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Samuel Knows He Needs To Improve...But What?

Samuel Speaks About Getting Better
By Lance Epstein

Towards the end of last season, two of the biggest knocks fans, coaches and NFL experts had on Asante Samuel was the fact that he shied away from making a tackle (which kept his teammates and the defense on the field longer than they should) and the fact he stopped listening to defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.

Instead of sitting around and being content with being a Pro Bowler, Samuel decided to rededicate himself to the game of football this offseason and improve on the weakness

"I am just trying to get better at every aspect of my game like always," Samuel said. "Whatever was my weak point last year to make it better this year."

Although Samuel does not exactly know what he has to improve on (should be his tackling), because he piled up nine interceptions. It sounds as if he is questioning some of the unkind words from the fans and media about his tackling.

"I don’t know. That is for you guys to figure out [media]," he said. "Maybe I dropped too many interceptions or something."

One of the aspects of his game that head coach Andy Reid might ask him to step up is his leadership. This past offseason the Eagles traded away Donovan McNabb and Sheldon Brown; two players that have been a mainstay in the Eagles locker room for years. However, he feels as though he does not need to do anything more and his game leads by example, but is willing to help out the younger guys.

"Whoever asks for help," Samuel said. "Whoever talks to me I am there for them and help them out the best way that I can. And it goes for everybody.

"I always feel like I don’t need to do more, but just go out there and do my job. Do it at a high-level and lead by example."

When asked if he was surprised with the changes he acknowledged that football is a business, so nothing really shocks him.

"It is football to me, so it is a business," said Samuel entering his third season with the team. "I understand the business and once you understand the business it is going to be smoother."

Despite knowing that he needs to get better, he loves being in camp with the Eagles and just competing with the talented wide receiving corps. He even likes getting in the ears of star wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson on the practice field in some good old fashion fun.

"Loving it man. Loving it. Having fun.," Samuel said. "It is all about having fun and for the love of the game and just competing. Everybody out here loves to compete. Nobody takes nothing to heart."

Ultimately, Samuel understands he has flaws in his game and the only way he would not need to improve his game is if he wins defensive player of the year. Of course, he believes "politics" have the final say in that, so he expects to be working hard for the next couple of seasons to 'wow' the voters.

"If I don’t win defensive player of the year, then I need to get better," Samuel said with a smile. "I don’t know, I think it is politics and voting. I just got to impress them."

This offseason has been a eventful one for the Pro Bowl corner. He has seen Reid call him out about fixing flaws in his game. Certainly he did not like being called out through the media and took a shot back at his head coach and the front office by saying they need to get better as well.

On top of that, he was in the center of numerous trade rumors about him heading to Oakland with McNabb for Nmandi Asomugha.

All that is in the past and now the Eagles must rely on him to take his game to a new level. With question marks at the right corner position and in the secondary in general, his ability to create turnovers are going to be vital to the Eagles' success in 2010.

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