Category Archives: Asante Samuel

It’s Dallas Week

PHI: 8-4, 1st in NFC East
DAL: 4-8, 4th in NFC East
Spread: Eagles by 3.5
Where: Jerry Jones Big Pile of Money (Arlington, TX)
When: Sunday, 8:20 on NBC.
Last Week: The Eagles beat Houston on Thursday, 34-24. Dallas upset the struggling Colts in overtime, 38-35.

Three key matchups

Miles Austin vs. Asante Samuel – With Dez Bryant out for the rest of the season after breaking his ankle, Jon Kitna will have to rely on his number one, Miles Austin. That’s where Asante Samuel comes in. Samuel has missed the last two games with an injured knee but is expected to return against Dallas. He’s the Eagles best coverage player in the secondary and will provide a huge boost in keeping Dallas’ leading receiver in check. Austin has made 56 catches for 804 yards and five touchdowns. Samuel has a league-high seven interceptions.

DeMarcus Ware vs. Michael Vick – This match-up is simple. Ware leads Dallas

Dallas' Demarcus Ware chases down Lions QB Shaun Hill a couple weeks ago. Ware's 9.5 sacks leads the Cowboys. He poses a serious threat against the Eagles QB Michael Vick. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

with 9.5 sacks and is the most dangerous pass-rusher in the NFL and Vick is the most dangerous quarterback in the NFL. Ware has 6.5 sacks in nine career games against the Eagles and has only half a sack against Vick in one game. Whether or not Ware can contain Vick will be the key to this game. Vick has rushed for 467 yards and six touchdowns but has also thrown for 15 touchdowns, making him a duel-threat and in the talks for MVP.

Keith Brooking and Bradie James vs. LeSean McCoy – Running the ball is going to be key for the Eagles. But that task will be the most difficult when LeSean McCoy has to do it against the strong inside line backers Keith Brooking and Bradie James. The two have combined for 177 tackles and two forced fumbles on the season. McCoy is on pace for his first career 1,000 rushing season. He’s run for 823 yards on 168 carries, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, with seven touchdowns. His ability to get involved in the passing game could also help Vick by spreading out James and Brooking along with Ware. He leads the Eagles with 67 catches and has added two scores as well.

IT’S STILL DALLAS — Despite the Cowboys’ extremely disappointing season – many experts picked them in the Super Bowl – it’s still Dallas. The Cowboys and Eagles have one of the most heated rivalries in all of sports. Dallas has won the last three meetings with the Eagles (all last season) and are 3-1 under Jason Garrett. But Philadelphia is the much better team with a more dynamic offense than Dallas.

The big question is going to be whether or not the Eagles defense can stop Dallas’ pass attack. The one-sided Cowboys are without their best receiver on the year, Dez Bryant. But with Miles Austin and Jason Witten still healthy and very dangerous options, they could give the Eagles defense some problems. Philadelphia has surrendered at least 24 points in eight of their 12 games this season.

Eagles WR Jeremy Maclins tries to run against Houston in last Thursday's win over the Texans. Maclin's eight TD's has made him a top target for Vick.

But with the big numbers Dallas can put up against Philadelphia’s defense, the Eagles have dangerous weapons of their own. Jeremy Maclin is enjoying a great season for the Eagles, catching 56 balls for a team-high 820 yards and eight touchdowns. DeSean Jackson only has caught 38 balls but his 762 yards, 20.1 yards per catch, and five touchdowns are enough to make him a very dangerous option for Vick.

The ground game could also be a huge factor. Where Philadelphia is gaining yards in bunches thanks to the seasons McCoy and Vick are sharing, Dallas is struggling greatly in that aspect. Felix Jones and Marion Barber have combined for only 844 yards on 235 carries for three touchdowns. With the Eagles stingy run defense allowing only one 100-yard rusher all season, don’t expect Jones or Barber to be much of factor in this game on the ground.

Roose’s prediction (7-5): Dallas is tough but the Eagles are tougher. Kitna will get hit hard more than once and Vick will be able to work his magic against Dallas. Defense still has some problems but Eagles still win, 33-17.

Bad News Bears; Texans on Thursday

Eagles linebacker Stew Bradley chases Bears receiver Earl Bennett in Sunday's loss. Bennett caught two touchdowns in the game. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Final Score: Eagles 26, Bears 31
Eagles best play: Michael Vick threw a strike through four defenders who were quadruple covering Brent Celek for a touchdown, bringing the score to 31-26 with under two minutes left.
Eagles worst play: Every time it appeared the Eagles had Chicago stopped, their receivers would exploit the middle and the secondaries poor tackling for a first down.

Three stars
M. Forte – 14 carries, 117 yards. 2 catches, 22 yards.
J. Avant – 8 catches, 83 yards.
E. Bennett – 4 catches, 56 yards, 2 TDs.

Breaking down the game

POOR TACKLING/POOR DEFENSE — It was the worst defensive effort the Eagles defense has had all season. With the absence of DE Juqua Parker and CB Asante Samuel, the defense couldn’t tackle or stop the run.

Matt Forte has struggled much of the season, rushing over 100 yards only one other game. He racked up 117 yards on only 14 carries in Sundays win. Chicago exploited the right side where Parker, who is a great run-stopper, would be. And when Forte would bounce the ball outside, he had to force Dimitri Patterson and Joselio Hanson to make the open-field tackle which they couldn’t do.

The Eagles got to Bears QB Jay Cutler four times in the game, all in the first half. The defense looked like it was going to stop leaking and shut down Chicago until the Bears opened up the second half with a quick touchdown drive to make it, 28-13.

They also failed to pick-off Cutler. Cutler has been picked off 10 times this season and the Bears offensive line is not that good. With the linebackers poor coverage and the corners poor tackling, it opened up the slants and curls for 10-yard, first-down plays. Cutler didn’t have a fantastic game but he found all the holes at all the right times.

JACKSON A NO-SHOW — A year removed from a fabulous Pro-Bowl season where DeSean Jackson racked up over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns, he’s been quiet and inconsistent all year.

Jackson caught only two balls for 26 yards on Sunday. It’s now been six games where Jackson failed to record more than 50 yards receiving. He has only 35 catches on the season with 678 yards and five touchdowns in 10 games.

Andy Reid apparently laid into Jackson in the post game locker room about his lack of effort in the loss. But other Eagles like Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy feel that it will blow over and that Jackson will be fine for Thursday’s game.

Bears RB Matt Forte runs for a 61 yards. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

OVERRATED? — The defense has allowed at least 24 points in seven of their 12 games this season. The offense is hot and cold. If Vick isn’t lighting up weak secondaries, he gets shut down by stronger defenses and can’t get the high-powered offense moving. The offensive line is hurt and terrible.

These are all the doubts the Eagles have despite being 7-4 and still in first place of the NFC East, tied with the Giants. But what happens when they give up 31 points to a team with one of the worst offenses in the league? What happens with they have to play four days after that loss and could knock themselves out of first in the division?

If the Eagles hot streak cools down the team starts to fall apart, getting into the playoffs will become harder in an NFC filled with seven teams with a 7-6 record or better.

PHI: 7-4, 1st in NFC East
HOU: 5-6, 3rd in AFC South
Spread: Eagles by 8.
Where: Lincoln Financial Field (Philly, PA)
When: Thursday, 8:30 on NFL Network.
Last Week: The Eagles lost to Chicago, 31-26. The Texans shut out Tennessee, 20-0.

Three games in 17 days. That’s what the Eagles were faced with in the last weeks of November and first in December. After a thrilling win over division rival Giants and a frustrating loss to the Bears, the Eagles have to host Houston four days removed from their 31-26 loss.

The Texans present an interesting match up for the Eagles. Boasting the best wide receiver in the NFL in Andre Johnson and with RB Arian Foster as the top fantasy running back this season, the Texans offense could put up numbers.

Texans WR Andre Johson is among the most dangerous receivers in the NFL. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The big question will be if the Eagles can get a healthy Juqua Parker and Asante Samuel back. The run defense has allowed only two 100-yard rushers all season and Samuel’s seven picks leads a team who is tops in the NFL in interceptions.

The Samuel v. Johnson match up will draw some interest. Johnson has five inches on Samuel and also has a healthy knee. This year, Johnson has 65 catches for 869 yards and five touchdowns.

Foster is the other weapon Houston has that could pose a threat to Philadelphia. The Eagles have allowed a 100-yard rusher only twice all season and Foster has rushed over 100 yards in seven games. He’s rushed for 1,147 yards on the season (5.1 per carry) with 12 touchdowns. He also has 48 catches for 453 yards and a touchdown.

Matt Schaub is a really good quarterback as well. On the season, he’s thrown 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He has a passer rating of 92. 6.

Roose prediction (6-5): The Texans are not a good defensive squad, something that could hurt them. If Sameul is healthy, he will keep Johnson in check despite giving up some yards and a possible score. Eagles win this one, 31-24, but still have a lot of questions to answer.

 

Birds in first; head to Chicago for big NFC matchup

Eagles RB LeSean McCoy waltzes into the end zone after his 50-yard touchdown on a 4th-and-1 in the last four minutes of play gave the Eagles the lead for good. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Final Score: Eagles 27, Giants 17
Eagles best play: Michael Vick bobble the snap on 4th-and-1 but recovered, pitching it left to LeSean McCoy who took it 50 yards to the house with over 4:30 left in the game to give the Eagles a 24-17 lead.
Eagles worst play: In one of the Eagles’ three red zone possessions that ended in a field goal, Jason Avant dropped a pass all alone in the back of the endzone.

Three stars
J. Maclin (PHI) – 9 catches, 120 yards.
L. McCoy (PHI) – 14 carries, 111 yards, TD. 5 catches, 29 yards.
A. Samuel (PHI) – 2 INT, fumble recovered, 2 tackles.

Breaking down the game

THE GAME CHANGER —With under five minutes left in the game and the Eagles’ chances running out, they found themselves in a do-or-die situation. On fourth-and-one, the Eagles chose to run the ball. Instead of trying to muscle it through the Giants stout offensive line, which held LeSean McCoy to 13 yards on the game, the Eagles opted for a toss.

Vick bobbled the snap but got control of it in time to pitch it left to McCoy, who busted through the Giants secondary for a 50-yard touchdown. Vick found Avant for the two-point conversion to make it a 24-17 game with just over four minutes remaining.

McCoy added a 40-yard run on the next possession to get himself over 100 yards on the game in the win.

The Giants saw their chance at tying the game halted when Eli Manning fumbled the ball away. Asante Samuel recovered it for his second of the game. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

DEFENSIVE STAND — We all know how goofy Eli Manning looks. The Eagles made him look even more foolish in the game, forcing him to throw three interceptions. Manning also didn’t help his cause when he dove forward and fumbled the ball in the fourth quarter, halting the Giants drive when they trailed 24-17.

The Eagles were all over Manning, forcing bad throws and poor decisions. Manning managed to complete only 20-of-33 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns. The longest pass he completed was to Brandon Jacobs, who picked up most of the 22 yards after the catch.

The ground game for New York, which was one of the best in the league, was absolutely stuffed. The Giants managed only 61 yards on the ground with over half the yards coming on Ahmad Bradhaw’s 17-yard run and Manning’s 16-yard run that ended in a costly fumble.

FINE GAME FOR SAMUEL — Other than being fined $40,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Giants WR Derek Hagan, Samuel had himself a tremendous effort. He picked off Manning twice and recovered two fumbles, the first forced by Brandon Graham and the second off of Manning in the win. Samuel also had two tackles which could be a career high the way he wraps up ball carriers.

HOBBS ON IR — Ellis Hobbs was injured on a scary play in the third. Taking the opening kick-off of the second half, Hobbs was hit head-to-head by Giants DL Dave Tollefson, injuring his neck. No foul or fine was issued to Tollefson because Hobbs isn’t considered a “vulnerable” player and that helmet hits are allowed on ball carriers with established possession (*cough*bullshit*cough*).

The hit left Hobbs lying on the field for over 11 minutes before being taken off on a stretcher.

Hobbs was placed on the injured reserve today. Hobbs missed the last nine games of the 2009 season with a neck injury.

PHI: 7-3, 1st in NFC East
CHI: 7-3, t1st in NFC North
Spread: Eagles by 3.5
Where: Soldier Field (Chicago, IL).
When: Sunday, 4:15 on FOX.
Last Week: The Eagles beat the Giants, 27-17. The Bears shut out the Dolpins, 16-0.

BATTLE FOR BEST IN NFC — People will get a good look at what the Eagles high-powered offense can do against one of the best defenses in the NFC. They saw last week they could over come a tough Giants defense but a repeat performance would solidify them as the top contender in the conference.

Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin are all enjoying years to remember. Vick is a top MVP candidate with his performance this season, throwing for 1,608 yards, 11 touchdowns, and no interceptions this season. He had the highest pass rating (108.7) in the NFL. He’s also run for 375 yards and five touchdowns.

 

Bears RB Matt Forte runs through two Dolpins last Thursday in their 16-0 win. (AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)

On the Bears offense, Jay Cutler has completed over 61% of his passes for 2,064 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. He could struggle against the Eagles secondary which features ball hawks Asante Samuel, who leads the NFL with seven picks, and rookie Nate Allen, who has three. As a team, they’ve picked off a league-high 19 passes.

 

The Bears are relying on their defense, which has allowed an average of 290 yards a game this season, third in the NFL. They’ve also allowed an NFL-low 14.6 points per game. D.J. Moore leads the team with four interceptions and ends Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije have a combined 11 sacks.

Chicago will be well-rested for this game, having 10-days off before kickoff. Their 16-0 win over Miami on Thursday helped keep them in pace for first place in the NFC North.

This game is going to come down to whether or not the Bears weak offense can score on the Eagles strong defense. If their defense holds up their end of the bargain, it could be a very low-scoring game. If not, expect the Eagles to win in a blowout.

Roose’s prediction (6-4): The Bears defense will hold the Eagles offense  enough to win but they won’t score. Eagles win, 19-10.

Birds Cough-Up Game

Titans WR Kenny Britt catches the third of his three touchdowns on Sunday's 37-19 win. (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

Final Score: Eagles 19; Titans 37
Eagles best number: 0:00 – the end of the game.
Eagles worst number: 18 – the number Kenny Britt wore seeing. They saw the back of his jersey a lot on Sunday.
Eagles best play:
Eagles worst play: With the game still in reach as the Eagles trailed by eight, Jorrick Calvin fumbled a punt with little over three minutes left, giving the Titans the ball in field goal territory and letting them put the game away.

Three stars
K. Britt (TEN): 7 catches, 225 yards, 3 TD’s
K. Collins (TEN): 17-for-31, 276 yards, 3 TD’s, 2 INT, 90.3 rating.
C. Finnegan (TEN): 8 tackles, interception returned for TD.

Breaking down the game

MELTDOWN — The Eagles put fourth one of the most embarrassing fourth quarters in recent memory. Leading 16-7 with under five minutes left in the third, LeSean McCoy fumbled the ball on the 7-yard line to stall a would-be Eagles touchdown drive.

After that, the Titans marched downfield and kicked a field goal to make it 16-10. After a David Akers field goal to make it 19-10, the Titans scored 27 unanswered points in the fourth.

Eagles PR Jorrick Calvin fumbles away the Eagles' last hopes of mounting a come-back against the Titans. (AP Photo/Frederick Breedon)

It all started with Kerry Collins hitting Britt for an 80-yard touchdown catch to make it 19-17. After a 3-and-out, the Titans took the lead with a field goal with 9:31 left.

Another 3-and-out for the Eagles and the Titans scored once again, a 16-yard touchdown pass to Britt to give the Titans the eight-point advantage with little over five minutes left.

After each team traded 3-and-outs and the Eagles were left with no time outs, the Titans punted. But Calvin bobbled and then fumbled the punt to give the Titans the ball on the Eagles 33.

But it got worse. The Titans converted on a should-be stop, kicked a field goal to make it a two-score game, and then Cortland Finnegan picked-off Kevin Kolb and returned it to the house for the last play of the game.

SICK OF SAMUEL — Looking at a 3rd-and-7 on the Eagles 30. With Philadelphia only trailing by eight and there still being a chance of the Eagles to force K Rod Bironas to make a long field goal attempt, all they needed was a stop.

They had shut down Titans running back Chris Johnson all game. The second leading rusher in the NFL was held to only 66 yards on 22 carries so a stop in that situation looked plausible.

Johnson took the hand-off, bounced out to the left and made Asante Samuel look stupid to pick up the first down. One-on-one, Johnson is hard to tackle. One-on-one with Samuel, though, everyone knew what the outcome would have been.

Lowering his head like the typical defensive back does today is what Samuel did. It’s hard to tackle anyone, especially with Johnson’s skill set, when you’re staring into the dirt and you don’t wrap your arms around the ball carrier.

Week in and week out we have to watch Samuel make horrible attempts at should-be tackles. He’ll get his token interception to allow people to forget about his inability to do the simple tasks asked of a football player.

I’m sick of watching it, Asante. Just sick. But at least you’re still better than that wasted of space Ellis Hobbs.

HEADING INTO THE BYE — The Eagles will be heading into the bye week this week. Instead of writing about it here, I will touch on a few things regarding the Kolb/Michael Vick situation and the possible return of DeSean Jackson.

It’s going to be a fun two weeks. Hopefully someone teaches Samuel how to tackle.

Pro Bowl Wrap Up

I only watched a little bit of the game as the Royal Rumble and even Grammy’s were more entertaining to watch. I saw a bit of the first and second quarters as DeSean Jackson was amazing, McNabb had me screaming to not hurt his trade value, and Leonard Weaver and Jason Peters didn’t do anything special. Asante Samuel was beat as well in the secondary.

McNabb’s appearance was bitter-sweet for me. I am a huge McNabb supporter and think he is truly a Hall of Fame QB (by Warren Moon’s standards) but seeing him play like that just proved once again why he is not the right QB for the Eagles and needs to be traded. He was picked off early in his appearance by LaMarr Woodley and had it returned for a TD but the play was blown dead after off-setting penalties. He was then picked off by his former team mate, Brian Dawkins.

McNabb did score a TD even though it came off of a 58-yard screen play to Jackson, his second of the night. When Jackson wasn’t doing all the work for McNabb, he was air-mailing and short-hopping his receivers, the same thing us fans watched all season.

Here are the stats for the Eagles players:

Donovan McNabb: 3/10 for 78 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 4 carries for 26 yards
DeSean Jackson: 6 catches, 101 yards, 2 TD’s; 1 PR for 8 yards
Asante Samuel: 1 interception with a 35-yard return
Quinton Mikell: 3 tackles
Trent Cole: 1 tackle
David Akers: FG 2/2, XP 4/4