Friday, November 26, 2010
Eagles might rest Asante Samuel
PHILADELPHIA -- Andy Reid wouldn't say it.
With Philadelphia facing two games in the span of five days -- one against a top 10 offense and one of the best wide receivers in the game in Andre Johnson, the other against an offense ranked 30th -- it might make sense to rest cornerback Asante Samuel and his aching knee Sunday when the Eagles (7-3) visit the Chicago Bears (7-3).
And while that's still what Reid may do, he isn't about to tell anyone. For now, Samuel is listed as questionable -- and that's it.
"He's doing better," Reid said. "He's feeling a little bit better. He's still not 100 percent, so that's why we listed him where we listed him. But we'll just see how he does here."
Samuel, the Eagles' All-Pro cornerback, missed his third and final day of practice on Friday. Nickel back Joselio Hanson would start in his place, and rookie Trevard Lindley would assume Hanson's role as the No. 3.
Two other defensive starters, end Juqua Parker (hip) and tackle Antonio Dixon (abdominal strain) also missed practice and are listed as questionable for the Bears.
Samuel -- who would likely draw Johnson on Thursday, when the Eagles meet the Houston Texans (4-6) -- injured the MCL in his knee on an interception return last Sunday against the New York Giants. He fumbled after he was hit.
"I didn't feel anything at first, but I was on pain-killers," Samuel said Thursday. "The next day, it started to hurt. I couldn't really walk."
Samuel missed one game this year with a concussion against the San Francisco 49ers and their 25th-ranked offense. The Eagles got by in that one, 27-24, as Lindley intercepted 49ers quarterback Alex Smith to seal the win.
Chicago's offense comes in ranked even lower and its top receiver Johnny Knox ranks 50th in the league with 37 receptions.
But on Thursday, the Eagles will face the Texans and Johnson, one of the more feared receivers in the league. His numbers -- 56 receptions for 813 yards -- are a little off this season, but the big-play capability is always there.
Reid, however, said that wasn't a factor. Of course, he had to say that.
"You can't do that," Reid said. "I know what you're saying. But this is a good football team we're playing. I have a lot of trust in the guys that would step in for them, if needed. But at the same time, it's that time of year where if you can go, you go, and as long as you're safe there."
Hanson, who has made himself a career as a third corner, has started 15 games in six years, including three this season. He's ready to go, if Samuel cannot play.
"Every game I play, I prepare as if I'm going to start because you're only a play away," Hanson said. "So, I'm prepared either way this week. I don't just prepare as if I'm going to be the nickel. I prepare to play."
Hanson has done his homework on the Bears. He'll likely see a lot Knox and some Devin Hester, as well.
"They have a lot of speed outside," Hanson said. "You have to get up and challenge them. You can't sit back on those guys or they'll hurt you. They'll take some chances in the passing game and you have to be ready. One guy [the Washington Redskins' DeAngelo Hall] had four interceptions in a game against them. Hopefully, I can have a game like that."