Asante Samuel is out tonight as the Eagles host the Texans at Lincoln Financial Field. The league leader in interceptions missed last week’s game in Chicago and the Eagles fell 31-26 as Jay Cutler threw for four touchdowns in one of his best games as a Bear.
Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said it’s always tough to be without Samuel.
“Well they’ve certainly not thrown at Asante most of the time and when they have, they’ve paid for it,” McDermott said. “It certainly helps when he’s on the field locking down that one side like he does and making plays like he does, it certainly helps. But, you know, guys have got to fill in and they’re expected to do a good job and they need to do a good job so we’ll see what happens here.”
Tonight Samuel likely would have been matched up with Andre Johnson, who has 869 yards, good for seventh in the NFL, to go along with five touchdowns this year. Johnson’s 65 catches put him fourth in the league. At 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Johnson is a handful for any defensive back.
The Eagles also had some communications issues last week, but McDermott said there is no more tolerance for those sorts of mistakes.
“The communications things that you’re talking about should be handled
during the week and it was handled during the week,” McDermott said. “Players have got to make sure they communicate on the field, so I’m going to put an end to that right now in terms of that stuff. That stuff happens and it’s going to happen throughout a season but we’ve got to make sure we iron that out at the same time.”
The Eagles also lose a vocal leader in Samuel, one of the most outspoken and confident players on the team. With him out of the lineup, McDermott wants his defense to continue to take on that personality.
“Asante brings a lot of swagger to the defense and leadership so we’ve
got to make sure that we maintain that,” McDermott said. “We’re a defense that likes to get turnovers and I think we’re up there, if not the best in the league at getting turnovers right now or top two or three. You want to get turnovers. That changes the game.”