When Asante Samuel joined the ranks of the Atlanta Falcons, the response of fans—and foes—was not necessarily the best. The general consensus was he’s older; some even went so far as to say he was washed up. His self-promoting grandstanding of sorts via his Twitter account during the 2012 offseason only fanned the negative flames.
What the naysayers didn’t take into account was any of his football history, and Samuel’s 2012 season proved them all wrong. While it’s true that he is older—if 32 can really be considered ‘older’—he isn’t done by any means. He’s still got it, and part of the proof that he’s ‘still got it’ came when he reached 50 interceptions against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is one of just ten cornerbacks to attain that mark, and five interceptions garnered him a ranking of seventh in the NFL last year as well.
‘Washed up,’ indeed.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith said of Samuel last year, “He’s got great skills once the ball is in his hands. Not only does he know how to jump routes and play the coverages, but when he gets it in his hands, he can do a lot of things.” Samuel certainly proved Smith’s statements correct in 2012…but will that production continue in 2013?
In a word, yes. Look for Samuel to come into training camp ready to prove he’s capable of another solid, winning season. His influence will certainly be felt by rookies Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant, and under his tutelage they can only improve and be prepared to reach greater heights when the time comes. In a nutshell…the present is covered, and the future is assured.