where the Rams didn't line up a receiver to his side and Asomugha drifted back like a safety.

Twice Asomugha lined up in the slot. Those were specific situations. The Rams had a 3rd-and-3 and a 4th-and-3. They lined up two receivers to the right side of the defense. Samuel stayed outside, and Asomugha played the slot.

And finally, there was a 4th-and-1 play where Asomugha was the only cornerback on the field, lining up on the left side.

I'll get more into how he played in Man Up, but I believe Asomugha was only targeted twice. On one play, he was called for a 41-yard pass interference penalty. Initially, I thought it was a lame call, but after watching the replay a couple times, he did get his hand on Gibson before the ball arrived. On another play, Gibson beat Asomugha for a 31-yard gain. Andy Reid challenged the play, but it was upheld.

The Eagles used a mix of man and zone coverage, as usual. Asomugha was asked to blitz once. He came all the way from his right cornerback position on the play where Trent Cole was whistled for a late hit.

Samuel, meanwhile, played 64 snaps. Rodgers-Cromartie played 19 snaps. And Hanson was only on the field for two. The Eagles never broke out their dime package that features four cornerbacks.

Earlier, I posted my instant observations from the game.


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