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Is Philadelphia Eagles Cornerback Asante Samuel Undervalued?

Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel has been criticized quite often by the fans of Philadelphia.  Everyone is aware of Samuel's apparent lack of tackling prowess, and Samuel's tackling has been the subject of quite a few discussions and even jokes over the past few seasons.  Since Samuel's injury a couple of weeks ago, however, it has become quite clear that he is an integral part of the Philadelphia Eagles defense.

Since Asante Samuel has been in Philadelphia, he has intercepted 20 passes in 40 games played. That's a pretty amazing stat.  While I understand that it can be frustrating to watch Asante ole a tackle, as he does do from time to time, you certainly can't poo poo the guy's playmaking abilities.

Recently, when Samuel was fined $40,000 for an illegal tackle on the New York Giants' Derek Hagan, Samuel said “They don’t pay to me tackle. Now [they're] charging me to tackle.” There is truth to what he said.  Honestly, if you're a cornerback in the NFL, you have to tackle.  But Asante Samuel was not brought to the Philadelphia Eagles for his tackling ability.  He was brought here for his playmaking ability, his football instinct, what he does to opposing offenses just by being on the field and his ability to jump a route.  He's not perfect, by any stretch.  There are times when Asante tries to jump a route or make a play and guesses wrong and gets burned.  These things happen.  That's what Safeties are for.

While Samuel sat out the Bears and Texans games with a knee injury, Joselio Hanson was busy getting thrown at all day.  Needless to say, Joselio Hanson isn't quite the playmaker Samuel is.  That doesn't mean that Asante is so feared around the NFL that no one throws at him, it's just to say that Quarterbacks tend to pick their opportunities more when Samuel is on the field.  His mere presence alone changes game plans and puts pressure on opposing QBs.  And pressure is what causes turnovers.  And turnovers are what Asante Samuel does best. Asante has missed the last two games, yet still leads the NFL in interceptions with 7.

The next time you get all worked up over Samuel giving up a play because he was "too busy trying to get another freakin' Intereception," remember... THAT's what the Philadelphia Eagles pay him for.  And the next time Samuel comes up with a pick in the exact moment we need a big play, remember that he was only inches from getting burned and being your goat.  The Philadelphia Eagles have a superb offense.  It's one of the best in the NFL.  It's the defense of the Eagles that his been an issue at times.  Samuel makes that defense better.  Samuel makes the Eagles better.  Samuel should return to the gridiron on Sunday against the division rival Dallas Cowboys. When the Eagles need a huge interception or a big play, I'll feel a lot better knowing Asante Samuel is there.


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