As ridiculous as it may sound, an argument can be made that we’re currently experiencing the best stretch of wide receiver Curtis Samuel’s tenure with the Commanders.
For the first time this summer, Samuel has been a participant in three straight practices. That includes Wednesday’s workout, which followed a lively, in-pads Tuesday session and Monday’s non-padded action.
This run — and yes, that term is being used seriously — began, henceforth, with Samuel suiting up in Saturday’s preseason opener against Carolina. He caught two passes in that affair and has since been a fixture on the fields in Ashburn.
On Tuesday, Ron Rivera called Samuel’s recent activity “a delight.”
“It’s been kind of cool to watch him come back and really be more and more confident about where he is,” Rivera told reporters.
Samuel’s 2022 training camp got off to an ignominious beginning, as issues with his “football conditioning” prevented him from practicing on a regular basis. That sparked a lot of conversation about “the plan” that Rivera and head trainer Al Bellamy came up with in order to push Samuel to a better place physically.
Yet while details about that program remain vague — Samuel didn’t want to elaborate on it in a recent interview with NBC Sports Washington beyond saying that it has him “feeling good” — his latest involvement suggest that it’s… hopefully working?
“It’s almost adaptable as he starts to get the callouses he needs,” Rivera said.
“I’m just happy to have Curtis back,” offensive coordinator Scott Turner added in a separate presser. “He’s done a great job of rehabbing and being ready and getting back to where he’s feeling like he’s back to 100%… He’s gonna be an explosive player for us that we can move around and do some different stuff with.”
Yes, it’s necessary to remember that there have been indications before that Samuel was heading in the right direction, only for him to then crash into a roadblock that halts all momentum. He must be a contributor come Week 1, and a number of contests after that, before all the scrutiny over his status fades.
Never before, though, Samuel has stacked a string of healthy practices for Washington like this. That definitely highlights how disappointing his stint with the franchise has been, but it also provides reason for optimism — even if it’s of the most cautious variety.