The Philadelphia Eagles’ Asante Samuel Ruffles Some Feathers


I have no metric to really quantify how bad the Philadelphia Eagles defense has looked this season other than “a couple dozen.”

I have slammed my head into a flat surface “a couple dozen” times since this season began, watching missed tackle after missed tackle, carving “WEAPON X. 1996-2008” into my arm.

Oh my God. What a great Philadelphia Eagle. Look how he runs up to players on the opposing team and knocks them down! I feel like that is such a sound defensive philosophy. Hit dudes!

But the real question is: Who can I blame for my dented head and scarred arm? According to Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel, I need look no further then Howie Roseman and Joe Banner, the front office brain trust and the men behind the Philly’s free agent shopping spree this summer.

Now, Samuel is upset that his name keeps getting brought up in trade talks. When the Eagles acquired Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from the Arizona Cardinals for Kevin Kolb, it was assumed Samuel would be the odd corner out. And despite being the in front of DRC on the depth chart, he felt disrespected hearing his name come up in rumors at the deadline.

So this week, Samuel shared some thoughts: “Couple people upstairs might not want me, but who cares? They’ve probably never played football … It’s a business and they run it like a business and they’re going to do what they need to do. They’re playing with a lot of money, playing fantasy football, doing their thing.”

Just the kind of “Remember the Alamo” speech you want to hear before a big divisional game with Dallas. The fantasy football remark might have some merit, seeing as how the Eagles front office definitely went for marquee value over depth this summer.

Coach and master orator Andy Reid had this to say in response: “Asante is a valuable member of our team and we appreciate all that he brings to this organization. As far as my relationship with Howie and Joe, I have a great deal of respect for both of them and I know we are all on the same page.”

Cool. Thanks for playing Share Your Thoughts, Andy. To be completely honest, one of the only reasons this story stands out from any number of bouts of griping that happens in the NFL, by anyone from Matt Forte to LeGarrette Blount, is that dissent in the ranks of the Eagles is so rare. If you show loyalty to Andy Reid, he will throw himself in front of a bullet for you. It’s basically his saving grace as a coach, and it’s why you see his players still standing by him.

But there are still a couple of things to watch for as the Eagles’ up-and-down (mostly down) (*slams head into coffee table*) season progresses. Will there be any more buck-passing by Eagles players if results don’t go their way? This is the first instance in which a player has blamed anyone but himself or his teammates for the Eagles’ performance.

Yeah, Samuel was talking about his personal relationship with the organization, but his accusations about Banner and Roseman were about the way the team has been constructed. Fantasy football? That’s a GM burn.

Also, is he right? The Eagles are sort of a test case for how you go about assembling a football team. They invested in names, in star power, and either overlooked key positions (like linebacker) or overestimated the ability of the players they already had (Casey Matthews). They might have some Pro Bowl talent in the defensive front, but are you telling me Quintin Mikell’s 38 tackles aren’t looking pretty good right now?

Samuel could be expressing an opinion that is solely his own, or he could be representing a widely held sentiment in the locker room. One thing’s for sure, if the Eagles lose to Dallas, you can expect his voice, and likely the voices of others, to get a lot louder.


Follow Grantland on Twitter or check out Grantland’s Facebook page.

Read more of The Triangle, Grantland’s sports blog.

Contact us at triangle@grantland.com

Filed Under: Bird Talk, Philadelphia Eagles

Chris2

Chris Ryan is an editor at Grantland.

Archive @ chrisryan77