Just the sight of that name gives me, and Eagles fans everywhere, severe PTSD.
When the Eagles signed Nnamdi to five-year, $60M contract during the shortened 2011 free agency period, he was viewed as the savior of the Eagles defense. Not only by the fans, the players were also well aware of Nnamdi’s reputation when he arrived in Philly.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the players in the Eagles locker room to realize the hype was overblown.
In the most recent episode of the IAMATHLETE show, former Eagles greats Asante Samuel and LeSean McCoy shared some of their stories from their Eagles tenures. And of course, Nnamdi’s name came up.
Samuel: “[Asomugha was a] guy that was just overrated and, you know, they gave a lot of pub to because of whatever. Just like a lot of overrated people.“
Shady: “You remember that one practice? So Nnamdi was like a big draw. I do remember his name, I won’t lie and say I don’t know his name. When I was in my first year, we played the Raiders. DeSean [Jackson] was becoming a superstar, right? Going up top. The whole week they were trying to find a way to get DeSean off the jam with Nnamdi. I’m young, I’m 20. I don’t know how that’s supposed to work. So that’s how I learned his name. When free agency came I was like, ‘Oh damn, we’re getting Nnamdi?’ So the whole team – that was a big deal.”
Samuel: “already know that ain’t what it is. I already know.”
Shady: “When we got him, the first practice everybody’s like, ‘Yo, oh my god, Nnamdi. It’s his first 1-on-1.’ He’s the only dude I’ve ever seen jam [DeSean Jackson]. He played like he ain’t looking to hit him. So when we had Nnamdi, it was his first 1-on-1 at practice. It was camp. Everybody’s like, ‘Oh we’ve got Nnamdi,’ he signed a big-ass deal, so we’re all looking. That type of stuff. But when he went against the tight end Brent Celek – Brent was a good tight end but he wasn’t a route runner, he was like this all together where he could block, run a little bit. […] The tight end hit him with, like, a post corner. We was like, ‘Awwwww.’ We looked at the GM. And you know how Asante is, he’s like, ‘Pshhh, told you.'”
We all love Brent Celek here in Philly, but no one would mistake him for Antonio Gates. This was a sign of things to come for Nnamdi during his tenure in Philadelphia.
He only played two years with the Eagles and in those two seasons, Nnamdi surrendered 9 touchdowns and allowed a passer rating of 104.6 and a completion percentage of 64.2 when targeted. His Pro Football Focus coverage grade averaged out to 56.5 from 2011-2012.
Throughout the episode of IAMATHLETE, Samuel was pretty adamant about how overrated Nnamdi was prior to joining the Eagles. As he put it, the reason teams didn’t target Nnamdi in Oakland wasn’t because he was locking receivers down, it was more so due to the fact that Oakland’s defense was terrible and opposing offenses found success with whatever they ran. So in turn, they just picked on everyone else.
From 2008-2010, Nnamdi never saw more than 30 targets in a season. In 2009, Nnamdi earned a Pro Bowl nod and second-team All-Pro honors despite allowing a completion percentage of 75% and a passer rating of 98.2 when targeted. He was targeted just 28 times that season.
In Philly, Nnamdi was targeted 47 times during his first season and a whopping 66 in his second. And as we all know, the results were horrendous.
We probably should have seen the Nnamdi dumpster fire coming, but, you know, we were a Dream Team baby! Nobody was going to stop this team! Man, ignorance is bliss.
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