Head coach Andy Reid can recall the days when the Eagles had Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor and Al Harris - three starting-caliber cornerbacks all on the same team.
That is why he can envision a scenario where the Eagles' two new cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie can work in harmony with four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel.
"Right now, we've got the three corners. That's the way I'm looking at it. I'm not moving forward on it. I'm sitting here with three guys. I know that's workable because we've done it before. That's where I'm at," Reid said on Saturday. "There are a lot of head football coaches in the league that would love to have this situation. I'm lucky enough to have it and I'm very thankful to Howie and Joe for giving us this opportunity."
The Eagles acquired Rodgers-Cromartie on Thursday in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals. The team also received a second-round pick next year in exchange for quarterback Kevin Kolb. Rodgers-Cromartie went to the Pro Bowl in 2009. The move to acquire Asomugha sent shockwaves throughout the NFL on Friday evening when the Eagles agreed to terms with the four-time All-Pro on a five-year deal. All day long, the Jets and Cowboys were reportedly the front runners for Asomugha's services as the Eagles kept their desire for the star corner quiet.
Reid said on Saturday that Asomugha will be the right cornerback, which is where he spent a majority of the time when he was with Oakland. Samuel has been the starting left cornerback since he was the big ticket free agent in 2008 and has made the Pro Bowl in all three years in midnight green.
However, Samuel has been excused from camp for personal reasons. General manager Howie Roseman said on Friday that Samuel's absence has nothing to do with the recent acquisitions. Asomugha will arrive today in Philadelphia, but can't practice until August 4. The Eagles still have Joselio Hanson and second-year man Trevard Lindley taking most of the reps at practice in the meantime. Rodgers-Cromartie said on Saturday after his first workout with the team that he will play anywhere the Eagles want him to play.
With Rodgers-Cromartie and Asomugha, the Eagles have bolstered the size of the cornerback position as both boast 6-2 frames. Reid said it was important for the team to increase the size at the position with the big wide receivers in the NFC East. Both of the new additions can also play press coverage which will be important in Juan Castillo's new scheme. Then, you mix in Samuel who has led the NFC in interceptions in back-to-back seasons and you have an outstanding stable of cornerbacks.
Reid acknowledged that wide receiver Jeremy Maclin has been excused from training camp to this point because of an illness. Reid would not provide more details, but has talked to him every day. Reid stressed that there is no rush for Maclin to get into camp.
"That's no pressure on him. I want what's best for him. That's all I care about," Reid said. "We all love the kid. He's nothing but toughness and grit. We just have to get this part taken care of. It's a personal thing. I can't go any further than that."
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