When Asante Samuel is on the football field, for a practice or a game, he doesn't stop talking. The Eagles' brash, big-play cornerback seems to thrive off of expressing emotion and you can't argue with the results. Samuel's seven interceptions this season are second in the NFL among cornerbacks.
But Samuel's boisterous nature takes a backseat when it comes to talking with the media. On the self-invoked 10 percent of the time that he talks in the locker room, Samuel is more reserved and contemplative.
One of many players at this time of year who is playing through nicks and bruises, Samuel said that managing one's body correctly is one of the true signs of a battle-tested player.
"I'm feeling good," he said. "I'm feeling alright, probably the same as everybody else. It's week 15 so nobody's feeling good. This is when the veteranship comes in and you have to know what to do to take care of yourself and just know the things it takes to maintain and keep playing at a high level."
Playing at that high level this Sunday will involve curtailing the production of 49ers' rookie wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who didn't join the team until week seven, but has managed notch 37 catches in a starting role.
"I'm pretty impressed," Samuel said of Crabtree. "He's doing a heck of a job. (Coming in so late,) he's doing a good job. He's a playmaker."
The 49ers are 18th in points scored, but the offense has been more effective since Alex Smith took over at quarterback mid-season.
"I see him developing," Samuel said of the former No. 1 overall draft pick. "He seems like he's starting to feel comfortable as a quarterback for their team.
"Crabtree, (tight end Vernon) Davis, (running back Frank) Gore, they have a lot of good offensive weapons over there so we have to definitely come with our 'A' game and come prepared."
But Samuel said that his defensive comrades, at the behest of defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, take pride in forcing the issue onto the opponent.
"I don't ever expect to see what I see on tape most of the time because I feel like we play differently than a lot of people and (the opponent) has to adjust to our gameplan," Samuel said.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 7:01 a.m., December 19