One noted absence at Eagles OTAs is Asante Samuel. The fiery cornerback was the loudest Eagle, constantly jawing at receivers and sometimes even chiding reporters.
But Samuel is gone after the team traded him to Atlanta. The defensive backs are led by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and last year’s prized free agent Nnamdi Asomugha. Also gone is the hype and bravado associated with the so-called Dream Team.
“It’s very calm, very different from how we started off last year,” Asomugha said.
The Eagles tried desperately to get all three Pro-Bowl corners — Asomugha, Samuel, DRC — on the field, in one tight-knit, shutdown package. Blame the scheme or maybe the technique. For whatever reason, it never worked out. The Eagles traded Samuel and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo went back to the drawing board.
“Juan’s eliminated a lot of the things that we tried last year that didn’t work that we thought might work,” Asomugha said. “It was his first time out there, our first time out there, so we got a chance to see what worked, what didn’t work, take that out, and kind of just build on the stuff that was good, whether it was the scheme or the technique.”
Of course, the Eagles were dealing with a shortened offseason last year due to the lockout. Asomugha didn’t want to blame that, but he did admit it played a factor.
“I think the difficult part of it came because it was so rushed,” he said. “When it was that rushed and there was so much going it made it a little more difficult than I expected.”
Or maybe it was just too crowded with all that talent, all those egos, floating in the defensive backfield.
“I didn’t think it was crowded with Asante. I thought it should have worked,” Asomugha said.
When asked more specifically about this year, he added, “Our roles are more defined.”