As the Commanders get ready to play their first NFC East rivalry game Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, let’s take a look at this week’s featured player.
Every week starting now, we’ll have a brief discussion about a player that deserves a little shine. This week’s ‘Player Spotlight’ belongs to Curtis Samuel and his strong start to the Commanders season.
Curtis Samuel, WR, #10
Many Commanders and Curtis Samuel fans found themselves disappointed after the electric Swiss army knife was only able to play five games last season after signing with Washington via free agency. Even in those five games he did play, you could tell he was not at 100%.
Thankfully, it looks like Samuel is back on the right track health-wise and has been reminding the league who he was before the injury bug hit last year.
So far in 2022, Samuel has racked up 15 catches for 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his first two games. He has also added five carries for 38 yards, showing his dynamic ability. He is a player to keep an eye out for and is one of our “Stock Up” players going into Week 3.
A Samuel Thing?
The way Curtis Samuel has been used so far resembles how another dynamic wideout with the surname Samuel is used.
Many may already know about the versatility of Deebo Samuel (no relation) in San Francisco, as he totaled about 1400 receiving yards last season to go along with almost 400 yards rushing. Due to several injuries at running back for the Niners between this year and last, Samuel’s output allowed former Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shannahan to dig a little deeper to keep the offense afloat.
It’s also worth mentioning that this form of utilization is not new to Curtis, as he has been familiar with the “split-back”/”H-back receiver” position since his early high school football days.
His days at Ohio State and Carolina also showed amazing glimpses of his versatility in different formations.
Should We Expect ‘Deebo-like’ Production?
While the skillset is unquestionably there, Curtis finds himself in a Commanders artillery room stacked with weapons that will all get their touches. Deebo does not have to take touches away from the likes of Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Logan Thomas, Antonio Gibson, J.D. McKissic, and soon…Cole Turner and Brian Robinson Jr.
“He’s a character. You didn’t see that side of him [in 2021]… He feels he’s back and he’s excited about playing again. He can make plays; he can run and catch. We’ll move him around and get the ball in his hand.”– Scott Turner on Curtis Samuel, via John Keim.
As it currently stands, Curtis leads the team in targets and catches. He’s on pace for 170 touches on 170 targets to go along with 1453 total yards and 17 total touchdowns from scrimmage. I doubt this trajectory holds up as the game-plan changes along with the season, while also paving the way for those new and familiar weapons to produce for this offense.
So the short answer? No. However, that might not be a bad thing.
Some feel that the extra workload that Deebo has been receiving at running back is putting him in harm’s way by collecting more and more hits.
Last season, Deebo had a total of 136 touches in the regular season. For reference, Terry McLaurin hasn’t even seen 136 targets in a season despite being the main (and sometimes only) offensive focal point. 136 touches for Curtis does not sound beneficial to his health considering the injury woes last season.
Sharing the Wealth
We could perhaps start seeing Antonio Gibson take some snaps in Curtis’ role, as he is another dynamic weapon for the Commanders. Gibson also used to play another position, receiver, before recently becoming a running back for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Those two are not the only players to have played both dynamic positions, as J.D. McKissic is also a former receiver and is now one of the best receiving backs in the league. So one thing is for sure, Scott Turner does not need to rely on Curtis as this Commanders team is almost flooded with dynamic weapons.
While he may not put up the amazing All-Pro stat-line that his projections currently stand at, he is still in line for a career year. The main focus going forward for Curtis now is to remain healthy in order to continue being that dynamic weapon this offense needs.
As long as the trio of Terry, Jahan, and Curtis are healthy, very few teams in the league have to personnel to keep up with all three.