Two weeks ago, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio provided a rather frank assessment of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Fangio said Nnamdi had some good days in practice, but also had some days where the coaches wondered how much he had left. He also discussed how Nnamdi was reaching an age where some players start to see their physical skills diminish.
This assessment came after the media had praised Nnamdi's work in practice. It caught many of us a little off-guard, and has left us wondering what it means for Nnamdi moving forward. The 49ers cornerback met with the media on Sunday (audio), and had a chance to discuss Fangio's comments (transcript).
When asked about the comments concerning good and bad days, Nnamdi said he had heard about the comments, but generally only concerned himself with what he could control:
I think I've been able to progress each day. I'm highly critical of myself. Highly, highly critical of myself. There is not much that someone else might say that makes me feel like I need to be motivated in a different way. Like I said, I'm a self motivated guy. I'm probably saying worse things about myself than the next guy is saying. But I think I'll progress each day, which is the goal of this time of the year.
He was asked about Fangio's comments regarding age and declining skills. His response:
I feel great, and I'm not just saying it for it to sound good. I feel great. When I'm watching some of the stuff I'm doing on film, it's looking good and it's encouraging. Not the age that I am, but just what I've been through, there are moments along the way when I need to see some of that progress just for self encouragement. And I've seen it. I've been out there making plays and doing a lot of the things I normally do. My confidence is in a good place. It's continuing to raise with each day. But he is right. When guys get to a certain age or a certain level of their career, maybe they don't do as much, they don't work as hard. And so, they start to lose some of that stuff. And then it's inevitable at some point you're going to lose what you've had, but I'm not there yet.
Nnamdi seemed to infer the comments might have been a bit of a motivational tactic by Fangio to make sure Nnamdi doesn't get complacent. We'll never really know the truth about it, but it's still worth noting.
The 49ers added Eric Wright last week, but we don't know when he'll start practicing with the team. Wright joins a group that has seen strong play from Perrish Cox. Nnamdi has generally focused on the right cornerback position, although he indicated he does get some individual work in on the left side as well. The loss of Chris Culliver seemed to all but assure Nnamdi of a roster spot, but the Wright addition creates new questions.
Is Nnamdi on the roster when Week 1 of the regular season gets here?