The Eagles didn’t trade cornerback Asante Samuel before last week’s deadline. The Eagles probably now wish that they had.
Samuel said over the weekend that the team doesn’t want him. Today, Samuel took aim at the front office, accusing the guys who never played the game of playing fantasy football.
Earlier this evening, the man who supposedly is running the football operation and the front office issued a statement in response to Samuel’s criticism.
“I am aware of how Asante felt and we have since talked,” coach Andy Reid said. “We both left with a positive feeling going forward. As I have said previously, when we acquired Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha, we had received numerous calls on the availability of our cornerbacks. After discussing significant trade offers with other teams, we decided to keep all three cornerbacks on our team. 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.”
The facts would suggest otherwise. Apart from the insights of Asante Samuel, which can’t be completely dismissed despite anything the team says, there are signs of the kind of left hand/right hand disconnect that occurs when a front office and a coaching staff are engaged in a tug of war. For example, running back Ronnie Brown was signed — but Reid hardly used him. Ditto for receiver Steve Smith, one of the final floats in the Dream Team parade. Smith has five catches in six games, a steep drop from his career high of 107.
As Eagles defensive end Jason Babin explained in a visit to PFT Live only one day before signing with Philly, he disappeared during two seasons in Seattle because former G.M. Tim Ruskell wanted him, and former coach Mike Holmgren didn’t. So Holmgren didn’t use him.
Reid barely used Brown, to the point where they tried to trade him. Smith has disappeared. (And though it would be easy to blame his lack of production on his knee, he has played in every game.)
So while there may not be a full-blown power struggle, something doesn’t make sense right now in Philly — and Samuel is smart enough to sense it.