Asante Samuel Thinks 2012 Experience was a “Building Block” for the Falcons, Hopes Tony Gonzalez Comes BackFebruary 13, 2013 – 7:45 am by Brad Gagnon
Asante Samuel nearly made it back to a Super Bowl for the first time since his Patriots days in his first year with the Atlanta Falcons. And now, after falling just short, Samuel believes that the pain from the NFC Championship loss to San Francisco. as well as the increased familiarity the players and coaches will have with one another, will help the Falcons push harder for a title in 2013.
Asante Samuel joined Archer and Bell on 790 The Zone in Atlanta to discuss the team needing to grow together more this offseason, the impact an injured shoulder had on his 2012 season, Tony Gonzalez’s probable retirement and falling just short of the Super Bowl in 2012.
On the key to the offseason being the team jelling together more:
“We definitely need to get better on offense, defense, special teams, all around. But I think more than anything, the time that we’re gonna have together is going to be more essential than anything. It was my first year here, we had a new defensive coordinator. … Just all of us being able to click together and have camaraderie is going to be a lot better next year.”
On how much his injured shoulder affected his play down the stretch:
“It’s just with a muscle to the shoulder and your shoulder being hurt, you can’t be as strong as you want and do some of the things you want. So you just compensate. But you’ve gotta go out there and make sure you’re helping your team more than hurting your team. So I went out there and did my thing.”
On the small chance that Tony Gonzalez could return for another season:
“That would be awesome, man. That guy just keeps doing it year-in and year-out. It seems like he’s inevitably ready to go, so him coming back would just help solidify a key, essential part to the team that, if he did leave, we would have to replace and try to close that void. So he could really help us out.”
On falling just short last season:
“I look at it as a building block. This team, with a new staff and front office and everything, this is the first time they had a playoff victory … so I think guys kind of smelled the Super Bowl. … It was that close, so I think everybody’s going to come back with a chip on his shoulder.”