Huff finds a kindred CB spirit in Asomugha

October 24, 2012, 3:24 pm
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ALAMEDA -- Michael Huff had lunch last week with a guy who used to embody the Raiders secondary.Because with the Philadelphia Eagles on a bye, Nnamdi Asomuga found his way back to the Bay Area for a spell. And yes, the topic turned from food to football, from making the switch from safety to cornerback, from tackles to trash talk."He gave me a hard time about playing corner," Huff said. "It took him what, three years, four years to start feeling good (at) corner? It took me a few games so Ive got the edge."Huff was joking, of course, but there was a ring of sincerity in his boast. Remember, the Raiders drafted Asomugha out of Cal as a safety in 2003 before converting him into a shutdown corner who's been named to three Pro Bowls. Huff was thrown into the cornerback mix from free safety, where he was a second-team All-Pro in 2010, after the Raiders lost their two starting cornerbacks to injury in the team's first two games this season.Huff's learning curve has been helped and hindered by the fact that the Raiders play more than man-to-man press coverage now."He told me he was impressed," Huff said of Asomugha. "We dont have that (man) defense anymore. We dont just press and play man every snap, so his takes dont really apply right now."Huff was just getting rolling on his Asomugha rip."We allowed him to play man," Huff added. "He didnt have to think, he didnt have to do anything. Hell probably get mad when he sees this but he knows hes my guy."The jokes may have been on Asomugha, but the reality is that the Raiders' starting corners may be returning soon.Ron Bartell, out since suffering a fractured left shoulder blade in the season opener, has been on the ReserveInjured; Designated To Return list and is eligible to start practicing Saturday but cannot play until Nov. 11 at Baltimore. Shawntae Spencer, who sprained his right foot a week later at Miami, got out of his walking boot late last week.So does Huff go back to free safety, which has been manned by Matt Giordano since Huff moved to corner in Week 3 against Pittsburgh?"I have no idea," he said."It really doesnt matter. As long as Im on the field somewhere, playing, helping the defense, thats fine with me. Ron has, what, a couple more (weeks)he cant come until Baltimore? We've still got a little while, so I guess well worry about that when it comes."Besides, Huff, who had an interception at Atlanta while basically playing safety on the play, feels as though he's improving with every snap. He has 25 tackles with six passes defensed."I got better, made a few tackles at corner, some big tackles at corner," Huff said of his performance in Sunday's 26-23 overtime defeat of Jacksonville. "So thats what Ive been trying to do, work on my tackling a lot more out there. I had a couple of pass breakups, so Im definitely getting more comfortable out there now."