Survey Says: Nnamdi, Dawson Fit 49ers
By Peter Fournier
Nnamdi Asmougha’s back in the bay.
The former Cal Golden Bears and long-time Oakland Raiders cornerback signed an incentive laden one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers last week, according to multiple national and local reports.
Asmougha was a lockdown corner with the Raiders but couldn’t find similar success in two years with the Philadelphia Eagles after signing a mega free-agent deal. Asmougha will fight for top playing time with Chris Culliver, Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers.
What’s to say he won’t shoot past all three and be the No. 1 corner come midseason? The 49ers secondary has been their Achilles heel for years, and Asmougha is coming into a situation where he needs to prove he’s still a valuable asset in the NFL. There isn’t any pressure on him with no big contract to play for, but there’s a need to prove he’s worth keeping past one season on a Super Bowl-caliber team.
Asmougha is motivated for the first time in a long time and has a fresh start. It could be a blessing for San Francisco.
What do the San Francisco 49ers regain with the addition of long-time Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson? It’s Jim Harbaugh's patented grind-it-out, bar-fight-worthy, keep-it-within-three-points way of winning security that San Francisco regains with a solid kicker back on its roster.
Dawson has kicked in the badlands of the Midwest (Cleveland certainly isn’t beautiful come winter) for a long time, having kicked every single field goal in his NFL career for the Browns since 1999. Candlestick Park, of course, with its swirling winds and wet/cold winter mix is its own animal, but he’ll only be there for one more season. The 49ers move down to more mild-weathered Santa Clara in 2014.
The biggest question facing Dawson is whether he can keep kicking at his career 84 percent average as he ages and is now playing for a Super Bowl contender. If last season’s 29-for-31 numbers are indication, he should be just fine.
Dawson replaces David Akers, who went from having one of the best seasons in his career to one of his worst. Akers was plagued with a pelvis injury later in the season. He did tie the record for the longest field goal in NFL history, a 63-yarder against the Green Bay Packers in the season opener, but it was downhill for him after that.
Dawson wants to kick in the whirlwind of Candlestick Park. If he can survive it for just one season, he should have smooth sailing at the new Santa Clara Stadium.
Nonetheless, the 49ers have addressed two of their biggest needs, at least for the short-term. Who they draft in the coming weeks to fill them long-term remains to be seen.