Most people who watched the Eagles would agree that Asante Samuel was the team’s best cover corner in 2011, despite the high-profile additions of Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. That’s good for Samuel, but bad for two players who were supposed to come in and drastically improve the Eagles’ secondary.
But here’s what’s worse: according to Pro Football Focus, Samuel was the best tackler among the corners, and it’s not because he has suddenly become the cornerback version of Ray Lewis.
Instead, according to the site, Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie out-Asanted Asante, whiffing at tackles at a rate to make them two of the four worst tackling corners in the NFL last season. Samuel was the 11th worst.
So, to sum up, the Eagles start trio accounted for three of the worst 11 tackling cornerbacks in the league a year ago, according to PFF.
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Asomugha ranked second worst among corners at tackling, missing once every 4.3 attempts, according to PFF. Only Washington’s Kevin Barnes was worse. DRC ranked fourth worst, missing once every 4.6 tries while Samuel missed once every 5.3 tackle attempts.
Asomugha’s tackling was the fifth worst in the four years the site has charted cornerback tackles, according to PFF. Samuel owns two of the only seasons that were more inept in terms of tackling.
Fans will certainly remember the image of the Giants Victor Cruz running away from Asomugha and Kurt Coleman week 3.
Now, “missed tackles” is obviously a subjective measure, so maybe you can quibble with the exact order, if you want. But the objective look at cornerbacks across the league confirms the general idea that the Eagles corners were bad at getting the other guys on the ground, (which we all saw), and provides a point of comparison, one that only makes their 2011 seasons look worse.
Interestingly, there were some other fairly big names among the “worst tackler” list, including Champ Bailey, Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Dunta Robinson. Among the best? Ex-Eagle Dimitri Patterson, who spent last season with the Browns.
(Credit to the folks at Bleeding Green Nation, who drew my attention to this when they posted on it Monday).