Random thoughts from around the NFC East: Asante’s decline, Tuck’s relaxed 2011 offseason, and an apology to Skins fans

Jeff McLane of Philly.com “drained his notebook.”  He also did this earlier this offseason.  There are some really good nuggets in both posts, and his mention of Asante Samuel got some national attention from Pro Football Talk, which then got the attention of Asante himself.  Here’s what Jeff wrote:

4. Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie is this year’s Jackson. Well, maybe not of that magnitude. But the cornerback is one of the few established veterans on the Eagles heading into the last year of his contract. The Eagles are banking on DRC having a little extra to play for and that he’ll be at least the equal of Asante Samuel, who was jettisoned in the offseason. I’m split on the Samuel move. Reid thought he 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.

Asante was not happy:

And then some fans noted to Asante that Reid wouldn’t say that kind of stuff, and that McLane was just lying because he has some kind of vendetta against Asante, a notion that Asante seemed to agree with:

Andy Reid obviously never went on record and said “I think Asante Samuel is in decline.”  If he had, we’d have the direct quote.  But obviously, Reid has personnel discussions with his staff, and Reid very well could have expressed that sentiment.  Then the whispering down the lane game begins.  This guy tells that guy, that guy tells this guy, and eventually it gets to a guy like McLane from a source he trusts.  He then throws it in as a minor point in the 4th bullet point of an “Emptying the notebook” article, and bada bing, bada boom, it gets national attention.  That’s just how these things go, and that’s the scenario I’ve created in my head here.  To be determined if Asante is in sharp decline or not, but there’s no way McLane is just making stuff up here.  I fully trust his information.

More after the jump…

– Eagles G Julian Vandervelde helped out some news team in Iowa with the weather.  Awesome stuff.

Mark Barron signed.  He was drafted 7th overall.  Morris Claiborne was drafted 6th.  All the top picks that have signed so far have gotten fully guaranteed deals, so there’s no way any of the remaining rooks are going to sign their contracts without it.  There shouldn’t be any real obstacles in getting Claiborne’s deal done.

– Justin Tuck said he didn’t work as hard last offseason as he should have:

 “I definitely didn’t work as hard as I should’ve last year,” Tuck said in an interview for a fall episode of ESPN’s “E:60.” “The lockout was going on. I took a trip to Africa. There were some things I did in the past that I didn’t do last summer.”

He also lost a couple family members in August and September last year, and dealt with various injuries, most notably his neck.  I don’t think the trip to Africa is that big a deal, and if I were a Giants fan, I wouldn’t be too worried about Tuck’s work ethic.  I fully expect a bounce-back year from Tuck.

– And finally, an apology to my Redskins readers.  I was really looking forward to spending some time down in Ashburn, checking out Redskins camp.  I figured everyone and their mother was going to be focused on RG3, so my plan of attack was to focus on some more of the secondary things.  For example, I was going to focus on how the new WR corps were looking, the depth at TE, who might emerge as the starting safeties, the progression of guys like Kerrigan and Riley, and from a more selfish standpoint, I was excited to watch London Fletcher up close in person for the first time.

But alas, I will not be attending Redskins camp.  Despite prior indications from the Redskins that I would be credentialed, and despite a bevy of legitimate referrals (that I provided at their request), I received the disappointing news that my access was denied.  They were even considerate enough to put “denied” in bold print, so as not to leave any gray area.  I’m just one of many online-based outlets that were denied access.  Some of the others are far bigger than me, in terms of traffic, community, following, etc.  Some have covered Redskins camp for years.  Some post upwards up 3-5 articles per day about the Redskins, and do a phenomenal job covering the team.  Some depend on access to things of this nature for their livelihoods.  Frankly, I’m floored by some of the people that were denied.

But really, it’s the fans that lose.  Guys like Rich Tandler (CSN Washington), John Keim (Washington Examiner), and Mike Jones (WaPo), will all be at camp, and I know with 100% certainty they’ll all do a great job.  But in 2012, football fans consume as much content as they can get their eyes on.  Depriving them of added training camp insights in what was the most exciting Redskins offseason in recent memory make zero sense, in my opinion.

Now, the Redskins can credential or not credential whoever they please.  That’s their prerogative, and from the media’s perspective, access should be viewed as more of a privilege than a right.  I’m certainly not going to make some sort of argument that my little snarky website should be entitled to access to various camps just because they’re one of the teams I cover, but to deny some of the other totally deserving folks because (and I’m making assumptions here) their work can be found on computer screens instead of newsstands is obtuse thinking.

Onto the embarrassing part: I wouldn’t have mentioned any of this if I hadn’t previously asked for training camp donations to offset some of the costs I might incur for travel/lodging/etc.  I made the mistake of doing so on a verbal, before I had the official confirmation.  The generosity I received was much, much appreciated, and the donations I received from my Redskins readers were particularly generous.  However, I’m not 100% sure who you are.  If you could please email me at jimmy (at) bloggingthebeast.com, let me know what email address was affiliated with your donation, and I’ll refund it immediately.

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  9. FedEx Al says:

    yeah. As you know I was shut down as well from ‘Skins TC. Bummed by it but what can you do. Please keep my donation, I expect your travel and hotel costs will be expensive.

  10. Dez Bryant's Probation Officer says:

    I’m thinking about paying you more to skip the Redskins camp. Who cares? They suck.

  11. Jalarsen1 says:

    Jimmy, I’m not a skins fan, but you can keep my donation! You do a great job, and maybe some of these donations can help make the hours you put in a little more worth while.

  12. Tom Ryle says:

    Yeah, the joys of being a blogger.

  13. joe d says:

    Tuck…. For a long time I thought Tuck was slightly better than Trent Cole but he has been largely ineffective the last few years (sans playoffs 2012)… Obviously I think injuries hae done that, it’s a shame for the rest of the east that Giants got JPP, who is p robably the best De in the league right now

  14. Jason-E says:

    The Redskins denial: Maybe you’re not the only online journalist who got drunk and harrassed Shanny and the leprechaun?

  15. Bkiddo says:

    You’re a good guy, Jimmy. Someone i definitely enjoy reading, immensely, and someone I’ll continue to enjoy for however long you choose to cover my team and everything related. Just wanted you to know that.

  16. Trueblue63 says:

    The denial of press credentials is usually related to wanting control over news flow. Major outlets are far more easily controlled than a small blog. And what’s worse, if you’re out there giving your opinion (RG3 isn’t quite as pro ready as everyone thought?) then there is pressure on the big guys to gve their opinions.

    It’s why you so seldom read hatchet jobs on college football programs. The local guys covering say Auburn or LSU are very dependent on the access. If they get frozen out, they’re done, the coach knows it, the reporters know it.

    There is a ton of pressure on Shanahan. He’s done little to prove himself away from Elway, and he’s just traded the farm for an unproven rookie QB. That’s after trading away Jason Campbell, who looked more than serviceable before he got hurt in Oakland. If RG3 looks more like Eli Manning’s rookie season than Ben Roethlisberger, Shanny might not be around to much longer. That’s pretty good motivation to restrict press access.

  17. Mick says:

    I would imagine that most who contributed will be content for you to keep just doing a good job. Then again, I’m not one of them (sorry bro), wo what do I know?

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