Steve Spagnuolo on Atogwe

Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe played two seasons for Steve Spagnuolo with the Rams. (AP Photo / Tom Gannam)

Oshiomogho Atogwe's first six years in the league with the Rams were good enough to earn him a five-year, $26M deal with the Redskins last offseason.

The man who coached him for two of those seasons in St. Louis, Steve Spagnuolo, said recently that the Eagles are getting a play-making safety with great leadership qualities.

Spagnuolo, speaking to 94 WIP's Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow, praised Atogwe for his ability to create turnovers.

"What I remember is every time he was on the football field, he was making a play," Spagnuolo said. "He has a knack for creating turnovers. You guys will see that. He’s one of those guys, and when I say this, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, the great ones in this league can tackle and punch the ball at the same time. They do it every time they tackle. No. 20 there in Philadelphia, Brian Dawkins, used to do it all the time, right until he finished in Denver, and O.J. does the same thing. He’ll create turnovers, he’ll make plays, and more than anything, he’s a great leader.

As I mentioned yesterday, Atogwe has 25 career interceptions, fifth among active safeties. He's also forced 16 fumbles in seven NFL seasons.

However, the version of Atogwe Spagnuolo is describing is probably different from the one the Eagles signed. He turns 31 on Saturday, battled through injuries last season and made it this far into free agency without being signed.

Still, Spagnuolo thinks he can be valuable and shared a story about the Rams franchising Atogwe, saying the veteran safety is a good locker-room guy.

"Typically, when guys are franchised, they usually are not at offseason workouts, OTAs, mini-camps, etc.," Spagnuolo said. "And yet, O.J., what I remember vividly, did not miss one day, not one thing, stayed committed to the team, and that’s all you really do need to know about him. He’s all about team, he’s all about winning, he puts the team before self. How can you not want a guy like that on your football team?"

Spagnuolo talked about a variety of other topics as well. He said he's spoken with former teammates of DeMeco Ryans, who have praised the new Eagles middle linebacker for his leadership skills.

And Spagnuolo said his new middle linebacker, Curtis Lofton, reminds him of Jeremiah Trotter. He liked the comparison so much that he showed Lofton and other Saints players film of Trotter and the great Eagles' defenses from when Spagnuolo coached here.


It looks like the Eagles will have no representation in the top 15 of the NFL Network's top 100 player rankings.

Running back LeSean McCoy appears to be the highest-rated Eagle, coming in at No. 18. He Tweeted afterward that he's shooting to be in the top five next year.

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