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WFT Daily: 4 standouts from Washington's first half of the season

Terry McLaurin makes the leap for a catch during the Washington Football Team's game against the Green Bay Packers. (Karlee Sell/Washington Football Team)
Terry McLaurin makes the leap for a catch during the Washington Football Team's game against the Green Bay Packers. (Karlee Sell/Washington Football Team)

Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of the team.

The Washington Football Team has several talented players on its roster, but there's a handful who have stood out among the rest so far this season. Here are four who have delivered exceptional performances in the first eight weeks.

Terry McLaurin

It's unlikely that anyone needs to be reminded, but Terry McLaurin has been Washington's best offensive weapon once again this season.

The stats will show that McLaurin has been one of the better receivers this season. The third-year wideout is 14th in yards (573), fourth in targets (76), and tied for 15th in receptions (43). He's recorded at least 60 receiving yards in five of Washington's eight games.

But McLaurin's biggest skill this season has been his contested catch rate. He has 19 this season, which is the most in the NFL. Contested catches were one of McLaurin perceived weaknesses at Ohio State. Now, there's no one better. It makes McLaurin proud of the work he's put in to get to that point.

"My mindset is trying to attack [the ball] the best way I can, and hold it through the catch," McLaurin said.

Jonathan Allen

Jonathan Allen finished the 2020 season with just two sacks. Over the past eight games, he's tripled that number.

Allen, who signed a contract extension this offseason, currently leads the team and all interior defensive linemen with six sacks. He's two sacks away from tying a career-high, and he's on pace for 12 sacks, according to ESPN, which would more than surpass the eight he had in 2018.

Those stats are all well and good, but they only tell part of just how good Allen has performed this season. According to Pro Football Focus, Allen has the second-highest pass rushing grade among defensive tackles. The only player with a higher grade is Aaron Donald.

"Jon is having an excellent, excellent season," said defensive line coach Sam Mills III. "He's one of our captains and he's one of our leaders and Jon's presence in the run game first and foremost has been outstanding. And then his pass rush. I mean, Jon is relentless."

Ricky Seals-Jones

Ricky Seals-Jones was thrust into the spotlight this season. With Logan Thomas on Injured Reserve, the fifth-year tight end has been Washington's No. 1 option at the position.

Seals-Jones deserves an ovation for how he has performed and handled the situation. He's 143 yards and two touchdowns away from tying a career-high. He currently has the best catch rate of his career (65%), and he's played in every snap over the past three games -- a feat he didn't achieve once in his previous four seasons.

Seals-Jones' two touchdowns have been electrifying. The first -- a 19-yard, toe-tapping score against the New York Giants -- gave Washington a 27-26 lead in the fourth quarter, while the second -- a 39-yarder against the Kansas City Chiefs -- gave Washington a 13-10 lead.

"And then he's really come a long way with the blocking too," said offensive coordinator Scott Turner. "But just really just being our every down Y."

Cole Holcomb

When it comes to production, there aren't many linebackers better than Cole Holcomb.

Holcomb has taken on a much wider role in his third season. He's played every defensive snap in all but one game (as a reference, he only did that twice in his previous two seasons. The team has trusted Holcomb with more responsibilities, and he's rewarded his coaches with a reliable player who has at least nine tackles in five of eight games. He also has at least 10 tackles in three games.

Holcomb is seventh among all defenders with 73 tackles. What's even more impressive is Holcomb's ability to make solo tackles. He's currently fifth with 47, and the only players with more are Roquan Smith (48), De'Vondre Campbell (50), Denzel Perryman (51) and Bobby Wagner (52).

Holcomb's career-high is 105 tackles in 2019. He's on track eclipsing that number by 41 this season.

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