Ellis Hobbs wants to return strong.
Say, Ellis Hobbs: Remember him? The cornerback the Eagles plucked from New England, who played only half a season with the Eagles as their pass defense plummeted from third in the league to 17th overall? You know, THAT guy.
Well, Hobbs is back with the team this year, and he seems to have a chip on his shoulder. That’ll happen when you make 11 tackles and fail to get a pick in your first year with a team. Philly.com's Nate Mink reports:
"There's that dog in me that wants to prove a lot," Hobbs said. "Just listening to some of the comments, as much as you try to ignore it, I'm an alien in this country. You really haven't seen what I can do. Last year was not a season you can judge me off of."
Let’s hope that’s the case, because Hobbs was a bust last year, and the Eagles’ formerly sturdy pass defense stank accordingly. Hobbs was a relatively anonymous player for the Patriots, which suited him well because any time he made a big play, people would say, “Hey look! Hobbs made a play! I’ll be shucky darned!” He had the element of surprise going for him, which worked well because Hobbs can be a solid, workmanlike player in his best moments, particularly when complimenting more talented players.
But as a spotlight player, Hobbs is a bit shakier. Which made this portion of Hobbs’ comments all the more strange:
While Hobbs is generally not shy with opinions, he did not want to talk about Asante Samuel, who returned to practice Saturday after missing time with a hamstring injury.
"Next question," Hobbs said when asked about Samuel's return.
The next question focused more on re-teaming with Samuel, after the two played opposite each other on New England's perfect regular-season team in 2007. Hobbs again refused to address Samuel.
"I'm just looking forward to playing with everybody," he said.
I don’t ever remember Hobbs having any sort of beef with Samuel. I asked around the Bird’s Nest crew if there was known enmity between Hobbs and Samuel, and no one could recall any public bouts of acrimony between the two. I don’t know why Hobbs would get testy about a guy who has been his teammate with both New England and Philly. Maybe he resents Samuel always being a more well-regarded player.
Either way, Hobbs certainly appears motivated to make up for last season. Whether or not he has the talent to do so remains to be seen.