Philadelphia Eagles Fact or Fiction: Is Asante Samuel Headed Out of Town?
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Welcome to the first Bleacher Report Philadelphia Eagles Offseason Fact or Fiction.
Those of you who have read this column in the past know that I do this often during the regular season. Since the Eagles had a busy offseason week, we have done a fact or fiction this week for the offseason moves.
This week, I am joined by two people. Philadelphia Eagles featured columnist, the very talented man with one name, Wes! He will take on Philadelphia Eagles fan and Bleacher Report writer Mick Akers. Both of these writers have given answers to the questions that follow, including thoughts on Nnamdi Asomugha, Desean Jackson, Asante Samuel, King Dunlap and more.
But wait, I am also playing this week, so you have your first ever three-person FACT OR FICTION. I have also included my response so this should be interesting.
So join me as we go through the Eagles offseason in this EPIC edition of FACT OR FICTION.
Acquiring Nnamdi Asomugha
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1. Acquiring Nnamdi Asomugha was the smartest move for the Eagles to make.
Mick Akers (Fact): The Eagles needed help on defense more than anywhere else, especially in the secondary, where they were tied for second in touchdowns against last season. Adding arguably the best cornerback in the NFL in Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie directly helps that.
Wes (Fact): Nnamdi Asomugha is the type of defensive player who can make everyone on the field better. He can literally shut down half the field. When you have someone like Asomugha out there, it can give the defensive line more time to rush the quarterback and pick up some coverage sacks.
He will also allow the Eagles to feel a little more comfortable when they blitz because he will not blow his assignment.The Kevin Kolb trade was great, but that was a no-brainer. This move took some planning and a big contract.
Darren Grossman (Fact): While I think the Eagles could have spent money on LBs or OL, it is hard to complain about them getting the best free agent on the market. So I went with FACT but barely. I would have been happier keeping Asante Samuel and DRC and spending the money on other positions, but like I said, I can not complain about landing a player of Asomugha's talent.
Score: 1-0 FACT
Asante Samuel Traded?
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2. Asante Samuel will be an Eagle when the regular season begins.
Mick Akers (Fact): Samuel is worth more to the Eagles this year, than acquiring anybody in return for him. Having a triple-threat in the secondary will greatly improve the Eagles' chances to make a Super Bowl run.
Wes (Fiction): Instead of praising Howie Roseman, the Philadelphia media basically attacked him after the Asomugha trade went down. They had questions about Asante Samuel, and they wanted answers. Hey, that's what the media is supposed to do.
Roseman tried to avoid the questions like Michael Vick avoiding on-coming blitzes. Unfortunately for Roseman, he wasn't elusive. He never committed to saying Asante would be back next year. I know it's dangerous to read between the lines with the Eagles, but if you do it here, it's pretty clear Asante will be gone before the season begins.
Darren Grossman (Fiction): Sadly, I have to go fiction here, unless DRC moves to safety; it would appear Asante is the odd man out. The Eagles will hold on to him if they do not get a good deal, but ultimately, if they get a good offer, they will move Samuel.
He is due over $8 million next season, so they have to get his salary off the books. He is either being traded or cut in the offseason, and the Eagles like to get value for good players, so I'll go with traded.
Score: Fact 1 Fiction 1
Vince Young as Backup QB
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3. Vince Young was the best choice to be the backup quarterback.
Mick Akers (Fact): Vincent Young is a similar player to Vick in that he has the ability to scramble, in addition to his passing game. Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinwig are great teachers, and Young is in need of some guidance to save his career.
Wes (Fiction): Kevin Kolb was the best option.The Eagles did not have to trade Kolb. They owed him nothing. And the acquisition of Asomugha would have taken care of the hole at cornerback. Following the trade of Kolb, I still don't think Vince Young was the best option.
I would have gone with Bruce Gradkowski. I don't trust Young even a little bit. He's immature and an underachiever at the NFL level. Those are not qualities I want in a quarterback regardless of their place on the depth chart.
Darren Grossman (Fiction): Unlike Wes, I think Vince Young is a great choice. However, was he the best choice? I'm not so sure. I think Brett Favre would have been awesome, and obviously, if you go just in terms of on-field production, keeping Kolb would be better.
However, I think the Eagles did great getting Vince Young. The only complaint is they should have signed him for two years so they could trade him in the offseason if he plays this year and does well.
Score: Fiction 2 Fact 1
DeSean Jackson Holdout?
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4. DeSean Jackson's holdout will extend into the regular season.
Mick Akers (Fiction): The Eagles known they need DeSean Jackson in order to be true contenders. All these offseason moves will mean nothing if Jackson holds out into the season.
Wes (Fact): The Eagles shelled out a lot of money to get Asomugha. They still need to get a linebacker, fullback,and possibly a safety. There simply isn't enough money to go around.The worst part is that Santonio Holmes and Sidney Rice received contracts that were too high. Yes, DeSean is better than both, but to pay him the money both of those players got is not going to sit well with the Eagles.
Darren Grossman (Fact): Sadly, I have to go Fact here. I hope I am wrong, but the Eagles have spent a lot of money and I am not sure if there is enough left for Desean Jackson. With Drew Rosenhaus as his agent, he will sit until he has to come in Week 11. It is unfortunate, but I expect it to be a long holdout. Hopefully, Andy Reid, Michael Vick and DeSean's teammates can convince him to come in and play out his contract, but I am skeptical at this point.
Score: Fact 2 Fiction 2
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5. The Eagles have the worst linebackers in the NFL.
Mick Akers (Fact): Let's hope the Eagles have a few more moved up their sleeves and add a quality linebacker or two before all is said and done this offseason.
Wes (Fiction): (I'm not ready to go there just yet): Casey Matthews is going to be a stud in the NFL. I'm not saying this because of his pedigree. I'm saying this because I watched him play quite a few games at Oregon, and he was a playmaker.
People will talk about his size, but I don't care about it. The way he moved around the field in college shows he understands how to play the game and the position, which is more than you can say about a lot of linebackers that have come through here.
In the middle, Jamar Chaney has gotten some rave reviews. I couldn't tell you if they are warranted or not, but when Brian Baldinger of ESPN radio's 97.5 The Fanatic sings your praises and talks about him playing the position better than anyone has in 10 years, I am going to listen and wait.
Darren Grossman (Fact): I have voted fact simply because I can not think of any team with a worse group, but I do think the Eagles have potential at the position. I really like Jamar Chaney a lot, but I am not sold on any of our outside guys.
Akeem Jordan, pictured above, is not the answer. However, Stewart Bradley going to Arizona made me really happy because as many of my readers know, I absolutely despised him with a passion (as a player, not a person).
Score: Fact 3 Fiction 2
King Dunlap at Right Tackle?
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6. King Dunlap will do an adequate job at right tackle.
Mick Akers (Fact): After an OK season last year and his offseason run-in with the law, Dunlap will be essentialy fighting for his NFL future.
Wes (Fiction): When I think adequate, I think of someone who won't get Michael Vick killed. It almost seems inevitable that King Dunlap will screw up at some point and expose Michael Vick's blindside. I understand he is in there replacing Winston Justice so maybe I should go a little easy on him. But when you are a liability to the franchise's most important player, I can't consider you adequate.
Darren Grossman (Fiction): It depends on your definition of adequate. Could we do worse? Of course. Could we do better? Absolutely. King Dunlap played better than I expected last season, but I can not say I am confident he will do a solid job protecting Vick's blindside.
Score: Fiction 3 Fact 3
Al Bello/Getty Images
7. Losing David Akers and having an unknown rookie kicker is a huge concern for this season.
Mick Akers (Fiction): David Akers wad starting to become less and less reliable, and a new face in at kicker will be OK for the Eagles.
Wes (Fiction): Alex Henery kicked at Nebraska. We're not talking about Connecticut, Iowa State or Boise State here. We're talking about one of the premier programs in the nation. And when you kick for a program of that level you are going to be under pressure.
All he did was go 68-76 for field goals in his career with a career long of 57 yards. I'm not worried about him buckling under pressure if he has a kick to beat the Cowboys, Giants or Redskins because he proved he can handle the pressure.
Darren Grossman (Fact): How quickly a couple of missed postseason field goals in 2010 make Eagles fans forget that Akers was one of the best kickers in the NFL for the last decade. Akers earned the nickname Automatic Akers because he was such a great kicker for such a long time. I am very sad the Eagles aren't going to resign him.
Even though he missed a couple of kicks, Akers has been our kicker for a long time, made Pro Bowls and did a great job. Henry may have a good college track record, but I am far more confident in Akers at this point.
Score: Fiction 4 Fact 3
Eagles NFC's Favorite?
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Last question: As of right now, the Eagles are the favorite to win the NFC.
Mick Akers (Fact): With the upgrade to their defense, and their high-power offense returning, they are not only the NFC favorites, but the favorite to win it all.
Wes (Fiction): When you wonder about the Eagles having the worst linebackers, the right tackle being only adequate and the possibility of Vince Young taking the field, I am not comfortable saying you are the favorite. And that doesn't even take into account how good the Green Bay Packers are.
Things can obviously change as the season progresses, but the Eagles need to prove a lot before anyone can place the favorite tag on the Eagles. Don't forget the Packers beat the Eagles twice at Lincoln Financial Field last year.
Darren Grossman (Fiction): It's quite simple actually, the defending Super Bowl champion Packers are in the NFC, so they are clearly the favorite. They did beat the Eagles twice last year, and their success throwing the ball might be why the Eagles got those three great corners. Plus the champs are the favorite until someone shows they can beat them, period.
Score: With that, fiction ends up coming out on top five times to fact's three times. I would like to thank Wes and Mick Akers for their hard work in helping with this column.
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