Cornerback Asante Samuel was tied for first in the league last year with nine interceptions. Since 2006, no player in the NFL has more picks than Samuel's 29. He's made the Pro Bowl in each of his two seasons with the Eagles. Last year, he was also second-team All-Pro.
But Samuel wants to be even better in 2010.
"I'm just trying to be better than all of my years before. My one goal is to make sure that I'm better than I was before," Samuel said. "That's all I'm focused on. Whatever I did last year, I just want to be that much better."
In the preseason opener Friday night, Samuel made a third-down tackle to prevent a Jacksonville first down on the defense's first drive. He followed up with a breakup of a third-down pass attempt to Mike Sims-Walker on the second drive. It was a quick night for the first-team defense thanks in part to Samuel.
"It's coming along good. Obviously, we're young. We have a lot of talent. We have to put it all together," Samuel said. "We've got a lot of work to do. We're coming along pretty good."
Rookie Trevard Lindley tried to do his best Samuel impersonation Friday night as he stepped in front of a pass intended for Tiquan Underwood and picked off the ball, but couldn't control it before he went out of bounds. Samuel praised the young corner for his work thus far.
"The young guy's got some instincts. He's got a lot of work to do," Samuel said. "He realizes it's a lot faster than in college. He's going to keep on working."
A two-time Super Bowl champion, Samuel knows what a defense needs to be in order to be championship-caliber. With all of the attention given to the cornerback spot opposite of him, the Eagles will need Samuel to be just as he said, even better than last year, in order for the potential of the defense to turn into production. But with all of his success on the field in his career, one that he hopes eventually ends in the Hall of Fame, Samuel looks to his family for motivation.
"I play for my mother. I play for my kids. I'm a family guy," Samuel said. "When I'm out there, I feel like I can't let them down."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 5:45 p.m., August 15