Oakland Raiders Pro Bowl cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha, was asked to point to one or two things as reasons that he and his teammates were a quarter of the way through the season with a 1-3 record and struggling to get over the proverbial ‘hump’. What Asomugha answered was interesting considering that former San Diego Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer had mentioned it on Sirius Radio on Monday.
Schottenheimer’s quotes were billboard material in the Raiders locker room, and posted as such. Schottenheimer said of the Raiders, “The one constant you can count on in playing the Raiders is that they don’t finish. They don’t finish plays and they don’t finish games.”
Schottenheimer said more, but what was more interesting to note is Asomugha’s answer about why the team is 1-3. “Just finishing at the end of the game,” said the Raiders’ star. “We could easily be 3-1 with a good finish toward the end of the game. It would be great to start off faster, like we did against St. Louis, like we did against Arizona – we were able to start off after that kick return, we started off pretty fast. So those are the things, basically, that have been keeping us from being that 3-1 team. We’ve got to be able to start faster and we have to be able to finish stronger.”
The cerebral Asomugha could have been saying this for a number of reasons, but it doesn’t seem to completely add up to what we’ve seen of this year’s Raiders. Besides their opening butt kicking received from the Titans, the Raiders have come from behind in their last three games only to lose twice within the two-minute warning, and hold on for their only victory. If Janikowski continues his streak of field goals from within 39 yards, the Raiders are sitting at 2-2 — the same as their opponent on Sunday.
Asomugha did admit that this game against the Chargers does have extra meaning to it. “I think the fact that they’re in the division means more than the rivalry,” said the eighth-year cornerback. “I mean, we’re trying to get to the playoffs, you know? You can win all your rivalry games and still not make it. But if you win your division, then you’ll be in there. So, it’s a big game for us.“