Now we know why the Eagles were willing to trade cornerback Asante Samuel for the bargain price of a seventh-round pick.
In discussing the role of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer made a passing reference to the fact Samuel had fallen out of favor with head coach Andy Reid.
“Reid thought he was in steep decline and that his style no longer suited the scheme,” McLane wrote. “The latter may be true, but I think Samuel is still better than his replacement.”
Instead of a three-deep corps of starter-quality corners, the Eagles now have DRC, Nnamdi Asomugha and cast including players such as Joselio Hanson, Brandon Boykin and Curtis Marsh.
The Eagles have had a knack in recent years for jettisoning players at the right time rather than too late (like Donovan McNabb), but Samuel seems like an exception to that rule.
He’s certainly made a good impression with the Falcons. Their plan is to use Samuel and Brent Grimes outside, allowing Dunta Robinson to slide inside and cover the slot in nickel packages.
Samuel’s a good player, but he’s been burned by his willingness to go for big plays instead of sound plays. The Falcons didn’t seem to have a problem with that, and think they now have the kind of personnel they need to face the Saints and other who used to be able to spread them out.