Asante Samuel Injury: Long-Term Absence Would Be Devastating to Falcons Defense
The Atlanta Falcons have struggled defensively this season, but an extended absence for Asante Samuel could end up hurting even more.
In the first half of the team's game against the Carolina Panthers, the veteran cornerback went down with an apparent head injury, according to Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Asante Samuel with "possible head injury" via Falcons— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzAJC) November 3, 2013
As ESPN's Vaughn McClure reported, his return is questionable:
Samuel's return is questionable— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) November 3, 2013
However, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution later reported that he was cleared to return:
Asante Samuel cleared to return to the game for the #Falcons— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@AJCFalcons) November 3, 2013
Still, injuries remain an issue for Samuel this season . He has already missed two games, both of which resulted in losses. While the team is not much better at 2-3 with the cornerback in the game, he still provides good coverage skills and veteran leadership that the team misses without him.
With Samuel out, the team has to trust Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford, two rookies taken in the first two rounds of the 2013 draft. Both men have shown potential this year—Alford had an impressive interception at the end of the first half in Week 9—but they still lack consistency.
Against this young secondary, an opposing team can continue to pass the ball while waiting for one of the two corners to make a mistake. In all likelihood, this will eventually happen.
Atlanta is fortunate that this latest issue is not a serious one, but the squad better hope that Samuel can remain on the field without more problems.
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