By sharing some of the football cards from my collection, my goal is to put a spotlight on defensive backs who may have become underrated or have been forgotten by history.
Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Philadelphia Eagles (Topps 2012)
Nnamdi Asomugha’s NFL legacy is complicated.
At one point in his career, the Cal-Berkeley alum was widely considered the best cornerback in football, even though he played for teams that were not good.
When Asomugha finally did land on a team that was supposed to be good — with a massive contract in tow — he didn’t perform up to expectations and the team became worse during his time with them.
And then, it was like his career suddenly ended sooner than it should have. Continue reading
Offensive as it may be to those who prefer their professional football pure and uncorrupted by business, there is still such a thing as the “contract year” in the NFL, and there are still players who just happen to have the best season of their careers when they’re looking forward to free agency and a big payday the following offseason.
Reggie Nelson was the NFL’s definitive “contract year” guy in 2015, and it landed him in the 60th spot on the NFL Network’s ranking of the league’s top 100 players for 2016.
Nelson tied for the NFL lead with eight interceptions last season. He also notched a career-high 14 pass breakups, tied his career high with two fumble recoveries, made 77 tackles, and he helped the Cincinnati Bengals win the AFC North for the franchise’s fifth straight postseason appearance. Continue reading
It would be too much too soon to declare the Oakland Raiders (1-1) relevant again in the NFL.
But after Sunday’s 37-33 comeback victory over the Baltimore Ravens, things do appear to be headed in a positive direction for the franchise that hasn’t seen a winning season since 2002.
The core group expected to lead the Raiders’ resurgence is led by second-year quarterback Derek Carr, second-year defensive end Khalil Mack, rookie receiver Amari Cooper and first-year head coach Jack Del Rio. But there are also a few youngsters in Oakland’s secondary who are making an early-season impact. Continue reading
The Raiders’ 24-20 win over the Chiefs this past Thursday snapped a 16-game losing streak for Oakland and gave the silver and black its first victory this season. The game was also a landmark occasion for veteran Raiders safety Charles Woodson, who finished with eight tackles and one sack to become the first player in NFL history with at least 50 interceptions and 20 sacks. (Woodson has 58 picks, 11 of which he’s returned for touchdowns.)
Woodson is at the tail-end of a career that will certainly land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, perhaps on the first ballot. It’s just too bad he may have to author his finale with the sorry Raiders. Continue reading