RICHMOND, Va. — Football is played as an 11-on-11 sport, but so often, man-on-man battles decide the success on a given snap. That was the case on one of the more riveting reps of Washington's first camp practice on Wednesday, which pitted Terry McLaurin against William Jackson III — a showdown that went McLaurin's way.
For much of the opening session here, the Burgundy and Gold's defense controlled the action. The defensive line and pass rushers were hastily knocking balls away with ease, and the coverage downfield was quite snug, too.
But near the end of the action, Ryan Fitzpatrick chose to challenge the gangly Jackson in an attempt to connect with McLaurin, and thanks to No. 17's precise route-running and a nicely-located pass from the QB, the mission was accomplished.
McLaurin was working versus Jackson on the right sideline, and initially sprinted in a straight line as if he was aiming to break open on a fly pattern. Suddenly, though, McLaurin chopped his feet and seamlessly turned toward the boundary — but to his credit, Jackson III pretty much stuck with him.
Even so, Fitzpatrick made up his mind, targeted the third-year pro with a ball high and away from the defensive back, a shot that McLaurin secured it for a sizable first down. The sequence drew one of the louder cheers of the practice, and it also hinted at how fun it'll be to watch McLaurin and Jackson III trade blows for the next month or so.
And, fortunately, the organization's social media folks captured it, meaning you can check out the grab yourself:
Afterward, while at the podium for a press conference, McLaurin spoke about how much the 38-year-old QB is already impacting the entire huddle.
"As a receiver, you just want a chance and a guy who's smart, who has confidence in his guys," McLaurin said. "I think that just kind of just matriculates down throughout the offense. You got to find a lot of confidence with everybody from the linemen to the skill players through the quarterback. That's when you're playing fun football, when everybody's confident and your quarterback is the leader and he empowers everyone." Download and follow the Washington Football Talk podcast
McLaurin's fellow threat, Logan Thomas, was just as effusive when discussing Fitzpatrick during his own stint with the media.
"The dude’s knowledge of the game is what really shows as you start piling some more stuff on," Thomas said. "Fitz is awesome. I hope all of you get a chance to be really tight with him and talk to him a lot. His energy just glows. I am really excited to see what we can do with him this year."
McLaurin acknowledged that he and Fitzpatrick still have much more room to grow together until they're regular-season ready, but the dart in front of Jackson provided a glimpse of what the pair can produce for Washington.
"As a guy like myself, I just want to be a guy that he can trust in," McLaurin said.
Well, Wednesday's completion would leave one to believe that Fitzpatrick already possesses plenty of trust in his top wideout, as he should.