“That's not my call,” Samuel said. “I'm here to work hard and help my team any way I can. I just do what I'm obligated to do.” Robert McClain and Christopher Owens both spent time in Samuel's left cornerback spot while he's been sidelined.
“They did a good job,” Samuel said. “Everybody did a good job. Rob and C.O. came in and made some plays. They helped us win some games.” Samuel has 31 tackles and 13 passes defensed, according to the coaches' film review. He also has two interceptions.
In addition to providing tips on Manning, Samuel, a 10-year veteran, has shared his career knowledge with the Falcons young cornerbacks.
“He's been a big mentor to everybody in the secondary,” said McClain, a third-year player. “He brings a different aspect to the game for us.” Perhaps not coincidentally, McClain is having a breakthrough season at nickel back.
“Personally, he's taught me so much, just from me watching him and asking him questions,” McClain said. “He talks about his keys and how he plays certain routes. I've learned this year just from being on the same team with Asante.” Even the safeties have picked up some pointers.
“He's definitely helped us out a lot because he's been in the league a long time,” safety Thomas DeCoud said. “He's played against most every team in the league. He's seen every offense and knows coordinators when they were at different places and what their philosophies are. So he's definitely added that veteran swagger and the knowledge of the game of football. He's made everybody better in that regard.” With Samuel's return, the defense should be near full strength. However, safety William Moore is battling a hamstring injury and likely will be replaced by Chris Hope in the starting lineup.
“We have some work to do as you could see from the last game,” said Samuel, referencing the Carolina loss. “We took a step back last week. We are trying to put it back together to where we can have some momentum leading into the next season (the playoffs).”
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