Asante out vs. Dallas, DRC gets to start


Asante Samuels hamstring injury will keep him out of the Eagles potentially huge game against the Cowboys Saturday in Dallas.

The Eagles list Samuel as out on their Friday injury report, required by the NFL even though they dont practice today. He is not accompanying the team to Dallas.

Samuel originally got hurt in the Eagles win over the Jets on Sunday at the Linc, and the injury wasnt believed to be serious. Head coach Andy Reid said on Monday he expected Samuel to be fine for Saturday.

But Samuel suffered a setback on Tuesday when he aggravated the injury jogging at practice. He didnt practice either Wednesday or Thursday.

With Samuel out, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will make his second start as an Eagle. DRC, a Pro Bowl corner with the Cards in 2009, started against the Bills when the Eagles opened the game with three cornerbacks. Rodgers-Cromartie took all the first-team reps opposite Nnamdi Asomugha at practice the past two days.

Joselio Hanson returns to his comfortable slot role, and either Brandon Hughes or Curtis Marsh will be the fourth corner.

Samuel, who has three interceptions this year and 52 in his career, missed five games last year and has played 16 games only once in his nine-year career.

I feel like its good that we have this many ... talented corners on the team so we can fit people in when somebody goes down, if need be, Asomugha said after practice Thursday. I dont think every team has that.

Rodgers-Cromartie struggled much of the season, first playing the slota position hes never played beforeand then with a high ankle sprain that cost him three games.

He said recently he prefers playing outside than inside but was resigned to being a slot guy for at least the remainder of this year.

Id love to be outside, thats where Ive always played, thats what Im used to, thats my natural position, he said. But I have nothing to do with it. All I can do is keep playing. Thats all I can do.

On Saturday, hell finally get his chance.

Rodgers-Cromartie had 16 interceptions in three years with the Cards, third-most by any active player in his first three seasons. Only Hall of Famers Ronnie Lott and Ken Houston returned more INTs for touchdowns in their first three seasons than DRC, who had one in 2008, one in 2009 and two last year.

He was a good player before he came here this year, so that was never in question, Asomugha said. But like everything else learning this new system, it wasnt going to be a quick turnaround for him, I think. And then, the injuryI dont know how many games he missed, but we brought him back slowly.

And when you come back from injury, then the confidence has to play a part and you have to start getting that back and be sure of yourself. And were starting to see that a lot more from him, that hes putting the injury behind him and hes playing better through it.

The Eagles, 6-8, need wins over the Cowboys and Redskins combined with a Jets win over the Giants Saturday and a Giants win over the Cowboys on Jan. 1 to finish 8-8 and win a three-way tiebreaker with the Giants and Cowboys for the NFC East championship.

The Jets-Giants game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, so by the time the Eagles face the Cowboys at 4:15 p.m., they could already have been eliminated from playoff contention.

E-mail Reuben Frank at

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