Posted: October 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 25 Comments »

Love me.  Hate me.  Shop me around the league.  Or not.  Such is the life of Asante Samuel.

Last week Asante Samuel went on 97.5 The Fanatic and voiced his displeasure with the fact that, in his mind, the Eagles were shopping him around the league.  Andy Reid then met with Asante today to discuss the situation and smooth things over.

End of story.  Or not.

The media talked to Asante after practice and he really opened up.

Asked Wednesday if he feels wanted, Samuel said: “By Andy. 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.”

Asked to clarify if he was referring to Roseman and Banner, Samuel said: “Howie and Joe? I don’t know, do they fit the comment I made? There ya go. You think they’re upstairs playing fantasy football with the owner’s money?”

Asante then really made things interesting.

“I think there’s a little power struggle around here,” he said. “But it’s all good. Like I said, me and Andy cool. I’m here to play for Andy. He’s my head coach and that’s all that matters.

“Everything has been good with me and Andy. That’s my guy. That’s who I play for, that’s who I continue to play for. I go to war for Andy. It is what it is. All the other stuff upstairs.”

Wow.  That is some strong stuff.

And then Reid met with Samuel again.  Here’s what Asante had to say after that, in the form of a statement the team released:

“Earlier today, I let my emotions get the best of me,” Samuel said. “Everything’s good and I’m happy to be here. I had a talk with coach Reid this afternoon and I now have a better understanding of how business works in the NFL. Let’s get a win Sunday.”

Okay.  There’s a few things to discuss here.  Let’s start with the notion of Asante being on the trade block.  The Eagles, from what I hear, have not shopped Asante around the league in the summer or prior to the trade deadline.  The Eagles did take some phone calls.  And those calls weren’t just passive.  The Eagles did talk to some teams.

You have to understand what is going on.  First, trade talks are a way of gathering information.  What teams are truly interested in a CB?  A lot of teams will call, but only those really interested will make serious offers.  The only way to get the offers is to talk turkey.

Getting offers now also tells the Eagles what Asante’s value is so that they have an idea what to ask for in March if they decide to trade him at that point.  Information is gold, whether business, politics, football, or trying to figure out which babe who hangs out in the Gas ‘n Sip parking lot is single (my money is on Jodi Kramer).

I do believe the Eagles were open to dealing Asante, but only if someone made a great offer (at least a 1st round pick).  I don’t think any offer like that came through and obviously the Eagles kept Asante around.

The thing Asante has to understand is that this isn’t a case of the Eagles trying to get rid of him.  This is the Eagles building up great depth at CB and having the luxury of listening to offers.  We saw the Raiders overpay the Bengals for QB Carson Palmer.  The Eagles didn’t expect an offer close to that, but they were hoping some team desperate for a CB might blow them away with a great offer.  Didn’t happen.

So what is Asante’s future in Philly?  I’ve said for a while now that I expect him to be traded in the offseason.  I still think that will happen.  I don’t think his comments will have a huge effect with the team or with the front office.  It isn’t like Howie Roseman and Joe Banner sit in the CB meetings and talk coverages with the guys.  Football teams are somewhat insulated.  You can be around people as much or as little as you want.  Joe and Howie better not be offended by the comments.  Those guys need thick skin to do the jobs they do.  If Asante’s comments get to them, they’re in the wrong profession.

Now, let’s talk about the “power struggle” angle.  Is this true?

I don’t think so, at least not in the way Asante thinks.  Andy Reid sits on a fence (that poor fence…).  Andy is management on one side and the players friend on the other.  Coach Reid talked to Asante.  Personnel guy Reid is the one who got updates on trade offers and was part of the decision making process about whether to keep or deal him.

Andy is very protective of his players.  He desperately wanted to keep Donovan last year and it took a while for him to wrap his head around the notion that the trade had to happen.  Once the coach side of him backed down and listened to the personnel side, the deal went down pretty quickly.

I’m sure Andy met with Asante and told him just how much he thought of him.  Andy probably did a great sales job.  That worked well, but didn’t jibe with what Asante’s agent had heard from his sources.  You can bet Asante’s agent heard about some trade rumors and was passing them along.  Naturally, Asante sees Big Red on his side and that means that Joe and Howie are the enemy.

Andy had another sit down with Asante this afternoon, after his eye opening comments to reporters.  I don’t know how that went.  The Eagles tell us that Andy straightened things out and now life is back to okay.  That very well could be true.  It could also be that Andy told Asante to shut up and agree with the team’s info.  That doesn’t seem as likely, but we have to acknowledge it is at least possible.

Is there any friction between Banner, Howie, and Andy?  I don’t know anything for a fact.  My guess is that any problems the trio are having are simply a result of the 1-4 start.  The three guys have disagreements all the time, like any co-workers.  Most of them are minor.  When the team is 4-2 or something like that, the issues aren’t a big deal and everyone pushes them aside.

At 1-4 everything is a big deal.  The personnel guys aren’t happy with the coaches.  The coaches aren’t happy with the personnel guys.  Everybody is scared of getting fired and the instinct for self-preservation kicks in.  Simple arguments over the roster or even something very small suddenly don’t fade as quickly.

You go beat the Skins and everyone breathes a sigh of relief.  Tensions ease and life moves closer to normal.

Go beat the Cowboys and we’re getting close to kumbaya time.  Lose and everyone is back on pins and needles.

The relationship between Reid, Roseman, and Banner isn’t as rocky as the Mike Florio’s of the world would like it to be.  The Eagles front office members really do work well together.  The one thing that hasn’t tested this set up is a bad year.  And that could change things significantly.  It’s easy to be on the same page when the team is winning.  Give and take isn’t an issue when life is good.  If the season does fall apart at some point, we could see a power struggle develop.

If Asante continues to non-tackle, play 5 yards off on 3rd/2, and not make plays…who knows…he could make his own comments turn out to be right.  If he plays better and the team gets on a winning streak, the only power struggle will be in March, over who has to call Asante and tell him he’s traded.

25 Comments on “Asante-gate”

  1. 1 Anonymous said at 11:50 PM on October 26th, 2011:

    Just by reading Asante’s comments I instantly get the impression that Reid tried to explain to Asante that he wanted him here, but the guys upstairs wanted to shop him around. I think Reid never thought Asante would go any further with it, or discuss their conversation. Now Asante’s comments make it sound like Reid threw Howie and Banner under the bus, and Reid had to back track ASAP because he just assumed the conversation would stay between him and Asante. Makes you would if Reid actually didn’t want Asante gone, or if he was just trying to play both sides, assuming neither would know the difference. Reid’s thinking “hey he doesn’t play for the front office, he plays for me so I gotta be the good guy, stand by him and what does it matter if he doesn’t care for the front office guys.

  2. 2 Anonymous said at 12:08 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    When Asante said he goes to war with Andy did he mean like in the way you try to dodge/avoid contact with bullets in war? Should Andy be offended that Asante’s image of going to war for his coach is to avoid or give up on making tackles?

    On a serious note, I’m fine with trading Asante because I just hate how careless he is with tackling. I may regret it once he’s gone, since DRC appears to have graduated from the same tackling school as Asante, yet without the same ball hawking skills.

    I think Asante has handled himself poorly, but I don’t blame him for being mad. Remember that these guys have huge egos. Paint it however you want to by saying he wasn’t necessarily on the trade block, but the fact remains that the Eagles were looking to move him at the right price. Asante’s name was brought up twice in trade rumors over the last year. Notice you haven’t heard any rumors about Shady being traded because the Eagles just wouldn’t do it. No rumors about Trent Cole over the last year, right? Again, he handled it the wrong way, but I don’t blame the guy for feeling unwanted, and I don’t blame them for shopping him at all, but he was definitely “on the block”.

  3. 3 Anonymous said at 9:28 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    I think while Asante’s stuck in his ways (regarding tackling), DRC can still be coached. He’s still young and hopefully understands he has room to grow and improve.

  4. 4 Anonymous said at 11:26 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    DRC can be a near elite CB in the right situation. He needs to start. He needs to be allowed to play aggressively.

  5. 5 Anonymous said at 3:28 PM on October 27th, 2011:

    Agreed. DRC is (for all intents and purposes) a younger clone of Asante, except for millions and millions of dollars cheaper. We need to see what we have with him before his contract is up.

  6. 6 the guy said at 1:12 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    This really isn’t the sort of news I want to see about a 2-4 team the week before a big divisional game.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 1:23 AM on October 27th, 2011:


  8. 8 Anonymous said at 1:38 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    It would be troubling if it wasn’t Asante. He’s a CB…very individualistic position. He’s also known to talk.

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 1:15 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    C’mon, Tommy and admit what everyone sees: AR is no longer calling all the shots – Howie and Banner have the inside track now.
    Reid was ready to bring McDermott back – he got overruled and then he came up with this scheme to “circle the wagons” by promoting Juan to DC – a move that has backfired and probably will get him fired.
    And, yea, AR wanted 5 back for one more year, but his hand got forced – that actually worked out as AR then took the chance on Vick.
    Plus Banner got pissed at Akers for wanting to be paid like the Pro Bowler he is, so now AR is stuck with “wide right” Henery instead.
    Gold standard, my a–!

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 1:25 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    You are wrong about Reid and McDermott. I know that for a fact.

    Also, Reid wanted McNabb back because that’s his guy. He didn’t want to let go. That loyalty is a good/bad thing. It is one of the reasons his former players love him. It is also the reason he’s too patient at times with some players.

    Reid knew deep down that Donovan had to be traded. It was business. The coach side, the loyal guy who loves his players, just didn’t want to let go. Don’t try and make that into a power struggle. Watch an episode of Hard Knocks and you’ll see all coaches agonize with letting certain players go. Donnie was special to Reid.

    Reid and Roseman work together on most roster moves. I know that is boring and not the rumor stuff people want to hear, but it is the …. truth. The disagreements have been minor to this point. That could change in the future.

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 11:49 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    So, Reid was not calling the shots on McD, but then was again in naming his replacement? And wasn’t in trading Donovan, but was again with replacing him?

    In other words, the theory is that the FO kicks guys out the door, then tells Reid he had better fill that hole? Sounds a little hard to believe he would not have resigned by now.

  12. 12 Mac said at 1:08 PM on October 27th, 2011:

    I think you may have miss read Tommy’s comment. I think Tommy is suggesting that Andy was ready to get rid of McDermott.

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 8:06 PM on October 27th, 2011:

    I was replying to our colleague from San Fran. It sounds a bit like the black choppers are hovering overhead out there.

  14. 14 Mac said at 9:38 AM on October 28th, 2011:

    Apologies… I get it now.

  15. 15 Carlo Bautista said at 3:21 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    This really makes me sad, Asante was my favorite corner in the league even before he was an Eagle and the only thing that kept me from loving him was the fact he was a Patriot so when we signed him I was juiced! He has been holding down the corner spot for years but the big play ability will just not cut it on a team that has enough big play makers and not enough guys to make the little plays that will win us games.

  16. 16 Matthew Verhoog said at 6:55 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    This is the kind of situation that Andy handles really well. He talks to a player, the player straightens his story, move on to the game.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 7:25 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    Every now and then we keep getting reminders that Andy Reid may be the one coach most loved and respected by his players – it’s really impressive. Look at the Jets. If you throw out the term “players’ coach,” I’d guess the most popular knee-jerk reaction would be Rex Ryan, but who thinks Derrick Mason would ever come back to the Jets? And how many of those players really appreciate Rex Ryan writing all these checks that they’re expected to catch? Super Bowl predictions are passe now, yet Jets players continue to get hounded by the media for whatever latest storm Rex decided to bring up. They’re being asked to defend their coach from Joe Namath, for pete’s sake!

  18. 18 Kristian said at 9:27 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    Wait what? “[Andy] desperately wanted to keep Donovan last year and it took a while for him to wrap his head around the notion that the trade had to happen.” Is there a source for this, because I don’t remember reading it, and I’m sure the Cards didn’t either? This would lead me to believe that Reid actually never thought Kolb was ready. It also leads me to believe that Reid doesn’t have a lot to do with the Eagles historical success with letting players go at the right time.

  19. 19 Anonymous said at 10:04 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    I am the source. Believe if you like, doubt if you want.

    This had nothing to do with Kolb. As I put in an earlier comment…

    “Reid wanted McNabb back because that’s his guy. He didn’t want to let go. That loyalty is a good/bad thing. It is one of the reasons his former players love him. It is also the reason he’s too patient at times with some players.

    Reid knew deep down that Donovan had to be traded. It was business. The coach side, the loyal guy who loves his players, just didn’t want to let go. ”

    Kevin is very fond of Reid and they have a great relationship. Not sure about Donovan. He might be a bit awkward now because of the way the last 2 years have gone, but if anything it should convince him to appreciate Reid even more than he did.

    Reid loves his QBs. Those are his guys. He brought Pederson here. Stuck with Donnie through thick and thin. Kept Koy longer than he should have. Brought AJ back at a time when he was on the street. And so one. Reid is loyal to all his players, but his QBs are special.

    And Reid is absolutely a believer in keeping the roster young. It is just easier for him to let go of non-QBs because they don’t have the same kind of relationship. If Reid was a defensive guy he might feel that way about LBs. He’s not. Andy is an offensive guy and QB guru.

  20. 20 Mac said at 10:22 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    And the fact that he is a QB guru is exactly why the Eagles have been and remain a threat to win the SB every year, and make the playoffs nearly every season Andy is here. There is no doubt in my mind that when Andy leaves… this franchise will not be the same (and it won’t be a good thing).

  21. 21 Anonymous said at 10:33 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    I couldn’t be more disgusted with Asante. I disagree that he was honest or that he opened up. I’d say it’s more like he’s crying and complaining. How about acting like a professional,doing your job well, and keeping your mouth shut so your ego doesn’t get in the way of your team preparing for a crucial game against a hated Division rival?

    One more thing, I had to Google the Jodi Kramer reference. Good one!

  22. 22 Mac said at 10:37 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    I’m hoping that Asante is trying to use this (or maybe his agent is trying) to motivate him to come up big in a game where there should be some balls up for grabs. Maybe Asante needs some kind of edge and thinks he can get the team hyped up? Sadly, I don’t think anyone other than Asante is going to get hyped about this (kind of like Sheldon choosing to don a hockey mask the first year first game post Dawk).

  23. 23 Anonymous said at 11:53 AM on October 27th, 2011:

    The main point in Andy’s explanation: “Asante, I can make you the next Sheldon or the next Lito. Do you want to go to a starting gig next year? Yeah? Okay, then shut up and tow the line.”

  24. 24 Anonymous said at 12:31 PM on October 27th, 2011:

    For years Andy Reid is criticized for his meaningless responses to questions, but then when a player answers questions honestly everyone freaks out.

  25. 25 Mac said at 1:01 PM on October 27th, 2011:

    I think you’re on to something…