Samuel must show a willingness for contact.

Andy Reid Says Asante Samuel Must Improve in 2010

As most any Philadelphia Eagles fan knows, Asante Samuel had a bit of an up-and-down 2009 season.

He had nine interceptions, which was good enough for a Pro Bowl berth, but his lack of tackling ability killed the Eagles in back-to-back weeks to finish out the season.

The Cowboys kept running wide receiver screens to his side because they know that Samuel, unlike Sheldon Brown, would not attack the play and would allow himself to get pushed out of the way.

The play, although illegal most of the time because the Cowboys blockers would engage while the ball was still in the air, worked like a charm and was worth 10-15 yards every time.

So, with that in mind, Reid came about as close as he’ll ever come to calling a player out.

“I think Asante (Samuel) knows he needs to have a better year than what he had, even though he was a Pro Bowler,” Reid told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

For the stoic Reid, that’s about as close as he’ll get to saying “Play better and do the little things, like tackle, or we won’t continue paying your outlandish salary.”

Samuel is apparently hitting the weights hard during the offseason in an effort to bulk up for 2010. If he can at least do that, perhaps he would be more willing to tackle a ball-carrier every once in a while. He’ll come up with a big hit every once in a while, as Roddy White (I think), will tell you, but he’s got to consistently be better in run-support.

“As good a player as he is, he can be even better,” Reid said. “And I think that’s the way he’s handling the offseason.”

Consider yourself on notice, Asante.

Tags: Andy Reid Asante Samuel

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