It’s been harped on time and time again since his arrival to the nation’s capital last year: Curtis Samuel, when healthy, has the capability to transform an entire offense.
Now that the Washington Commanders have entered Week 2 of annual OTAs, Samuel’s versatility has been on full display for the first extended time during his tenure in Burgundy & Gold. And, with that comes potentially unlimited new possibilities under a fresh-faced offense led by Carson Wentz.
“Curtis can play everywhere,” Commanders offensive coordinator Scott Turner said after Wednesday’s OTA session. “We did some of that stuff last year in the limited time he was on the field. I'm just happy for Curtis that he's healthy and he's back to his normal self running around.”
Cutting his teeth in the NFL as a dual-threat offensive weapon, Samuel was hampered by muscle injuries in 2021. He was limited to just five appearances in his first year in Washington, amassing six catches for 27 yards and zero touchdowns, tacking on four rushes for 11 yards.
Having to put a frustrating season behind him, Samuel himself has stated repeatedly his eagerness to hit the gridiron again and the ferocity with which he’ll do it. His confidence is high, too, as he told reporters last week that he doesn’t “really have nothing to prove to anybody.”
His coaches mirror his enthusiasm.
“Curtis is one of the smartest players I've been around,” Turner said. “He's got no real limitations as far as the different things you can do with him. I know he's excited to be out here and I'm excited to see him out here.”
Samuel played under Ron Rivera in Carolina for three seasons beginning with his rookie year in 2017. He accumulated over 1,200 receiving yards with 11 touchdowns and 278 rushing yards with 3 TDs over that time. He can be utilized in everything from deep routes to end-arounds to shallow chunk plays.
Washington Football Talk Podcast | Listen and Subscribe | Watch on YouTube
Having looked healthy thus far over the 2022 offseason, Samuel could reach that potential again when he hits the field with Carson Wentz, who is not shy to throw a deep ball. J.D. McKissic, who is similar to Samuel in his dual-threat ability, is pumped to see what the veteran WR can bring to an already intriguing unit.
“I mean the sky is the limit, right?,” McKissic told NBC Sports Washington’s JP Finlay on Wednesday. “You know, we’ve got a lot of guys that can really move around…We got Curtis back the speedster. Can’t wait to see what Curtis is going to do. I mean Carson Wentz, we know who he was once and like I said he’s always been a good player. So can’t wait to see him get a fresh start. Just go out here and have fun, fly around, make plays.”
Wentz, Samuel, McKissic, Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and several others highlight a stacked Commanders offense, at least on paper. Whether or not they mold together well enough to notch some wins remains to be seen, but with a healthy Samuel in the fray, the offense at least becomes a lot more versatile.