ASANTE SAMUEL didn't want to talk to Philadelphia reporters on a conference call this week, but he seems unlikely to be silent Sunday, when Samuel and the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons visit Lincoln Financial Field.

"He'll do more talking with the receivers," said Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. "I don't get involved in that."

Vick said of Samuel, who made three Pro Bowls and intercepted 23 passes as an Eagle from 2008-2011, "Asante's a great player. He's a savvy player and he knows how to play the game. I've seen him pick a lot of great quarterbacks off . . . He's very smart and instinctive and he's one of the guys that you really don't want to test all the time."

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the corner who replaced Samuel this year after Samuel was traded to Atlanta, was asked if he expected lots of yapping.

"No question, that's Asante. That's the great thing about him. You love his spirit. He knows these guys personally, just like they know him personally," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "He made good friends with Mike Vick and DeSean Jackson. I know he's ready to accept the challenge and I know they're ready for it. They know he's a good guy who can make picks, and I know they're ready to go after him."

DRC won't be lining up against Samuel, literally, but as the inheritor of Asante's spot, he wants to show something to a man he considered a mentor, even before they became teammates in 2011.

"He's helped me all my life, though I'd never tell him that," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "Everybody wanted to be like Deion [Sanders] growing up. But the older you got, you started looking at guys who were there now. I looked at Asante Samuel, because he's a playmaker, he was an off-corner. I was the same way, jumping stuff, taking stuff to the house. I had that loud voice about myself on the field. The way he yaps, I used to yap. I used to sometimes think I was him.

"I would never tell him that, because we were in the same locker room and we were competing, but now that he's gone I can say it - I looked up to him."

Rodgers-Cromartie said he picked Samuel's brain from time to time last year, though with DRC playing in the slot then, there weren't a lot of specific lessons he could apply.

"No matter what happens on that field, to relax and stay calm," Rodgers-Cromartie said, when asked the most valuable Samuel lesson. "He'd never hit that panic button. He'd go out there the same way every play . . . Regardless of what happens, man, just keep playing."

Further review

One thing Andy Reid picked up in his bye week review of the offense was that "the first half hasn't been near as productive as the second half," especially the first quarter, in which the Eagles have been outscored, 26-7. Overall, the Eagles are being outscored, 61-33, in the first half, and are outscoring opponents, 72-59, in the second half. Reid noted that quarterback Michael Vick is "the same guy in there" both halves. "We've got to make sure we're feeding him the right things," Reid said. "I know there are things we can do to help him."


Defensive end Brandon Graham told reporters Wednesday that former defensive coordinator Juan Castillo didn't vary his approach enough, and teams would adjust by the fourth quarter. Of course, most observers feel the Detroit meltdown that got Castillo fired had more to do with going away from what worked in the fourth quarter . . . defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said he was fined $21,000 by the league for throwing a punch and being ejected from the Detroit game. Cox said he has appealed. He said he was punched first and was responding, though no penalty was called on any of the Lions . . . safety Nate Allen, who left the Detroit game with a hamstring problem, was listed as a full practice participant Wednesday . . . Andy Reid spoke of seeing how things go with defensive tackle Mike Patterson, returning from a January procedure to untangle blood vessels in his brain, but Patterson, who practiced again Wednesday, said he certainly intends to play by the end of the 3-week roster window that began Monday.