K.C. Joyner Handicaps the NFC East: How Much Will the Eagles Miss Samuel?

Asante’s out of the division.

Cowboys Nation’s chat with ESPN Insider K.C. Joyner continues with a discussion of what Philadelphia may have lost by dealing long-time corner Asante Samuel to Atlanta.

Cowboys Nation:  I want to stick with the Eagles.  Asante Samuel is a Falcon now.  He had another strong metric year in 2011.  He tied for 6th in that stat, with a 5.2 YPA.  It appears that Nnamdi will take his place in the lineup.  How much does his loss hurt the Eagles?  Does it in fact hurt them?

K.C. Joyner:  He’s been the ball hawk in that scheme.  The Eagles for years have run a system where they have one shut-down guy on one side and a ball hawking guy on the other, and a strong number three.

My sense of what the Eagles want as an organization is that solid cover guy, a ball-hawking corner who they can protect with safety help, who will go for interceptions and big plays, and the solid slot guy.  The reason being that you can funnel or try to funnel the ball a certain way, so if you’re trying to generate turnovers on defense you try and funnel the ball the ball hawk’s way.  That’s a really general description, but it works in the Eagles case.

It’s not helpful to lose a corner of Samuel’s talent level, but I think Asomugha is similar in his game, so they have a guy who can fill Samuel’s role.  The Eagles have done a good job over the years of fielding 3rd corners, guys like Rod Hood and Joselio Hanson.  I don’t think they ask those guys to do things they’re not capable of doing.  I think the Eagles will be fine this year.

Overall, I don’t think it’s a crippling blow for them, but if Asomugha is dipping, it could be.

CN:  Samuel is a good corner, and he takes a lot of abuse.  I think ball hawking guys take a lot of abuse in general, because they take chances and while they make big positive plays, they’ll give up big plays as well.  In Asante’s case, you would hear, yeah, he’ll get a pick, but he’ll give up five touchdowns in the process.  I think that’s a gross exaggeration.  He wasn’t beaten all that often if he had a YPA in the fives.  And he lived in that range, the fives and sixes, the last few seasons.

But he would give up some big plays and he was not the most enthusiastic tackler on run downs.  I think people morphed that bad quality onto his pass game and generalized. I’m happy to see him out of the division.

K.C.:  Atlanta has done a great job of picking up talent.  Asante is now with Brent Grimes and he’s been a top-5 YPA corner the past two years.  They’ve done a really good job of collecting talent.  Their fans are upset because they lost to the Giants last year, but everybody lost to the Giants in the playoffs last year.

Next:  K.C.  talks about the Eagles offensive weapons.

Rafael Vela

Rafael Vela

Senior Analyst Cowboys Nation.com at Sports Talk Line
Started covering Dallas Cowboys @ TheBoys.com in '95 and '96. Two more stops along the way and here I am. Senior Analyst for SportsTalkLine.com
Rafael Vela

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  • Jarhead

    he never scared me that much. miles austin at the top of his game won more matches with him than he lost. he also got the better of nhamdi a when he was with the raiders.
    im crossing my fingers that austin stays healthy and hasnt already decided his one big contract is enough to make him content. if not, and he dedicates himself to playing at the top of his game, he will truly be a “match up buster.”

  • Blue Eyed Devil

    The Falcons are eerily similar to the Cowboys this year. Maybe a better version of the Cowboys. That game at their stadium is going to be a dangerous one.

    • MontecitoTex

      Matt Ryan > Bozo the Romo

      • jarhead

        Ryan’s track record in the playoffs is not much better. He didn’t exactly dazzle anyone in last season’s loss to the gints.

        • Blue Eyed Devil

          I don’t think Matt Ryan is better than Romo but he’s creeping up the ranks every year as he gets more experience. He was sneaky-good last year and let’s face it Roddy White has outproduced Miles Austin and Falcons fans believe in Juilio Jones like Cowboys fans believe in Dez Bryant.

          Flip to the defense and you’ll find Samuel and Grimes are better on paper than Carr and Claiborne. They don’t have anyone the caliber of Ware, of course, but then again their O-line might be much better than ours.

          They’re an interesting team that’s doing many of the same things we are. It will be a tough game.

      • Dub_TC