FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- In his team's 31-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 11, Falcons left cornerback Asante Samuel was one of the primary reasons the game was as close as it was.
However, this week the Falcons must prepare for quarterback Drew Brees and a Saints' passing attack that has flustered them many times in the recent past with the possibility -- at best -- that Samuel might not play all of the defensive plays.
At worst, in a shortened week -- the game is on Thursday at the Georgia Dome -- the Falcons might have to wonder about the status of Samuel, who has suffered from an injured shoulder in recent weeks.
The Falcons held a walkthrough on Monday, not a practice, and so head coach Mike Smith gave an injury report based on the hypothetical concept of which players would or would not have practiced. Samuel was listed as not participating.
Smith noted that Samuel's shoulder has improved, as he played only 16 snaps in Nov. 18's 23-19 win over Arizona and that last ...