Category Archives: asante samuel

Eagles Starters to Play First Quarter

The Eagles spent this morning going through a simulated game that was closed to the public as they prepare to take on the Baltimore Ravens in their first preseason game of the season.

Andy Reid addressed the media afterwards, and said that his starters would play the first quarter. The 2nd team would take over from their until the half, and for the rest of the game it will be a combination of the third and fourth teams.

In addition to breaking down how he will divide his playing time, Reid said that Jamaal Jackson will start the game at center. Their had been some speculation over the last few days that rookie center Jason Kelce might take that role, but at least for the first game, it appears as if the job is still Jacksons. Reid did mention, however, that Kelce could see some time with the first unit. It would not be shocking to see that happen, as Howard Mudd is a big fan of Kelce, and would more then likely be interested in see him go up against the Baltimore Ravens defensive line.

Vince Young has struggled in camp so far

Vince Young will come in and quarterback the second unit. Young has had a rough training camp so far, both in learning the offense and mechanically. Multiple times Young has gone to the line only to be called back and talk with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. Young has also had trouble making basic throws, as most of his balls have been overthrown or off target. This could have to do with him processing the offense while he is trying to play.

Jason Avant and Riley Cooper will be the starting recievers, while Chad Hall and Sinorce Moss will back them up. Moss has had a great camp, and it will be interesting to see if he can translate that into the game. Moss is fighting for a roster spot, and with Jeremy Maclin out, the Eagles will be interested in keeping as many playmakers as they can. Unlike Avant, Cooper and Hall, Moss has the speed to take one to the house.

On defense, Reid said that when the team is in nickel, Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will play the outside. That means that Nnamdi Asomugha will man the middle, a role he has embraced. It will be interesting to see how much defensive coordinator Juan Castillo will show in terms of their plans for using the package for the regular season. With most preseason games, the gameplan is very vanilla. But with so many changes, and with Castillo new to calling the plays, it will be interesting to see how complicated the gameplan gets.

Speaking of Castillo, Reid said that tomorrows game will be the next step for Castillo. Castillo has been wearing the headset on the sideline for the last few practices, getting used to making the play calls. If the defense has problems getting a play in or seems confused, that could be coming from Castillo more then the inexperience of the defense playing together.

Either way, add up all of the plot lines for tomorrow night and you have one of the most anticipated preseason games in years.

 

Eagles Will Move Nnamdi All Around

Today was the day that Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Ronnie Brown and others have been waiting for- the day they can finally put on the pads and practice.

For media and the fans, it was also the day that the Eagles would be forced to tip their hand on what they planned to do with their trio of all star corners.

Asomugha will be all over this year for the Eagles

After warming up, the Eagles defense took the field for install. Asante Samuel lined up at his usual right cornerback position, with Nnamdi lined up on the left. It is very clear from watching the Eagles today that when they play two cornerbacks, it is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who is going to be the odd man out.

When the team went into dime and nickel packages, Nnamdi moved inside as Rodgers-Cromartie lined up on the left. Nnamdi lined up next to Trent Cole on the left side, showing blitz every time he was their. On some plays, he ran in and on others, he dropped back into coverage. Juan Castillo moved Nnamdi inside on a number of plays, as it was clear he has all kinds of ideas of his new defensive toy. Making things even better for Castillo is Nnamdi’s willingness to experiment, as he even lined up in the backfield for some plays.

Opposing offensive coordinators are going to be staying up at night worried about where Nnamdi will be. The Eagles wealth of cornerbacks allow them to take the best one in the game and move him all around. Nnamdi’s size makes him an ideal fit to line up and show blitz, and he will be able to get in quick and get his long arms up in the air. When he has to drop back, he has the size to cover tight ends.

Although Rodgers-Cromartie did not line up as a starter, he was on the field a ton. The former Arizona Cardinal might just be the best athlete on the team, as he did not get beat down the field once during the morning practice. His speed and size, in addition to his long arms, allow him to make the play even if he is a step behind.

While Nnamdi and Rodgers-Cromartie moved all around, Asante Samuel was on the right side the entire practice. It makes sense to keep Samuel their, as he has shown is he a turnover machine from that side. In addition, he really can’t move inside as the other two can, as he lacks the size to play their.

Overall, the Eagles showed one thing this morning: that if they get a lead on a team, it is going to be near impossible for opposing teams to throw on this defense and catch up.

Eagles Must Keep Asante Samuel

Every morning Asante Samuel has taken this field this year at Training Camp, either he or an excited fan in the field have started singing “Asante’s Back! Asante’s Back!”, as if every time he walks out from the clubhouse could be his last.

With the acquisition of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, it is now rumored that the Eagles are listening to offers for the Pro-Bowl cornerback, fueling fire that he could be gone at any moment.

But make no mistake about it: the Eagle would be making a mistake by trading away Asante Samuel.

Asante Samuel's swag is backed up by big plays

The fact is, despite the how red hot Howie Roseman has been this offseason, it will be very hard to get value back for Samuel. Pipe dream rumors of San Francisco 49er linebacker coming to Philadelphia for Samuel are just that- dreams. Fans talk about moving Samuel for a player in a position of need, but with the signing of OT Ryan Harris, the Eagles really don’t have many holes. Middle linebacker Casey Matthews may not be proven, but it will be hard to trade Samuel for a middle linebacker that is as talented at his position as Samuel is. Trading Samuel for a player will only result in a downgrade of talent on the defense.

If the Eagles move Samuel, they would be lucky to get a 2nd round pick, and more then likely will get a 3rd. Plus, given the Eagles very clear front office mentality of win now, it is unlikely they would remove a huge piece of the defense for a future pick.

Andy Reid and Juan Castillo have not just been spewing PR talk when they have said time after time how lucky they are to have three Pro-Bowl cornerbacks. You would have to go back sometime to find an Eagles defense with this many playmakers on it. While there may have been more dominating defenses in the past, no Eagles roster has never had this many playmakers on it. Opposing offensive coordinators will finally look across the field and have players to be afraid of.

Simply put, the more playmakers you have, the better you are.

Logistically, on the field it would work. The talks by Nnadmi Asomugha and Juan Castillo about putting Nnamdi all over the field- including the nickel- are real and they are both excited about it. While Nnamdi may need some time to adjust to playing a Charles Woodson hybrid style cornerback position, he is talented and smart enough to make the move quickly. Nnamdi has spent his whole career on an island out in Oakland, not being thrown at and not being given the chance to make plays. It is easy to see why the idea of being put in the middle of the field and being told to go make plays would excite him.

The fact is, despite his actions to the media, Samuel wants to stay here.

Before Samuel spoke to the media on Monday, he talked with Andy Reid. It is also rumored that he called Reid while he was still away and said that he wanted to remain an Eagle. At practice on Wednesday, Samuel was his usual self- running around, talking, and making plays. Juan Castillo was sure to make clear to the rest of the team who the veteran on the team was- asking Samuel on multiple occasions to show other players his technique, and asking what the team punishment should be for dropping balls.

Samuel has been his usual self at training camp

Call Samuel what you want, but one thing you can’t call him is stupid. Samuel knows that Nnamdi agreeing to a hybrid corner role allows Samuel to keep his regular position full time. It will also, combined with the presumably improved pass rush, force more balls to be thrown in distress. Their is no better player in the league at jumping a route then Samuel. The fact is, with Nnamdi and DRC in the fold, Samuel could have a career year- and he knows it.

Those that worry about Samuel ruining the locker room should calm down. The fact is, Samuel has not gotten along with his coaches since he has arrived in Philadelphia. And although Reid could have handled the Terrell Owens saga better, he knows that all Asante needs is a little ego stroking. On Sunday he may make some questionable calls, but Monday-Saturday, their is no better coach in the NFL. Reid knows how to put together a team and handle egos.

Knowing that on the field keeping Samuel will make his defense better, all Reid needs to do is trust himself to make it work off the field- which he will.

Which is why if the Eagles are serious about being all in this season, the Eagles must keep Asante Samuel.

Asante Samuel Speaks to Media

For those that missed it, here is video of Asante Samuel talking to the media yesterday after practice.

While some of the quotes seemed harsh when read in print, Samuel did not seem as upset in person as the quotes made him sound.

You be the judge.

Samuel on trade: “No comment”

Signing “Asante’s Back” as he took the field, Asante Samuel was all smiles in his first practice back with the Eagles since dealing with a personal problem.

Alot has changed since training camp began, namely the addition of two Pro-Bowl cornerbacks who now have fans and media members questioning what the future holds for Asante.

Asked after practice about whether or not he feels wanted by the Eagles, Asante Samuel was very honest.

Samuel did not sound happy after practice today

“50-50” Samuel responded, according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I want to be where I’m wanted.”

While Samuel did refuse to comment on such issues as whether or not he asked for a trade, or what the organization and him had talked about, he did say that he wants to make it work.

Samuel said that he would play anywhere the Eagles wanted, according to Bob Grotz of the Delco Times. That includes the position of much discussion over the last few days: the nickel.

Samuel did have this to say about whether or not he will be here next season.

“If they’re tired of my big play ability, they’ll ship me out. If not, they’ll keep me here,” said Samuel

Howie Roseman, GM of the Eagles, spoke to the media after Samuel, and according to Grotz said that Samuel had not asked for a trade.

Samuel is not one to speak to the media very often, being brought up in the New England Patriots system where speaking to the media is liken to being a Jets fan. So for him to voice such strong opinions is both rare, and deliberate.

Samuel can say all he wants that he wants to be here, but based off of his comments today, it sure did not sound like he is open to making it work.

Castillo: Nnamdi “excited” about possibly playing nickel

The answers to how the Eagles defense will look with their three Pro-Bowl cornerbacks is slowly coming into focus.

Juan Castillo, talking to the media today after practice, said that one option no one considered could very well end up being the final solution.

“Him and I rolled in the car together to practice yesterday, and he was the one that mentioned to me the kind of job that (Charles) Woodson did and that he would be excited about a role like that if it went that way,” said Castillo to PhillySportsDaily.com

Nnamdi is hoping to make more plays on the ball this year from the nickel

For those that don’t know, Charles Woodson played a nickel style position for the Green Bay Packers last season. It was a role he excelled in, and one that Castillo said Nnamdi would be excited to play.

“Nnamdi is a special guy. He wants to make plays,” said Castillo. “I think he respects [Charles] Woodson. I think he would love that role, being able to blitz — big, tall guy like that coming off the edge, then all of a sudden in press coverage on the slot guy.”

Making plays is something that Nnamdi spoke about at his press conference on Sunday. After having 8 interceptions in 2006, Nnamdi has only picked off 3 balls in the last 4 seasons- and none last year. The lack of throws coming his way has a big part to do with that. In the nickel, Nnamdi would presumably be able to fool defenses into throwing his way.

Nnamdi, a safety in college, is used to playing a position other then corner, and could use some of those instincts from college to make plays from the nickel. His size would also benefit him as he covered corners going across the middle.

It is not surprising to hear Nnamdi open to playing the slot. In addition to wanting to make plays, Nnamdi also wants to win. He knows that with all three corners, they have a better chance. Already considered the best cornerback in the league, and being paid like it, Nnamdi really does not have anything more to prove. All that is left to do is win.

With both Nnamdi and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie saying they are more then happy to play the nickel, it seems like the three headed monster the Eagles have amassed at cornerback could work. Asante Samuel is expected to talk today, where he presumably will answer questions about his willingness to accept a new role.

The picture will really start to come into focus on August 4th, when Nnamdi is finally able to take the field with the rest of his teammates.

But to Juan Castillo, the corner that ends up playing the nickel should not feel slighted.

“A nickel defensive back is really a starter in the NFL,” said Castillo. “There are some teams that don’t even play regular personnel…We have three starters, and we need three starters. We’re excited.”

Asante Samuel has arrived at Lehigh

Last night, rumors started to spread of DeSean Jackson reporting to Lehigh.

It looks like Asante Samuel has beat him there.

Amid speculation about his future with the team, Asante Samuel has arrived at Lehigh University for training camp. Samuels agent, Alonzo Shavers, let it be known earlier this morning to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer that his client would be arriving.

Samuel apparently drove up from Philadelphia this morning, and is taking his physical.

It is unknown when Samuel will begin practicing. He did not take the field with his team for the morning practice. The team has an afternoon walk through at 2:45, so it is possible Samuel might participate in that.

Samuel is perhaps the best "ballhawk" in the league

With no practice at all tomorrow, it is likely we will not see Asante until Wednesday.

Could the Eagles be tipping their hand by having Asante re-join the team? With the Pro-Bowl corner away while taking care of some “personal issues”, it would have been easy to move him and avoid the media frenzy that will take place when he final takes the field. In addition, by having him practice, the Eagles risk him becoming injured- something that would make him nearly impossible to trade.

Of course, the more it seems to other teams that the Eagles are set on keeping Asante, the more value they will get for him. A knee-jerk trade would likely result in less then one where a team feels they need to pry Asante away.

How does Samuel feel about the situation? He is expected to speak to the media today following the afternoon session.

But as he ran out of the field house at Lehigh, Samuel has this to say to the reporters who stood by.

“I love it here!” said Samuel.