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New Eagles Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe Says The Eagles Have ‘Potential For Greatness’

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(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS via Press Release) – New Eagles safety OJ Atogwe met with the Philadelphia media for the first time today. Here are some highlights:

On whether the team explained what his role would be:

“The team explained to me what my role was. As with all players on the team, your primary role is to help everyone else be successful. I’m going to come in, work hard, and do what is asked of me and what is expected to help the Eagles be successful this season. With me just being a passionate guy who loves football, it was difficult not being on a team this offseason and not really have a chance to get to experience my teammates and get to enjoy the offseason experience with them. It was hard for me, but for the situation I was in, it was the best for me. It was something I had to deal with and I dealt with it productively. I believe the time of the signing came exactly when it was supposed to because it happened when it happened. I’ve been ready to play football for some time now, and everything had to be right. I believe God opened the door when it needed to be opened, and I walked through it.”

On the process of talking and signing with the team:

“I wouldn’t say it was a long process. The Eagles made it clear that they were interested in me, and once we kind of felt each other out for a week or two, they extended an offer to come work out for them, which I was eager and excited to do. I went there two weeks ago and worked out for them. I enjoyed meeting the coaching staff and the general manager. I was just getting a sense of the situation that I’d be growing into. I knew, having played against them last year, the type of team I was getting myself involved with. It was important for me to meet the coaches and front office so I could get to know exactly what type of organization I was joining. Once we got through the workout, they liked what they saw and I liked what I saw. It just made sense.”

On his impressions of the Eagles offense during the two games he played in last season as a Redskin:

“They are very talented. Everyone in the league can say that. Having played against them, you knew that they were a team that had potential for greatness. Their offense is very explosive and they don’t have weaknesses anywhere, so they are always tough to game plan against and tough to defend. Once I had the opportunity to maybe join them, I was excited because I just knew what they had on the offensive side of the ball as well as what they had on the defensive side of the ball. They played us tough both times we played them last year, and we weren’t very effective against their defense. They had a very good defense as well as offense, everything just didn’t come together until the end of the season which is why they didn’t have as successful of a season as they wanted to. It seems we have the potential to do everything we have the desire to do this year. We just have to work on everything coming together at the same time.”

On whether it will be difficult to come into training camp as a backup to start off:

“My mindset going into camp is really the same mindset that I’ve always had, and that’s focusing on doing the best I can do as far as learning the defense to the degree of excellence that is required, and then performing to the best of my ability. With that mindset and that approach, I think what will happen is what will happen. It’s definitely a situation that I’m excited about because I haven’t been in this position since the second year of my career. It’s definitely one I look forward to because it’s challenging and it will bring the best out of me. At the end of the day, whatever is to happen will be the best for the Philadelphia Eagles and that is what I am looking forward to.”

On how he got the nickname O.J.:

“My first name is Oshiomogho, which means, ‘God owns the day and only God knows my tomorrow.’ I got the nickname O.J. back when I was seven or eight years old when I started playing football. They couldn’t pronounce my name, so my football coach just called me ‘O’. Then, I started to play running back and they started calling me O.J. because they said I played like him [O.J. Simpson].”

On how difficult he thinks it will be to learn a new and complicated defense in a short amount of time:

“I’ve been fortunate in my career to be able to pick up defenses quickly. Having had played for [current Saints defensive coordinator Steve] Spagnuolo and learning the concepts of his defense, I know it doesn’t necessarily translate automatically on the field but I believe in my ability to pick things up and my aptitude of understanding. I don’t think the transition will be too difficult. It will definitely take some time to learn it and practice it to get it down, but this is the National Football League. If I was a rookie and coming in and learning it, I’d have the exact same challenges before me. It’s just something you handle dutifully and you get a good challenge out of it.”

On whether he has a friendship with Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha:

“I’ve known Nnam for quite some time now. I wouldn’t say we’re close but we are familiar with one another. I played with his brother at Stanford, and I knew him when he was at Cal so I’ve known him for 9-10 years now. We haven’t had an extremely close relationship because we haven’t spent a lot of time together but we have been acquaintances for a long time now.”

On how much it will help to have veteran leadership on the defense with a lot of young players in the mix:

“I think whenever you come into a situation with veteran guys and guys having knowledge in any arena, I think it’s always a benefit that the knowledge will be shared freely in an interdependent way where everyone wants to see everybody else thrive and do well. I think that can only help the team.”

On injury concerns coming off last season:

“I just had a few knick knacks that didn’t allow me to play as well as I had liked to. I’m past that now and I look forward to this next season. I feel great now and I’m at 100%, and I’m excited about going out and playing great football this next season.”

On what has made him so successful in creating turnovers:

“I’d definitely say it’s a blessing from God and natural instinct of getting myself around the ball and getting the ball out, whether it’s a forced fumble or an interception. It also has to do with working on it during the offseason and during the season just to make every opportunity count. I had a coach tell me once a long time ago that if you just catch the ball when they throw it to you, you’ll lead the league in interceptions. It’s something that I took to heart and I’ve just taken it with me. Those are things I work on during the week, whether it’s just catching balls as much as possible or poking the ball out if the opportunity presents itself. It’s just a matter of being conscience of those things when the opportunity presents itself.”

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