Commanders

Pete's Post Office: Discussing Samuel, young safeties and Turner

Commanders

Every Tuesday, Pete Hailey will answer questions from Commanders fans about their favorite and always-interesting team. From inquiries about the depth chart to random ones about what it's like to cover Washington, he hopes to provide insight on whatever is on the mind of those who care so much about the organization.

In this edition, Pete touches on the latest with Curtis Samuel's status, the rotation at safety and Cole Turner's rookie outlook.

This isn't a question but I'll address it anyways, because it's probably the hottest topic around Ashburn right now (which has also been very hot, in case you care, but the sun is helping me get really tan — which you definitely don't care about). And unfortunately, I cannot tell you to calm down, because this situation isn't calm in the least.

Ron Rivera explained to reporters Monday that Samuel — who missed Monday's action completely and was limited on Friday and Saturday — needs to work on his "overall football conditioning." Despite Rivera's claim that the receiver's current problems have "nothing to do" with the groin injury from 2021, there should still concern about Samuel, seeing as he's incapable of stringing together multiple sessions in a row without then being pulled back.

 

So, at this point, it just feels foolish to project much out of Samuel in 2022. Perhaps that statement will prove to be unfair. Hopefully, the "plan" that Rivera says the training staff has laid out for No. 10 will go smoothly and allow him to be prepared for Week 1 and much more than that.

However, right now, Samuel should be considered a complete bonus for Washington's offense. The top two receivers are Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson. Samuel, meanwhile, is merely a hypothetical option.

Percy Butler picked off Taylor Heinicke on Monday, which I believe was his first interception of camp. The fourth-rounder has mostly been working with the second- and third-string defense, but he has certainly flashed. And remember, he's regarded as a serious special teams asset, and those skills won't reveal themselves until the preseason begins.

Behind Kam Curl and Bobby McCain, my safety pecking order in terms of camp performance goes like this: Darrick Forrest, Jeremy Reaves and then Butler. Forrest is comfortably in third, while Reaves and Butler are quite close for the fourth spot.

Forrest, a fifth-rounder from a season ago, has seemed comfortable playing multiple roles for Jack Del Rio. The reports on him coming out of college declared that he would be best-suited as an in-the-box player, but he's also held his own when he's been asked to backpedal and help out in deeper pass coverages.

"I'm developing my mind," Forrest told me on Monday after practice. "I'm starting to understand what to look for once I look at the formation... My eyes are getting better and it's helping my brain."

That confidence has been evident and has raised my expectations for Forrest a decent amount. Del Rio's unit found its groove in the latter portion of 2021 once it deployed three safeties more regularly, and if the coordinator wants to replicate that come September, Forrest is making a strong case to be that third guy.

Yep.

OK, thanks for reading this story everyone. See you next time

Seriously, though: Turner will be a factor as a first-year pro. In Washington's last two outings, he's secured red-zone touchdown grabs, displaying reliable hands but, more importantly, crafty route running.

Logan Thomas, when he returns from the I.R., should be a favorite of Carson Wentz, while John Bates turned heads (and opponents) as a blocker in his first NFL campaign. But Turner's height will be of tremendous use down near the goal line, and I'm not hesitant at all in predicting that he hauls in multiple six-pointers during the season.