Over the past two seasons, Terry McLaurin has established himself as one of the NFL's best young wideouts.
Numbers alone, what McLaurin has done since entering the league is impressive. But what's even more baffling is how McLaurin has established himself as a No. 1 wideout despite playing alongside one of the volatile quarterback carousels in the NFL. McLaurin has played in 30 NFL regular-season games to date; he's already caught at least one pass from six different signal-callers.
"It's always an adjustment when you play with multiple quarterbacks," McLaurin told the media on Tuesday.
Washington's quarterback carousel continues to turn, as Taylor Heinicke will be Washington's starter in Week 2 after Ryan Fitzpatrick was placed on Injured Reserve with a subluxated hip. Veteran Kyle Allen will be the backup.
What McLaurin has going for him, though, is that he's already played with Heinicke and Allen before. The third-year wideout believes that established chemistry will help him produce Thursday night against New York and over the season.
"The nice thing about it is that I've played with both Taylor and Kyle now. They both have experience in big games and big situations," McLaurin said.
"I've had the opportunity to work out with them throughout the offseason," he continued. "So, it's not as big of a gap as last year when Taylor first got here, but you still have to make sure you're on the same page throughout the week because, obviously, each quarterback is different."
Last week's loss to the Chargers is a prime example of McLaurin already having chemistry with Heinicke. McLaurin didn't have one target before Fitzpatrick exited the game. Once Heinicke took over, McLaurin had four receptions for 62 yards, including an incredible grab down the left sideline that set up an eventual Logan Thomas touchdown.
However, McLaurin did say that "it can be challenging" playing with multiple quarterbacks every year. Chemistry and continuity between quarterback and receiver are key to having a successful passing game.
Yet, those who have followed McLaurin know he's the last person to make any excuses. That's true here, too, regardless of how many different passers he's played with since entering the NFL.
"It's human nature to get frustrated at times," McLaurin said. "But at the end of the day, the first thing that comes to my mind is just you have no excuses. I try to practice that way, I try to play that way and have no excuses and make sure whatever quarterback is back there, they can trust that No. 17 is going to get his job done and they can rely on him."
McLaurin also noted that chemistry works both ways. As the backup quarterback throughout the entire offseason, Heinicke didn't take many reps with McLaurin. It's up to both players to trust one another in order to be productive, even with the lack of on-field work together.
"In those situations where Taylor's coming in not having a lot of reps, he has to trust that I'm [going to] be where I need to be on that route that we connected on because of the repour that we've built," McLaurin said. "I think it's a unique situation that I'm in, but I've kind of got accustomed to it. That's how I've been able to adapt. You just go in and deal with it the best that you can."
For a player like McLaurin, who's been through constant change at QB since arriving in Washington, it would be easy to get frustrated about the lack of continuity at the sport's most important position.
But that's not McLaurin. The third-year pass-catcher is a lead-by-example type of player, which is one of the reasons he was named a team captain for the second year in a row.
Regardless of who's under center for Washington, McLaurin is going to do everything in his power to be the best version of himself come game day. For Heinicke and the rest of his teammates, that's all they can ask for.
"I don't have any feelings of somberness or feeling sorry for myself," McLaurin said. "Because at the end of the day, I trust whoever is back there is going to do the best they can to lead this team. It's my job to be that guy they can rely on. Obviously, you want to have that consistency, but at the end of the day my job is to go out there and make plays with whoever is back there."