The Commanders' optimism over Curtis Samuel in 2022 is growing


From Carson Wentz to Jahan Dotson to, you know, that whole rebranding thing that happened a few months ago, there are a lot of new pieces in Washington that'll be major factors in 2022.

Yet there's someone who was brought in a year ahead of those above additions who's just as much of a mystery as they are, even though he got a head start in his tenure with the club.

After catching just six balls in 2021, Curtis Samuel will need to perform far better for the Commanders this time around if the team, and specifically the offense, wants to be feared around the league. 

Actually, just performing, period, would represent a positive step for the wideout.

Fortunately, it sounds like the groin issue that limited Samuel to a mere five games with Washington in his debut campaign has faded away. That's how offensive coordinator Scott Turner sees things, at least.

"Curtis has been really good in the offseason program so far," Turner said in an interview posted on the Commanders' YouTube page.

"He's excited. I think he's just got the weight of that injury off his back and it's just not nagging him. So [I'm] really excited to get him rolling."

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While Samuel and his fellow players will take the field for light football activities later on in May for OTAs and then in June for veteran minicamp, they have had the opportunity to get together for conditioning work at the organization's practice facility. Coaches are prohibited from attending those sessions, but they are allowed to view footage of them afterward.

Turner isn't the only one encouraged by Samuel's early results. 

"Looking really good, moving around really well," Ron Rivera told reporters ahead of the recent NFL Draft about Samuel's offseason progress. "We do get to watch the workout stuff that we do get to video and when you do see him moving around, you feel pretty confident about it."

Most importantly, Samuel himself is feeling really positive about where he's at physically.

"I haven’t been limited to anything," he explained to the Washington Post when discussing his training.

Though Samuel must demonstrate that he can get through the spring and summer at full strength and then contribute when games begin before there's any true belief in his health — meaning he's got a ways to go — at least he's beginning that journey with no problems. With how perplexing his groin injury was, that wasn't a given.

And should Samuel make it to Week 1 and beyond without any setbacks, he's projected to mix in with Dotson, Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas, Antonio Gibson and a host of others as appealing options for Wentz. 

Turner, obviously, is enticed by that collection.

"Guys are going to be fighting to get touches," he said. "That's what you want."