Just returned from an inspiring weekend in Cooperstown, where I was covering baseball's Hall of Fame inductions and where former A's star Rickey Henderson admitted again that his childhood dream was to play for the Raiders and that, later in his career, he wanted to pull a Bo Jackson and play both sports.
Anywho, current running back Michael Bush was on my connecting flight home from Chicago to Oakland, preparing to report to Napa for training camp and All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was on Comcast Sportsnet's "Chronicle Live" show Monday evening. He had an inkling as to why high-priced acquisition DeAngelo Hall was such a flop with the Raiders last season.
"A lot of confidence in him, but one of the things that he wasn't used to was the amount of man-to-man coverage that we played," Nnamdi told the show's host, Greg Papa, who is also the voice of the Raiders. "You know, and I would talk with him during games, I would talk with him after games, during practice, and he would be just so confused. He was like, 'Why are we playing this much man-to-man? I have never done this in all of my life.' So that was the thing that he had to get adjusted to."
Cut by Oakland midway through last season, and after collecting some $8 million from Al Davis, Hall was scooped up by Washington and was resigned to a six-year contract worth at least $23-million by the Redskins.
"You know, (DeAngelo is) a zone corner but can play man in spots and he does it great," Nnamdi added. "He does what he does very well. But when you have to do man the whole time, it can get frustrating to guys."
Nnamdi also spoke on why Chris Johnson performed so well in replacing Hall.
"I wasn't surprised," Nnamdi said. "He's a little older than the other guys on the team...and his thing was, 'I have nothing to lose. I came in after DeAngelo. They wanted the world from him; we didn't get the world from him. So I have nothing to lose. What are they going to expect from me?' So that was how Chris came into each game and he played very well."
Nnamdi also laughed off rumors that the Raiders would make a move at recently reinstated Michael Vick, the disgraced quarterback who served time for running an illegal dog fighting and gambling ring.
"I usually think it's an easy thing to say," Nnamdi said. "Anytime there's a criminal or someone that's just gotten out of jail, everyone says, 'Oh, the Raiders are going to take him.'"