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Is WFT’s Rivera Worried About Samuel & Jackson Injuries?

Washington Football Team head coach focused on players available while awaiting talent to return

Despite making the playoffs in 2020 as NFC East Division champions, the Washington Football Team went through a long list of changes ahead of their 2021 campaign. 

As many new faces as there are, there are two big ones missing from the equation so far: wide receiver Curtis Samuel and cornerback William Jackson III.

It's hard to imagine the team can reach its fullest potential without the two biggest free-agent signings in pads, competing with the team. Still, head coach Ron Rivera refuses to be bothered by the two down-on-their-luck veterans who are experiencing injuries.

"The truth of the matter is, you're going to play with who's available," Rivera said to media on Tuesday when asked about being worried over the absences of Samuel and Jackson from team drills in training camp. "And so, if those guys were available, great, you are going to play with them. ... Am I going to fret about it? No, because the truth of the matter is you play with who's available and that's all you can do.''

We've seen flashes of what could be with Fitzpatrick and offensive weapons Terry McLaurin, Logan Thomas, Antonio Gibson, and even Jaret Patterson and Dyami Brown. It hasn't all been pretty of course, but you can see the unit getting in sync.

And on defense, there are really good moments where you can see the youthfulness and football intelligence all coming together beautifully. Especially with the reemergence of Landon Collins. 

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'Next man up' is a phrase that comes to mind when hearing Rivera talk about missing two of his best players. And as cliche as it might be, it rings true. 

If there's a silver lining to Samuel and Jackson's time missed, it's the opportunity for guys like Brown and rookie cornerback Benjamin St-Juste. And trickle-down economics means those guys playing larger roles will inevitably open the door for another guy further down the list to get more snaps as well. 

And isn't that what the preseason is all about?

Whether or not Samuel and Jackson get on the field before the end of the preseason isn't going to impact their status on the active roster. They'll be a part of this team.

So it's good to hear Rivera so matter-of-factly keep his focus on the guys he can coach on the field while awaiting the return of even more talent to his roster. 

And a few months down the line, we may all look back at these days as golden opportunities which helped catapult the Washington Football Team to where their season ended.

READ MORE: Should the WFT have signed Mitchell Trubisky?