Washington Football

Terry McLaurin embracing No. 1 wide receiver role in second year with Washington

Washington Football

NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay sat down for an exclusive interview with second-year Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin. To catch the full interview, listen to the latest edition of the Washington Talk Podcast.

Terry McLaurin's spectacular rookie season with Washington a year ago is well documented by now. 

As the 24-year-old enters his second year in the NFL, the expectations for him are extraordinarily high. McLaurin, the 12th wide receiver selected in the 2019 draft, won't have the ability to sneak up on teams in 2020; he'll be the first player Washington's opponents will hone in on when scouting the Burgundy and Gold.

In an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay, McLaurin said he's ready to embrace the challenges and responsibilities that come with being the team's top offensive threat.

"My job, I feel like, is to be a guy that can be that go-to guy, be the receiver when we need a play, we're going to Terry there's no doubt about it," McLaurin said to Finlay. "I want to be that guy. I expect to be that person."

McLaurin has a plan for himself to make sure he remains that No. 1 option, too. That plan starts with establishing trust with his quarterback, coaches, and teammates.

"It's just a matter of making sure I form that trust in the offensive staff, in the quarterbacks, and in all my teammates as well, is to be that guy each and every down," he said.

 

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Washington's offense was among the league's worst a year ago, but McLaurin churned out impressive performances week in and week out. As a rookie, No. 17 accounted for nearly a third of Washington's receiving yards and just under half of the team's receiving touchdowns.

Additionally, McLaurin became the first player in NFL history to have five or more catches and a touchdown in each of his first three NFL games.

Excluding McLaurin, Washington's wide receiver unit has a ton of question marks. Second-year wideout Steven Sims, who showed plenty of promise last December, is likely to start in the slot. But who will play on the outside opposite of McLaurin remains a mystery.

Many expected Washington to add a star on the outside in free agency to complement McLaurin, but the team missed out on the top pass-catcher on the market when Amari Cooper turned down more money from Washington to stay in Dallas.

Kelvin Harmon was going to have a chance to be Washington's No. 2 wide receiver, but he tore his ACL earlier this offseason. The team has added two veterans in Cody Latimer and Dontrelle Inman, but neither has shown much production throughout their career.

McLaurin knows there's a lot of uncertainty within his position group, but is confident in the bunch that Washington has.

"We have a lot of guys who may not have what they call a 'sexy name,' the name or the notoriety," McLaurin told Finlay. "But we got a lot of hungry guys looking to make a name for themselves and this team. I feel like when you have that, with a hungry coaching staff, that makes for a good relationship."

RELATED: MCLAURIN RANKED ABOVE AJ GREEN, ADAM THIELEN AS TOP WRs ENTERING 2020

Earlier this week, McLaurin expressed his excitement for playing in Scott Turner's up-tempo style of offense. The second-year receiver reiterated his thrill to play under Turner, citing the success of that previous top targets such as D.J. Moore and Josh Gordon have had playing in Turner's system.

"I'm just looking forward to being in a new offense as well. The offense is going to be very explosive," McLaurin said. "You've seen the track record with guys they've had in that offense. Especially those go-to guys, they've had some pretty big numbers and had a lot of success. Going into Year 2, I feel like I'm versatile enough to play inside and outside and looking forward to seeing that's a possibility for me."

 

As for his overall expectation for the wide receiver group, McLaurin admitted he's not sure what it should be. Yet, he said that he's confident in the group if they have the right mentality, one where they "do what's asked of us every single day and see where it takes us."

But for himself, McLaurin is ready to prove that his rookie season was no fluke and truly establish himself as one of the game's best pass-catchers.

"I feel very confident going into my second year," McLaurin said. "I feel like while I had success [as a rookie], there's a lot of things that I can improve on. I feel like the game will even slow down for me even more."

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