Asante Samuel, the Eagles big time defensive pick up. Whatever your opinion is on the guy, he makes plays in the clutch. He is now a solid player in the Eagles starting line-up, so get used to seeing Samuel starting on the right side of the field for years to come.
Samuel has performed at a very high skill level, but has had several key areas in which he is lacking. Everyone knows what they are, and how they can be solved, it just seems that Samuel is neglecting them. Samuel can easily fix all of these problems in a few very simple steps.
This next season is a great time to turn these problems around, and start playing like a true NFL corner.
This is a big one.
Everyone knows that Samuel's tackling was less than satisfactory, and often it would end in disaster. Frequently he would try to dodge or avoid going in for hits on running backs, and if he did he would aim for the legs and not go for the solid body tackle. This can be a real killer in clutch situations, allowing a RB or WR to run either directly through him or just around him. Not only was it a weak tackling attempt, but it seemed as if he could get injured on every hit.
In 2009 Samuel finished the season with 40 tackles, which is not a bad number, but it should be much more. Teams recognized this weakness in the Eagles and often ran pitch routes and screens to Samuel's side.
Samuel can fix this problem by simply, practing tackling on other Eagles players. The practice squad is there for something right? Practice makes perfect, and it is a simple solution to his problem.
Samuel seems to think that he has to go for the big play on every single pass in his direction. What is wrong with the occasional tipped and incomplete pass? Nothing.
The fact that I watch the Eagles get burned in "Asante Alley" just pains me. Every time I see a ball thrown in his direction my heart skips a beat. I realize that it's either going to be a great play for the Eagles or a really bad one.
Opposing teams QB's realize this and can play it to their advantage. By baiting Samuel in with short completions and then going over the top and catching him completely off guard.
No one is going to think less of him as a player if he can stop the simple pass play, in fact I know I will think even higher of him. It would be a great change that could benefit the Eagles defense in more ways than imaginable.
The easy fix for this problem would be, focus on stopping the pass and not creating a turnover on every play. Don't try to force interceptions wait until the opportunity arises. Not every play has to be a pick-six.
Another big one.
How many times have I seen Samuel go back into coverage and just drift to another part of the field that he views as a higher priority, and then have a WR catch the ball and run for a touchdown in the zone he was supposed to be covering? Too many times.
This is a huge problem, and those 9 interceptions start to lose some of there effect when you see Samuel kicking himself because he gave up the big pass play. Sure, sometimes this method works and it can lead to some huge defensive plays, but the majority of the time it will not end with a positive result.
Another very simple fix, if Sean McDermott calls zone, play your zone. If McDermott calls man, stick to your man. This really is just a mistake that should not be happening with a skill set as high as the NFL's.
Congratulations Asante, you made it to your third Pro-Bowl and finished the season with 9 interceptions.
I know that these are not numbers to be mocked or to ridicule, but Samuel is famous for "doing his own thing." It's about time that stopped right here and now.
Sure 9 interceptions is very impressive, but if you are playing with the "That's not my job" mentality, than your going to cause a huge disruption in team chemistry. Which is something this young Eagles defense just can't have.
If there is a running play up the middle, and no one backs up the linebackers, Samuel just shrugs and says, that's not my job. BOOM! Touchdown.
Samuel's can fix this easily, by simply trying to make an impact on every play, and helping out his teammates. We all know he is capable of it, and it definitely would not hurt him to just follow the ball and try to make a play every down.
Samuel is now one of the very few veteran players on the Eagles defense and it is time that he steps up and starts to be a leader.
Samuel has the ability to lead by example, showing players that if they push themselves good things will happen. For instance, the 9 interceptions accumulated last year. On the flip side, he can lead from experience. Obviously Samuel knows that you can't just leave your zone and expect good things to happen.
As I am sure some of you know, I am a big believer in leadership in any sport, and it is probably the most prominent in football. This is an incredibly young Eagles team, and Samuel is the type of player that could make some great things happen.If he can bring the team together and get everyone on the same page. If he can we could be looking at a very good developing defense.
The fix for this can be taking charge and showing the younger players on the team how to react in certain situations.
Do we all remember Brian Dawkins?
Samuel has the opportunity to go down as one of the Eagles best corners of all-time, especially if he can change the few fundamental errors holding him back. I'm ready to see the big change this season and watch Samuel go to his fourth Pro-Bowl, and lead the league as one of the elite.
We all jumped in the air when we heard Asante Samuel had signed with the Eagles, admit it.
Now it is time that he makes us jump again with superior play. I'm not talking 15 interceptions next season but more along the lines of, a well-rounded player.
Agree or Disagree? Post in the comment section below.