Juan Castillo, talking to the media today after practice, said that one option no one considered could very well end up being the final solution.
“Him and I rolled in the car together to practice yesterday, and he was the one that mentioned to me the kind of job that (Charles) Woodson did and that he would be excited about a role like that if it went that way,” said Castillo to PhillySportsDaily.com
For those that don’t know, Charles Woodson played a nickel style position for the Green Bay Packers last season. It was a role he excelled in, and one that Castillo said Nnamdi would be excited to play.
“Nnamdi is a special guy. He wants to make plays,” said Castillo. “I think he respects [Charles] Woodson. I think he would love that role, being able to blitz — big, tall guy like that coming off the edge, then all of a sudden in press coverage on the slot guy.”
Making plays is something that Nnamdi spoke about at his press conference on Sunday. After having 8 interceptions in 2006, Nnamdi has only picked off 3 balls in the last 4 seasons- and none last year. The lack of throws coming his way has a big part to do with that. In the nickel, Nnamdi would presumably be able to fool defenses into throwing his way.
Nnamdi, a safety in college, is used to playing a position other then corner, and could use some of those instincts from college to make plays from the nickel. His size would also benefit him as he covered corners going across the middle.
It is not surprising to hear Nnamdi open to playing the slot. In addition to wanting to make plays, Nnamdi also wants to win. He knows that with all three corners, they have a better chance. Already considered the best cornerback in the league, and being paid like it, Nnamdi really does not have anything more to prove. All that is left to do is win.
With both Nnamdi and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie saying they are more then happy to play the nickel, it seems like the three headed monster the Eagles have amassed at cornerback could work. Asante Samuel is expected to talk today, where he presumably will answer questions about his willingness to accept a new role.
The picture will really start to come into focus on August 4th, when Nnamdi is finally able to take the field with the rest of his teammates.
But to Juan Castillo, the corner that ends up playing the nickel should not feel slighted.
“A nickel defensive back is really a starter in the NFL,” said Castillo. “There are some teams that don’t even play regular personnel…We have three starters, and we need three starters. We’re excited.”