Steep Decline?

Posted: July 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 11 Comments »

Jeff McLane has a good feature he does from time to time called Emptying the Notebook.  He just shares whatever notes that didn’t make their way into a full story.  He dropped a small bombshell in his most recent ETN column.

McLane was writing about Asante Samuel when he had this nugget:

Reid thought he (Samuel) was in steep decline and that his style no longer suited the scheme. The latter may be true, but I think Samuel is still better than his replacement.

Say what?

Before we get into the validity of the statement, let’s talk about the background of it.  Would Andy Reid ever really tell a reporter that a player who was just traded is in “steep decline”?  I find that incredibly hard to believe.  Reid usually has a really good relationship with his former players.  He stayed close to Jeremiah Trotter and that came after a nasty parting of the ways.  Reid remains close with Kevin Kolb. There have been a slew of former guys who came back to the Eagles after leaving in free agency.

For Reid to take such a significant dig at a former key player is just unheard of.  There’s  no worry about Asante not returning.  If the comment gets out, it just becomes bulletin board material.  There’s not really any benefit to saying something like that.

Did Andy really say this?  I certainly don’t think McLane would make it up.  Did Andy say something like “Asante is a declining player” and McLane then over-stated the line?  I guess that is possible.  McLane didn’t put the phrase “steep decline” in quotation marks so we don’t know what Reid’s exact comments were.

I can see Big Red being a very unhappy camper about right now.  He isn’t fond of pointless controversies and this certainly is one of those.  Did he say something off the record to McLane?  Did he make a negative comment and McLane exaggerated it?  No matter what the reason, the genie is out of the bottle.  The good news is that Asante plays for Atlanta, a team we face just once and not someone that is a heated rival.  We play them in late October and this comment could be less relevant at that point.

I’m far from the biggest Asante Samuel fan, but he is not in steep decline.  He is a descending player, but that’s strictly due to age.  31-year old CBs aren’t on the way up.  Is it possible that Samuel is going to decline really quickly, the way that Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor did?  Certainly possible, but he’s not as big as them so I think he can age a bit more gracefully.

Asante is coming off his worst season since 2005 in terms of making plays:  3 INTs, 10 PDs.  In his previous 3 seasons as an Eagle, Samuel had 20 INTs and 52 PDs.  He still did a good job in coverage, but I’m not a big fan of the PFF and FO numbers on him since Samuel freelances so much that it can be hard to tell when he’s properly executing an assignment and when he’s left another DB out to dry.

If you follow Asante on Twitter, you know he’s not too happy.  It does seem like he might be leaning toward blaming McLane and not Reid.  Interesting.

* * * * *

For SB Nation Philly, I wrote a piece taking a look back at the offseason.  Sometimes you can forget a player or move when it is several months later.  Always interesting to look back and take stock of how things went.  Was it really all that long ago when Sam and I were arguing if D.J. Jones was a relevant signing or not?

* * * * *

PFT has the Eagles ranked 8th in the preseason power rankings.  What do you guys think of that?

I’m okay with it.  I think that’s a reflection of the fact we’re coming off an 8-8 season and needed a hot finish to even get to that point.  I can’t blame people for being reluctant to slot the Eagles too high.

I do think people have to make sure to note the Eagles have a ton of talent and if things go right, could be one of the very best teams in the league.

I only have a couple of gripes with the PFT report.  First, they barely mention LeSean McCoy and he’s coming off a season where he looked like one of the best RBs in the NFL.  Next, they are way too harsh on Michael Vick.

Calling Vick a weakness isn’t entirely accurate, but he’s definitely a question mark for the Eagles. Vick’s decision making was awful for much of last season and he seemed less athletic than in past seasons.

Do they not know how many teams would love to have Vick at QB?  Mike had a down year in 2011, but still went 7-6 as a starter, had 18 TDs and 14 INTs, a QB rating of 84.9 and ran for 589 yards (7.8 ypc).


11 Comments on “Steep Decline?”

  1. 1 Ezra Greene said at 9:42 PM on July 21st, 2012:

    Ignore me.

  2. 2 TommyLawlor said at 9:49 PM on July 21st, 2012:

    Is everything okay now? If you want something deleted or edited, just email me at igglesblitz-at-gmail and let me know what you need.

  3. 3 Ezra Greene said at 9:43 PM on July 21st, 2012:

    Arg. Please delete that. I do not want my name out in public. I realize the irony in posting again to ask this, but am hopefully Tommy can immediately delete both that and this.

  4. 4 Brett Smith said at 9:46 PM on July 21st, 2012:

    TLaw –
    I agree. When has Ried ever thrown anyone under the bus? This thing with McLane sounds like made up crap. Asante does not fit the system. Here is an idea. If he did “Fit the system” Belichick wouldn’t have let him go. We got him at a time when we needed turn overs and Lito SUCKED. We had a solid corner with Sheldon and Lito decided to go diva without the stats to go diva. Had Lito been the ball hawk Asante was everyone would have over looked his bad tackling and horrible attitude. We gave Asante Lito’s money… and it was Lito’s fault. Of course Reid was right. Lito didn’t do anything when he left…. and JJ was able to compensate for Asante’s freelancing with his scheme. Asante delivered… well we don’t have JJ to compensate for Asante’s freelancing anymore so he had to go. That is all it is… rookie DCs can’t plan for freelancing.

    SO I made the mistake of watching the replay of the superbowl… oh man what I do when drinking. Freddie Mitchel SUCKS. He dropped a first down after McNabb took a beating keeping the play alive. Worst 1st round pick ever in the Reid era.

    1st half. McNabb constantly getting hit, shrugging dudes to the ground and throwing passes. Owens making plays on balls thrown under duress. Westbrook making plays when the WHOLE DEF of the other team was focusing on him. Trot KILLING the center and crashing into Brady/Dillon….

    How much of this is McNab’s fault for not hitting the first read and how much was the fact that the interior 3 of the OL was fat jelly donut eating losers. Fraley, Hicks, Mayberry…. We would be pissed if this was our interior 3 today. Owens was unstoppable on a bad wheel…. Pinkston had a good game. Had that donut eating interior line been better old “Worm Burner” would have been better. Not fair for DMac. Not fair at all… Peoples champ was a loser. Dmac did all he could while constantly getting hit.

    The defense was amazing. Not the best JJ def in my book but still amazing. When Lewis comes across the middle and levels Givens I cheered… (years later it was as awesome as it was the first time.) Lito SUCKS. Loser… how do you let Givens be that open? HOW?

    In the end we should have won that Superbowl. Glad I turned it off before the end.

    Sorry for the bad memories. I blame NFL Network and Hank Fraley(Freddie Mitchel).

  5. 5 T_S_O_P said at 3:44 AM on July 22nd, 2012:

    No mention of Matt Ware’s suckiness? Maybe I need to re watch it, what drink do you advise?

  6. 6 TommyLawlor said at 1:23 PM on July 22nd, 2012:


  7. 7 T_S_O_P said at 2:41 PM on July 22nd, 2012:

    Gotcha 🙂

  8. 8 T_S_O_P said at 3:44 AM on July 22nd, 2012:

    Good morning from the land of the Magyar, I’m not sure if there is a quote in there for you Tommy, but I just wanted to relay that I am no longer stranded.

    I hope with all this ish of dynasty and calling out players that it has the effect that WE play with a chip on our shoulders because WE really do have the talent.

    I’m glad you mentioned Shady as during my sojourn reading the Almanac, the bottom chart on page 33 makes for scary reading. I wonder how similar a chart would have been for Westbrook ’07 and ’08?

  9. 9 Håkan Sandström said at 7:49 AM on July 22nd, 2012:

    Note that the journalist (mcclane) does not state that; “andy reid said…”.
    He merely writes that “Reid thought…”, this phrasing implies that this opinion about Samuel, is something he has heard someone attribute to Reid.

    Could be the ballboy, for all we know. Or mcclane just made it up.

    On another note; Taking down the statue of Joe Paterno is wrong. The American Peoples propensity for jumping on the bandwagon and sweeping stuff they dont like under the carpet, wins again. Not a good thing.
    You are better than this.

  10. 10 Alex Karklins said at 12:58 PM on July 22nd, 2012:

    I can imagine Asante will really be gunning for interceptions and gambling on short routes when the Eagles play the Falcons. I’d also be willing to bet that Desean Jackson will run multiple routes with double moves in that game.

  11. 11 juggadore said at 9:02 PM on July 22nd, 2012:

    jeff mcclain must be reaching for stories because he’s no longer joe banner’s caddy.