After being part of a scary collision with teammate Nate Allen at Lehigh last week, Nnamdi Asomugha is scheduled to play in the Eagles second preseason game in New England on Monday night (see video).
Asomugha tested negative for a concussion but sustained whiplash-like symptoms and a lacerated lip. Asomugha’s attempt to return to practice on Thursday was unsuccessful, ultimately leaving after only 15 minutes. He has been a full participant in practice since Friday, however, and head coach Andy Reid has every reason to believe that Asomugha is ready to go for Monday night:
He was X-Rayed; everything was good with bones and concussions. There were no concussions, any of that. So he had a spasm in his back area and it was just a matter of making sure that we got that calmed down. He felt great. He’s a good communicator, so he feels like he’s ready to go.
Asomugha’s return to health couldn’t come at a better time as the second preseason contest will be an important for test for the Birds. Head coach Andy Reid will play his starters for three quarters in the game, changing the typical order in preseason games. This is because Philadelphia faces Cleveland on Friday, who also happen to be the Birds opponent in Week 1. Because of the order of the schedule, the Eagles see no reason to reveal more than is necessary to the Browns.
The first team struggled on both sides of the ball in Philadelphia’s first preseason outing against the Steelers. Tom Brady and New England’s offense will provide an important measuring stick as to how much the Eagles defense has improved throughout the offseason and since the first preseason game.
One of the biggest questions about the Eagles this season is how they will use Asomugha to be most effective after a rocky first year with the team in 2011. Castillo gave little insight on the question of how Asomugha will be utlized in Monday’s game.
There’s some things we could probably do in the New England game that if it was during the season we would not do. I think it depends on the receiver and with [CB] Dominique [Rodgers-Cromartie] the same thing. I think during the season there will be some things we do that we’re not going to do during the preseason just so that we still have an advantage with those two guys.
Monday night is the dress rehearsal for the season for Philadelphia’s starters. Asomugha has a lot to prove this season and what he does against the Patriots will serve to shape the direction of the conversation heading into the regular season.
Quotes from Andy Reid and Juan Castillo via the Philadelphia Eagles