Eagles' Samuel knew he'd get two interceptions vs. Redskins
Ed Miller told Asante Samuel that Samuel would have a big day against the Redskins. Two interceptions, Miller predicted. Miller is an equipment assistant for the Eagles. A slim fellow, quick to smile, he is unwavering in his support for the players.
Ed Miller told Asante Samuel that Samuel would have a big day against the Redskins. Two interceptions, Miller predicted.
Miller is an equipment assistant for the Eagles. A slim fellow, quick to smile, he is unwavering in his support for the players.
And uncanny in his prognostications, it seems.
Samuel, who for his part isn't particularly prescient, agreed with Miller.
He's just really, really good.
"We both kind of predicted together," said Samuel, who picked off Jason Campbell in Redskins' territory twice at the end of the second quarter yesterday.
Don't be too impressed. Miller said: "I say that, like, every week."
It's never a bad bet with Samuel.
Samuel's first interception, at the Redskins' 21, gave the reeling Eagles the ball and the momentum with 3 minutes, 4 seconds to play in the first half. The Eagles soon kicked a field goal to cut their deficit to 14-13.
Samuel's second pick ended the Redskins' next drive, with 19 seconds to play in the half, and gave the Eagles the ball at the 'Skins' 28. Another field goal made it 16-14 at intermission.
"It definitely helped win the game," said Samuel, whose Eagles won, 27-24.
The second interception was Samuel's seventh this season, the most by an Eagle since 1999.
All in a day's work, eh?
"First, I'm happy I got my picks, of course," Samuel said. "And we got a team victory. Anything I can do to help out - that's why they signed me. I'm just trying to do what they brought here for."
The Eagles signed Samuel to a 6-year, $57 million free-agent deal before last season.
Samuel then proceeded to drop a slew of interception chances in 2008 . . . a damning run, considering Samuel, a wiry speedster, isn't exactly in love with the practice of hard-hitting tackles.
Now, he's catching everything thrown near him. And he's playing hurt, too, his strained neck the result of a hard tackle try last week. The injury kept him out of practice all week.
"I'm still kind of banged up. I've just got to fight through it the best I can," Samuel said, bravely. "I didn't know what to expect until I got on the field. First contact felt pretty good. I still felt a little something. I can roll with it."
His first significant contact was another hard shot delivered to Devin Thomas at the end of the first quarter. Samuel bounced off, none the worse for wear.
Maybe the hit shook off some of the week's rust. His ball-hawking seemed to kick in after that.
And forgive him if he is unimpressed with only seven picks. He snagged 10 in 2006 for the Patriots. Shoot, including playoff games, he has returned eight picks for touchdowns in his 7-year career.
"He's got great anticipation," said defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. "He knows the game. Opponent aside, he's got wonderful anticipation and just had the knack for making big plays."
More could be in his future. He appears to be just warming up.
"I'm doing all right. I'm doing pretty good," Samuel said. "I just use my instincts. The coach lets me play and do my thing."
That has been a good strategy, especially later in the year. Of the 24 regular-season interceptions Samuel had entering 2009, seven came in the final month of the season.
"It's that time of year. December's the time, if you want to make a run at it in the playoffs, you've got to bring your A-game," Samuel said. "Even though it's not December."
From now on, Miller's predictions might get ridiculous.