While they were unable to land one of the marquee rookie quarterbacks during the 2021 NFL Draft, the Washington Football Team had an eventful offseason this past spring. They signed free agents Ryan Fitzpatrick and Curtis Samuel, drastically improving their offense on paper.
Washington already had a stout defense (so it seemed); improving the offense to a league-average level was seemingly the only thing they needed to do to ensure they’d be back in the postseason in 2021.
However, as tends to happen in the NFL, the injury bug struck at the worst possible time. Fitzpatrick suffered a season-ending hip injury just a few snaps into his Football Team career, and Samuel has been in and out of the lineup all year long with nagging ailments.
The Football Team has been operating without its two biggest FA additions
Signing Fitzpatrick was supposed to offer a sense of stability at the quarterback position for Ron Rivera and the WFT. After an entire season of messing around with Alex Smith, Kyle Allen, and Taylor Heinicke, the organization seemed prepared to pivot toward a more established arm. Fitzpatrick is nothing special. However, he has the track record of someone who can win you games with his big arm.
Obviously, the Fitzpatrick dream lasted just a few snaps, paving the way for Heinicke to return to the starting lineup. He’s been decent the past few weeks, for what it’s worth.
However, it’s the lack of production from Curtis Samuel that’s really damaged the Football Team’s offensive production. He and Terry McLaurin were supposed to create an elite one-two punch in the receiving game. Instead, he’s spent most of the season watching from the sidelines.
Moving forward, Samuel hopes this won’t be the case anymore.
Curtis Samuel just delivered an encouraging injury update
Samuel played during Week 12 against the Seattle Seahawks, but it was clear he still wasn’t at 100%. He only recorded one catch for a measly nine yards. However, when asked about the lingering effects of his groin injury, Samuel oozed a sense of confidence we haven’t seen from him this year.
“I feel good,” Samuel said via Sam Fortier of the Washington Post. “I’m able to run fast…able to cut. I’m able to play without thinking about my injury. That’s the main thing is I’m able to go out there confidently.”
Samuel racked up 1,051 scrimmage yards last season with the Carolina Panthers. A healthy and rejuvenated Samuel is fantastic news for a Washington offense in desperate need of more firepower.
Could a healthy Curtis Samuel lead the Football Team to the playoffs?
Due to the NFL’s new expanded postseason format, the Football Team are surprisingly in a good position seeding-wise. They’re the No. 7 seed in the NFC, riding hot off a three-game win streak.
If Samuel is, in fact, back to 100%, it’s pretty hard to ignore the likelihood of Washington cracking the playoffs for the second year in a row. The defense is finding their groove again, and Heinicke is playing just well enough to keep the team in games.
Add Samuel to the mix for the final stretch, and Washington should be feeling pretty good about their chances. It’s worth pointing out they play the Philadelphia Eagles twice and the New York Giants once moving forward — three very winnable games.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.