The Philadelphia Eagles had a cornerback problem last season. They had too many good cornerbacks.
Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel started, while Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie moved to the slot. But DRC struggled in the slot and it became apparent heading into 2012 that the Eagles needed to get rid of one of them.
Asomugha, the big free agent signing, was obviously going to stay so it came down to Samuel or Rodgers-Cromartie. The popular decision in Philadelphia would have been dumping DRC. Samuel had easily the better year of the two and he’s proven his worth as a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback consistently for the last half decade.
Rodgers-Cromartie was a stud in 2008 and 2009, but a major disappointment in 2010 and 2011. However, he is 26, five and a half years younger than Samuel.
The Eagles made the risky decision to trade Samuel to the Atlanta Falcons, placing all of their faith in Rodgers-Cromartie to rebound from a down year.
Whether that happens with DRC remains to be seen. But it looks as if getting rid of Samuel may have been the smart decision for the Eagles and head coach Andy Reid, who claimed that Samuel is “on the decline”.
As expected, Samuel took offense to that statement and chose to blast the Eagles on Twitter.
Samuel is not even listed as a starter on the Atlanta Falcons.
According to the Falcons’ official depth chart, he is listed behind veterans Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson as the third cornerback.
When the Falcons go into a three-cornerback set, Robinson will play the slot and Grimes and Samuel will alternate between the left and right sides. But on the real depth chart, Samuel is listed on the right side.
Asante Samuel likes playing the left side. Not the right side.
“Of course, that is where I made my living,” Samuel said regarding the left side, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “All my production came from the left. It’s going good. It’s a new thing for me, switching back and forth, trying to get my mojo right. All is good. The coaches are going to do what they think is best.”
“As we move closer to the start of the regular season, we’ll be making that decision. Again, I think it’s to our advantage to keep that in-house in terms of how we want to deploy our corners.”
I was amazed when the Eagles could acquire only a seventh round draft pick for Samuel but now I’d say he’s not even a lock to make the team. He’s worth a lot of money and he was expected to start when he was traded.
As of now, his most memorable highlight during preseason (and I really don’t like to make a big deal out of the preseason) was getting burned by Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver AJ Green on a 50-yard touchdown.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.