Washington Football Team fans received a bit of good news as the team began its Wednesday preparations for its Week 10 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sam Cosmi, Washington's second-round pick and starting right tackle, was back at practice, and while the team is still taking his recovery day-by-day, he's feeling good.
"It just feels really good to be back out there with the guys," Cosmi told reporters after practice.
For the past three games, Cosmi has been out nursing an ankle injury that he suffered against the New Orleans Saints. Since then he has been "attacking" his recovery, doing whatever he could to make sure his ankle made a full recovery.
As important as being physically prepared was for the rookie, Cosmi viewed maintaining his mental sharpness as equally vital. He kept going to meetings each day and prepared as if he was going to play in every game.
"Nothing really changed when it came to that, the mental aspect of it," Cosmi said. "The mental aspect of it was still there. [I was] learning every day with the guys and with my coach."
The time off was also an opportunity for Cosmi to look at his own tape and evaluate where he was at in his development. He felt like he was on a good track before being injured, and the tape showed that his performance was consistently trending upwards.
Pro Football Focus also agrees with Cosmi. Despite missing extended time, PFF named him as one of the highest-graded rookies through Week 9, with the former Texas Longhorn coming in at No. 11 with a 77 overall grade. PFF's Mike Renner wrote that Cosmi was playing "lights out" before his injury.
And when it comes to all offensive tackles, Cosmi's 89 pass-blocking grade is fourth in the NFL. The only players with a higher grade are the New England Patriots' Michael Onwenwu, the Dallas Cowboys' Tyron Smith and the San Francisco 49ers' Trent Williams.
"I really like what we got from Sam until he got hurt," Rivera said, "but Sam really seemed to pick it up quickly."
Cosmi is trusting the trainers in terms of when he'll be good to go for gamedays, but it's clear that he's anxious to be back. There's also a chance that he'll be joined by right guard Brandon Scherff, who also returned to practice Wednesday. Cosmi called that possibility "awesome."
"That aspect of it would be great," Cosmi said. "It would be good for the team."
Should Cosmi return to the lineup, it would certainly be a welcome sight for Washington. The team had allowed just four sacks heading into the Saints game, which was the second-fewest total in the league. Since then they've dipped to 12th with 19 sacks allowed. If things continue on the right path, Cosmi will be back to doing what he does best.
"Don't let the guy get to the quarterback or the running back," Cosmi said. "That's my job."