Nnamdi Asomugha spoke on a conference call with Bay Area reporters this morning, and here’s what he said.
Q: How has the transition gone to playing on the east coast after all those years on the west coast?
ASOMUGHA: The football part of it is pretty much the same. The only thing that I’m adjusting to is the time and the weather and all that. It’s definitely different from California.
Q: What’s been the biggest change of lifestyle?
ASOMUGHA: You go from a place that you’ve been pretty much your whole life and everything is familiar to you, you pretty much have everything taken care of, whether it’s Southern California or Northern California. There’s no questions. You know enough people or enough places. You know your way around. Over here things aren’t as familiar, and I think the biggest reason is because when I got here we went straight into football. I didn’t get here in March where I had some months to kind of get acclimated and everything like that. We went straight in. It’s the end of September and I’m still getting acclimated to the area and everything and just using my down time to familiarize myself with football out here.
Q: You’ve been on teams that started 1-2 before, how is this feeling differently then when you were with the Raiders?
ASOMUGHA: There’s this feeling throughout the organization that we’re much better than we’ve been these past few games. We’re 1-2. Obviously our goal at this point was to be 3-0. But everybody’s confident about where we can go. I think the one thing that might get lost, you see a lot of talent and you see a really good coaching staff, and then the expectation is you guys aren’t going to lose, or you aren’t going to have any issues, there will be no problems. When you sit back and you look at it, and you realize you still have to grow and still have to gel and learn each other as the season goes on. Like I said, we went straight into this thing. In a perfect world everybody would be in tune and everybody would be on the same page and we would know how to play off of each other. We would know that stuff. But, it’s not the case. I think everybody’s confident that we can get to that point, we just have to stay focused on what’s going on inside this building and with this team, and not really pay attention to any negativity that’s going on because of the expectations that haven’t been made after three games.
Q: How big of a player were the 49ers in the free agent market for you?
ASOMUGHA: From what I knew they were in it, but if there were any talks it was just with my agent. There wasn’t any direct talks with me during free agency, just because it was a three-day process. Everything was moving so fast, there wasn’t any talks with me. But from what I knew there were some talks with my agent, as far as I knew.
Q: This is the fourth week in a row you’re playing against a quarterback who was drafted in the top five. You guys have faced Sam Bradford, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning and now you face Alex Smith. Where are those players at?
ASOMUGHA: Any time a quarterback gets drafted that high, the expectation level is going to be through the roof. Everybody’s going to expect you to be great in your first year and to take your team to the Super Bowl. And I think what you’ve seen with the quarterbacks we’ve faced, these top quarterbacks in the last three, four weeks is that they are quarterbacks that have matured as they continue to play. Gotten better as they play. They didn’t take their teams to the Super Bowl their rookie year, but the organizations that they’re playing with have been patient with them. It’s one of the first thing we say in our meetings when we’re playing against a quarterback like Alex and like the ones that we’ve faced. It’s like, look, this is a top draft pick. This is a guy that, whoever it is, they’re going to wait on because they know he has the talent and he has whatever the intangibles are that can take their team to the championship.
Q: The Niners haven’t been able to get the ball downfield in the first few games. When you look at their wide receiver do you see them as having that potential to be able to stretch the field?
ASOMUGHA: They definitely do. I’ve played them before. I think we played them just about every year in the preseason. I think they’ve stopped that game now from what I’ve heard. From the last eight years I was playing them when I was in Oakland. I know the receivers that they have and I know that they can get downfield. I know that Harbaugh has some stuff in his game plan that can get those guys downfield. It’s just a matter of the play being open. Whether they’re throwing downfield or not we understand that it’s the NFL. We understand that teams are going to try to take their shots downfield, and they’ve got some tight ends that can run as well. Those opportunities are going to come.
Q: With Alex Smith in particular, what do you see him helping his team get to 2-1?
ASOMUGHA: He’s been smart with the football with what I’ve seen so far. He’s making good decisions. A lot of completions, whether they’re intermediate routes or shorter routes. He’s been able to find whatever matchup he wants on a particular play. He’s been doing a pretty good job of finding that guy and completing the ball.
Q: What have you noticed with his ability to distribute the ball?
ASOMUGHA: That was one thing I noticed, that the ball is going, and obviously Vernon probably had the most catches from what I’ve been seeing on film, but it looks like there’s a couple handful of guys that have touched the ball at some point during the first three games. That’s a credit to the quarterback, that he’s not just after his first read or his second read, sometimes he goes to his third or fourth read on any particular play. That ball’s been distributed a lot. It speaks to his maturity and where he is as a player.
Q: Could you compare Bradford and Smith?
ASOMUGHA: I think they’re both at a point in their career where they’ve shown that maturity level. The expectations are not a reality. They’ve grown up. I think a tough thing for both of them is the fact that they’re both learning new offenses without having an offseason. After facing Bradford, he has control of the offense. I think that maybe the biggest difference between the two is that Alex Smith has shown that he can also run the ball and scramble. He’s not as much of a pocket passer from might point of view as Bradford is, which helps him out a little bit more. He can throw a lot more on the run. But as far as skill set and everything like that, they’ve both been really good at trying to get their offense going even though it’s a new offense.