A quick reminder that Asante Samuel is still a great CB

Last offseason, CBS’ Pete Prisco put out his most overrated/underrated list, and to my surprise, he thought Asante Samuel was the Eagles’ most overrated player.  I figured his argument (a valid one) would be that he either can’t, or has no interest in tackling.  Nope.

Overrated: CB Asante Samuel. I say it every year here: Good player, not great. Big-time gambler. He makes plays, but he also gives up a bunch.

I tried to think of one occasion in which Samuel had been burnt that season, and came up completely empty.  I couldn’t think of a single instance.  In fact, I even put it to the test at the great Eagles blog Bleeding Green Nation.  A commenter did come up with one.  In the playoff game against Green Bay, at the end of the first half, James Jones had Samuel beaten deep, but dropped the pass.  That was it.

And yet, I don’t think Prisco is alone in his perception that Samuel is prone to getting toasted.  But that perception is dead wrong.

According to Football Outsiders, Samuel was only thrown at 36 times the entire 2010 season.  He had a “success rate” of 78%, which was by far and away the best in the NFL.  For quick reference, FO defines “success rate” as “the percentage of passes that don’t manage to get at least 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent of needed yards on second down, or 100 percent of needed yards on third down.”  That was the best in the NFL.  Second best?  A name you might know… Darrelle Revis, at 70%.

As far as yards per pass attempt, Samuel gave up a paltry 3.2 yards per pass, which again, was the best in the NFL.  Second best? Another name you probably recognize… Antoine Winfield, with 4.2 yards per attempt.  To put 3.2 yards per attempt in perspective.  Aaron Rodgers averaged a ridiculous 9.25 yards per attempt this past year.  That was the best in the league.  The bottom 4 QB’s in the NFL were Curtis Painter (6.34), Sam Bradford (6.06), Colt McCoy (5.90), and Blaine Gabbert (5.36).

But the most amazing part of Samuel’s 2010 season was that despite only being thrown at 36 times, he somehow intercepted 7 passes.  That’s incredible.

Football Outsiders has yet to put out their 2011 CB charting stats, but they did give a sneak peek through Week 13 of the 2011 season.  Despite a new defensive scheme that didn’t quite cater to Samuel’s skill set, the numbers were more of the same.  He was 5th in “success rate” at 67%, and his yards per pass attempt were again extremely low at 4.5 yards per attempt (3rd in the NFL).  Those stats don’t include Samuel’s final two games of the season against the Jets and Dolphins, games in which the opposing QB’s and WR’s had miserable Sunday afternoons.

With a logjam of talented CB’s the Eagles are pretty openly trying to trade Asante Samuel.  If you’re in need of a corner, you’d be taking on a player that’s 31 years old who is going to make almost $10 million in 2012.  That seems to be the focus of pretty much every article you’re going to read about Asante Samuel.  I was even guilty of that back in October.

Just don’t forget that the guy is still really freaking good.

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29 Comments

  1. andre d. says:

    He got burned in the right-corner of the endzone for a touchdown vs. the Bears. Wasn’t even close and they said they (Bears)could take advantage of him.. and they did.

  2. Euler.is.a.pimp says:

    He’s been really underrated by Eagles fans too I think. I had hoped he would play out his whole contract here. I see why he no longer fits, but it’ll be a shame to see him go.

    1. Steve D. says:

      I agree with this sentiment. For a good player that has had some big plays at important times (interceptions against vikings and giants in the 2008 playoffs and against peyton manning when we finally beat the colts), he really has become a whipping boy for the fans.

      1. Anders says:

        I just think most fans like him what what he is, but realize we have NA and a good young stud CB in DRC

  3. Dan says:

    Been saying this for a while. I prefer keeping Asante to having nnamdi. Nnamdi was horrendous last year.

    1. Anders says:

      horrendous? you know he was still a top CB? If you want horrendous look no futher then to the Cowboys last year

    2. nadam says:

      You realize that he was out of position most of the plays he got burned on right? And he was matching up on TE’s and doing it well. Try matching up Asante on a TE and see what happens.

      1. Dan says:

        If you consider out of position playing zone, I agree.

        But barely any CBs in the sport get to play man only every single game.

        There were a few games where he lined up against a TE but not consistently enough I’m willing to grant him a pass for his other bad plays.

        Now granted when I say Nnamdi was horrendous, I mean for what I expect from him. He certainly was light years better than Terrance.

    3. Gary says:

      Lol, “horrendous.”

  4. RogerPodacter says:

    are we forgetting how awful he is in the RZ? the way he plays 10+ yards back off the WR is fine when you’re on their side of the field. it leaves open a lot of quick throws to the WR on that side.
    imagine now that its a big, physical wide receiver. who here is going to bet that Asante can actually tackle him to the ground, much less prevent a TD?

  5. Jay Walker (GIB) says:

    I wonder if Asante would restructure and make a deal a little more cap friendly. Say 3 years at 24mil instead of the one year left at 10. I would love to keep him.

    1. Anthony says:

      Well, he still has two years left, so that makes it a little more difficult. And I don’t know how willing he’d be to do that because he already feels spurned by the front office. As good as he is, I think it’s best for both sides to part ways (it helps the Eagles in two ways – frees cap space and helps them not waste the talent of Rodgers-Cromartie, and I think Asante will just be happier).

    2. Gary says:

      But then what happens with DRC and Nnamdi? It creates a complete log jam.

  6. ubrab says:

    The “He can’t play man is not true at all”. He can, and very well (if not, how could he rate out so well ?). He has been one of the best cover corner in the last 3/4 years, up there with Nnamdi, Revis, Woodson.
    But…none of those 3 has been consistently one of the worst (if not the worst) tackler in the NFL. That plus his “influence” make the Eagles want to get rid of him.

    1. Jay Walker (GIB) says:

      If he eliminates a WR completely from the game….i really dont care if he can tackle. And thats basically what he does. If we have good LB’s than Asante and what he does would be heralded across the league. Instead, he’s asked to tackle guys he has no business wanting to tackle.

  7. brisulph says:

    He is old and costs too much… he has to go regardless. Besides, desn’t the Eagles FO like to cut bait a year early rather than a year late?

  8. bula says:

    i don’t know that asante can’t play man to man. it’s press coverage that he struggles with. he plays off of receivers very well. you can play off and play man to man. juan wants cb’s who can press so that they can delay a receivers route and make the qb hold on to the ball longer thus letting the defensive line do their thing. asante was great in JJ’s system because it created a lot of confusion for the qb causing them to make mistakes that fed right into asante’s strength’s to jump routes

  9. Will says:

    2009, second game of Eagles/Giants.
    Samuel got toasted by the double moves of I believe Nicks

  10. Free Plax says:

    If the Eagles were smart they would hold onto Assante and get rid of DRC or Nnamdi, those guys overated.

    1. Imp says:

      ???

      Nnamdi still had a very good year despite being misused by a DC that shouldn’t been named DC. and while DRC wasn’t good in the slot, he was still good on the outside when Asante was out of the lineup.

      1. Free Plax says:

        Nnamdi is no Revis that’s for sure, In my humble opionion Asante is stilll Philly’s best CB, why is philly so hell bent on running him out of town.

        1. Gary says:

          Same reason the Texans wanted to get rid of Demeco Ryans: he no longer fit the system and cost them a lot of money.

        2. Loredana says:

          Dude hasn’t even been trying since day one. He’s had millupte opportunities to make tackles on players that are about to go in for touchdowns and either hasn’t made an effort or failed miserably.It’s sad because I honestly think he cares about the franchise and wants to play for this team, but sees the writing on the wall. As for him saying he’s going to put forth a full effort and blah blah blah, well I’ve yet to see that.I expect him to play less and less as the season progresses. He may even end up being inactive. If not he’ll still be riding the pine.

  11. Anders says:

    Jimmy the only game I can remember where Samuels gamble didnt work was vs AZ this year where he left Coleman 1v1 with Fitzgerald

    1. Jason-E says:

      That’s the only one I can remember as well. (It was Jaiquawn Jarrett btw) but it was a huge mistake. It basically lost us the game. (although Coleman’s missed tackle at the goal line was what sealed the W for the Cards)

  12. andiamo says:

    so why are they so hell bent on trading him?

    1. Imp says:

      Asante is better in zone while Nnamdi and DRC are better in man-to-man.

    2. Anders says:

      DRC cant play the slot, if he could, we wouldnt trade him.

    3. hoit says:

      when they drop off, the drop off is huge and it’s coming any day now.

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