Thursday, December 22, 2011
Eagles' Asante Samuel misses practice
PHILADELPHIA -- Four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel missed a second consecutive practice Thursday with a hamstring injury.
Samuel is in danger of missing the Eagles' game against the Cowboys on Saturday, a game the Eagles could need to win to keep alive their slim playoff hopes.
If the Jets beat the Giants in an early game Saturday, Philadelphia would stay alive in the division race with a win in Dallas.
Samuel hurt his hamstring in the Eagles-Jets game last Sunday, and coach Andy Reid said Samuel aggravated it at practice Tuesday. He hasn't practiced since.
"Asante is still a little sore, and we'll just see how he does here over the next couple days," Reid said. "He jogged a little bit (Tuesday) and got sore ... so we just backed off him. We're trying to rehab it and see how it goes from there."
Samuel has three interceptions this year and 45 in his career, fourth among active players.
Reid said Samuel is experienced enough that he'd be able to play Saturday without practicing, as long as his hamstring is healthy.
"He knows what we're doing, it's just a matter of getting the soreness out of there to where he feels comfortable," he said. "Nobody wants to play more than he does, so you know he's going to do everything possible to get himself ready to go."
Reid said if Samuel is unable to play Saturday, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would start at left cornerback opposite Nnamdi Asomugha.
Rodgers-Cromartie, a Pro Bowl cornerback with the Cardinals, made his only start as an Eagle against the Bills in October, when the Eagles opened in a three-cornerback alignment.
Like Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie is in his first year in Philly and has gradually grown more comfortable playing a new role with a new team.
Rodgers-Cromartie missed three games with a high ankle sprain before returning for the Eagles' wins the last two weeks over the Dolphins and Jets.
"He was a good player before he came here this year, so that was never in question," Asomugha said. "But like everything else, learning this new system, it wasn't going to be a quick turnaround for him, I think.
"And when you come back from injury, then the confidence has to play a part and you have to start getting that back and be sure of yourself. And we're starting to see that a lot more from him, that he's putting the injury behind him and he's playing better through it."
The Eagles (6-8) will win the NFC East with victories over the Cowboys and Redskins combined with a Giants loss to the Jets on Saturday and a Giants win over the Cowboys on Jan. 1.
A win over the Cowboys would give them their first three-game winning streak of the season.
Reid said that recent injuries to all three of the Eagles' Pro Bowl cornerbacks demonstrate why he believed it was important to take the unusual step of carrying all three this year.
"It's tough for those guys to get through the season, at least the history of it has been that way here," Reid said. "That position (and) your D-line, you can't have enough of those guys, and we're fortunate to have the guys we have at that spot."
Defensive tackle Trevor Laws was the only other Eagle who wasn't a full participant at practice. Laws, who has knee tendinitis, was limited.