|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.