The Washington Commanders' receiver corps could be at full strength on Sunday when they take on the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field. Curtis Samuel, who missed last week's 20-17 victory over the New England Patriots, is questionable for Sunday's game.
Samuel, who first injured his toe during the Commanders' game with the Philadelphia Eagles, is second on the team in receptions, despite being fourth in targets, and has amassed 332 yards and two touchdowns. Fifteen of his catches have resulted in first downs, which is the third most on the team.
The Commanders employed multiple tactics to try and replace Samuel's production in the lineup. That duty has been split between Dyami Brown, Byron Pringle and Jamison Crowder. All have had their moments -- Pringle had a 26-yard catch-and-run on a third-and-7 when Howell threw across his body -- but Crowder has had the most consistent success. Over the last two games, Crowder has had 11 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets.
But Samuel and his skill set are difficult to replace because of how unique he can be with the ball in his hands.
"He's so fast and he can get in and out of breaks so easily," Sam Howell said of Samuel on Oct. 18. "He puts a lot of pressure on the defense when he is running routes. I think he can do so many different things, whether it's stretching the field vertically or quick shake routes or quick option routes."
Check out the top photos of the Washington Commanders preparing for their Week 10 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.
Having a player like Samuel should provide a boost for the Commanders as they try to get past the Seahawks' defense. While their stats aren't eye-popping in any category, they do have talented defensive backs like first-round pick Devon Witherspoon, cornerback Tre Brown and veteran safety Jamal Adams.
Witherspoon was regarded as the best cornerback in the 2023 draft class, and the former Illini has lived up to that reputation with 39 tackles to go with two sacks, a team-leading nine pass breakups and an interception returned for a touchdown.
And Adams might not be the player he was when the Seahawks first traded for him, but Washington fans might remember what happened the last time they saw the former LSU Tiger on the field when he was playing for the Jets in 2019. In that 34-17 victory over Washington at FedExField, Adams had four tackles, four quarterback hits and three sacks.
To assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, it's "a typical Seattle defense," which means that the unit is fast and does a good job of creating penetration.
"We got to go out and execute our offense better than they execute their defense," Bieniemy said. "They're not a defense that's going to cause any confusion because they going to play straight up and try and beat you with their best. Our job is to make sure that we can go out and do what we do best."
After taking down the New England Patriots in Week 9, the Washington Commanders have begun preparing for their cross country matchup with the Seattle Seahawks.
The Commanders' injury report is a light one this week. Jonathan Allen, Kendall Fuller and Jahan Dotson all missed practice on Wednesday for a mixture of rest and personal reasons, but they were back on the field for the rest of the week.
The only other name on the list is rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes Jr., who has dealt with an Achilles issue. There was never a doubt that Forbes would be active, though, as he was a full participant all week.
Forbes had a better day against the Patriots in Week 9, allowing just two catches and 12 yards on seven targets. This week will feature a tougher test for the rookie with DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Jaxon Smith-Njigba providing a sizable step up in talent.
"He's a good young player," said defensive coordinator **Jack Del Rio.** "We believe in him. He's just gotta grind and work. That's what he has done and that allowed him to get himself back in the game and then he played well."