The San Francisco 49ers have made a roster error in releasing veteran defensive back Nnamdi Asomugha. This was done to make room for recently activated cornerback Eric Wright and the return of veteran wide receiver Mario Manningham, both coming back from injury. Asomugha did get injured this season in the team’s second loss against the Indianapolis Colts and has not seen the field since then. Nickel back Tramaine Brock has been playing exceptionally well in Asomugha’s absence.
As for his future, he will have to wait and see if anyone will claim him off the waiver wire or wait until he becomes a full free agent. Asomugha should not be out of a job long when there are plenty of teams who need big, physical and long defensive backs, whether they be cornerbacks, nickel backs or safeties.
The 49ers may want to be concerned if a playoff contending team in the NFC picks him up. He is an intelligent player who could easily divulge weaknesses to a team in case that team faces the 49ers. Asomugha’s weakness is known around the NFL, but his weakness is more schematic than anything else. He does not play as well in zone coverage as he does in press man coverage.
Asomugha was drafted in the first round of the 2003 draft by the Oakland Raiders. Once he became a free agent, he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 and was released by the team after the 2012 season. He signed a one-year deal with the 49ers and is still receiving a payout from his release with the Eagles.
The NFC West division has not disappointed this season. This division is close at the top with the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers in first and second place respectively, and the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams are in third and fourth place to round out the rest of a division. The 49ers are on the Seahawks’ tails for the division lead and are on a bye in Week 9. The top two division leaders have one more head to head match-up this season at Candlestick Park in Week 14. This game may be for the division lead once it comes around in the month of December.
In head to head match-ups this season, the majority of the games have been close. And these games have been rough and physical to say the least. Even when a game has been a blowout, hard hits made the soundtrack of that particular game. Either the 49ers or the Seahawks will win this division with the second place team having a wildcard spot with the legit potential to go far into the playoffs.
The Cardinals are still a quarterback, running game and some offensive linemen away from challenging for the divisional title. Their defense is where it needs to be, but it cannot wait too much longer.
The Rams have a talented and injured quarterback in Sam Bradford, but he does not have any quality weapons to work with. He needs to hope and pray that his team gets him some quality players when he comes back for next season.
Even if the San Francisco 49ers do not get All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith back from a rehabilitation facility and a potential suspension, they still have a chance to win the Super Bowl. The All-Pro linebacker still leads the team in sacks despite his absence this season. Smith has been missed on the field but the team has been winning games since Week 3. Luckily for the 49ers’ defense, the offenses they have been playing have been having problems such as: they cannot run the football, they have a bad offensive line, they are undisciplined or have a combination of all the previously mentioned issues.
The remaining members of the defense need to either get healthy or stay healthy. The meat grinder part of the season is after the 49ers’ bye week. The offenses that defense will be facing will be better, more disciplined, and elite to some degree. Since getting back to their winning ways, the defense has looked dominant against offenses who have glaring weaknesses. They will be tested once the second half of the season starts. All-Pro linebackers Ahmad Brooks, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman have been holding down the fort and will have to continue to do so if they want to stay in the Super Bowl hunt.
All-Pro defensive lineman Justin Smith has been leading the front four emotionally and the defensive secondary is still being led by All-Pro safety Donte Whitner and spear headed by rookie safety Eric Reid. Whether on offense or defense, everything starts up front, and the front will be tested in the latter part of the season without Smith.