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Asante Samuel is the Best Route Reader in the Game

Fact: this moment made Julio saaaaaaaaaaaaad
Fact: this moment made Julio saaaaaaaaaaaaad

Yesterday we discussed Samuel's ability to defend the go route. Tonight we're taking up his ability to read routes.

Look, let's be honest, you don't intercept 45 balls in 9 years without a ridiculous ability to read routes. You just don't. It's not easy - it requires an above-average skill set, to say the least. Above all, it takes great closing speed. Samuel has that. His yards per pass was the best in the league in 2010; then it was 3rd best in the league in 2011. Of the top ten corner backs in yards per pass in 2011, he had the best yards after reception. Of all corner backs, he had the 2nd best yards after reception.

What am I getting at? He's never far from the receiver. Even when his positioning is off, he recovers. Even when he's fooled, he can usually get back in position. He can recognize a route quicker than any defensive back in the game, and even if he plays with a cushion more often than not, I'll take him over 95 percent of the corners in the game. Worst case scenario, Samuel doesn't do much at the line of scrimmage. I can live with that.

I'm not saying he's a shutdown corner. Because they don't really exist anyway. Like Santa and white chocolate whoppers, they're just mythical, enigmatic figments of your imagination.