The Washington Commanders have ruled out wide receiver Curtis Samuel for Sunday’s Week 9 game against the New England Patriots.
Samuel (toe) has not participated in practice all week after injuring himself last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. Samuel has been one of the Commanders’ best weapons with 35 receptions on 43 targets for 332 yards, all of which are second on the team. He’s also scored three touchdowns, including one on the ground, with 15 of his receptions resulting in first downs.
Fortunately for the Commanders, there are a few options at their disposal who can replace Samuel. Veteran Jamison Crowder stepped up in Samuel’s absence against Eagles, catching all seven of his targets for 95 yards — his most since Oct. 11, 2020. He also grabbed a touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter that pulled the Commanders within a touchdown of tying the score.
“You always knew what he can do,” said assistant head coach/offensive coordinator **Eric Bieniemy.** “I’m not shocked nor surprised about the numbers that he put up, but he will continue being him, that’s just who he is. He’s the ultimate professional. He doesn’t take anything for granted. I love the energy and the excitement that he brings to the table, but he’ll be the first one to tell you, he’ll say, ‘Hey coach, I didn’t do enough. I got to do more.'”
Samuel being out could also mean more snaps for Dyami Brown, who has made a handful of explosive plays this season but only has six catches on 11 targets for 87 yards. Brown has not played in more than 25 offensive snaps all season, although that doesn’t mean that the team lacks confidence in the 2021 third-round pick.
“We love what Dyami brings to the table,” Bieniemy said. “He’s doing an exceptional job on special teams. On top of that, his role when he’s involved in the offense, he does a great job. Whether it’s we’re asking him to block, or he’s involved in the route concept. Dyami is a heck of a player. There’s a lot of games left to be played, and I’m sure he’ll start defining who he is.”
It could also mean more targets for starters like Jahan Dotson, who led the Commanders with 108 yards and a touchdown last week.
“This week he did a great job making some catches, made some big-time plays,” Bieniemy said. “I thought he played fast and explosive. My biggest thing with him is just making sure he’s consistent with his behavior and he’s consistent with everything that he’s putting on tape. And just like I reminded him, you put it on tape, now I need to make sure that you’re putting it on tape week in and week out.”
The Commanders will also be without backup offensive lineman Ricky Stromberg, who suffered a knee injury against the Eagles. Stromberg also did not participate at all this week, and his being unavailable likely means the Commanders will need to elevate one of their four offensive linemen on the practice squad.
The other two players on the Commanders’ injury report — Logan Thomas (heel) and Percy Butler (calf) — were listed as active and questionable, respectively.