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Media Roundup | Terry McLaurin excited to mentor Jahan Dotson

07282022 Thursday Training Camp KC216

Another training camp practice for the Washington Commanders is in the books, and head coach Ron Rivera, wide receiver Terry McLaurin and safety Bobby McCain all addressed the media. Here are some of the highlights from their press conferences.

Ron Rivera

On what he looks for in terms of relationship building with a veteran QB like Carson Wentz and a young rookie WR like Jahan Dotson:

  • "Well, it's almost a mentoring type relationship where he and Carson can come together and talk about little things, little details. Like Carson may tell him, 'Hey, one thing is if I see where your leverage is, I'll try to throw it away from that guy.' You know what I'm saying? So again, it's just a little bit of a communication and understanding, a feel and development and that mentoring type work. So that's what you kind of look for and hope that you get that."

On what he saw from the defense and specifically the secondary today:

  • "Well, the one thing we talked a little bit about at the end of OTAs and mini-camps is I really liked the communication with the secondary. And today was a day where it was a little bit ahead. I circled the guys up and I just wanted to make sure on the offensive side they were frustrated obviously, but they also gotta understand that we're not game planning. And so when you're not game planning, you're not anticipating, you're not expecting specific type coverages for certain situations. You may not have the success, you know what I'm saying? So that's kind of a tough part as far as that's concerned. So just trying to make sure they understood that. But as I said, the one thing I really liked was I thought the back seven had a real nice day. A lot of it had to do with the communications. We are working on some things and a little bit new. And I think that catches people by surprise as far as the offense is concerned. But like I said, I was really pleased what we got on the defensive side."

On his thoughts on the younger members of the secondary:

  • "Well, the guys that were given opportunities at the Buffalo and at the nickel position, I think those guys have really stepped up. It's good to watch. It really is because that's what you wanna see. I mean, [CB] Benjamin [St.-Juste] coming back and right now getting the first shot at the Buffalo seems to really be fitting and adapting to it nicely. [CB] Danny's [Johnson] a guy that's very consistent. We know who Danny is for us. Then we got a couple of young guys. I'm not gonna name them. The less people know about them the better, but they've done a nice job. They really have. But, those two guys in particular, you see some really good things from Benjamin and Danny at that Buffalo/nickel position."

On if his mindset changes at all when veterans like Wentz and WR Terry McLaurin are frustrated because ultimately you know they will figure it out:

  • "Yeah. Oh yeah, it is. But they want to perform. They really do. That I appreciate as well, but like I said, we're not game planning and that's the thing we all have to understand. Certain routes don't work very well against certain coverage concepts. So, when you're out there and vice versa, some coverages aren't built for certain routes either. So it works both ways. Today it just seemed to fall in the defense's favor."

On if he feels like the defense is maturing:

  • "Yeah, I think so. I really do. I think it's a very good sign. I think [S] Bobby McCain and [S] Kam Curl right now are showing us their connection, their ability to work together has been very solid. I think [S] Jeremy Reaves and [S] Darrick Forrest are two guys that are getting opportunities to be mixed in a little bit. And they've done a nice job as well. So that's been kind of cool to watch."

Terry McLaurin

On WR Curtis Samuel:

  • "Yeah, I'm just going to let him take it a day at a time, but that gave me flashbacks of college and seeing what he can do with just with the ball in his hands. His versatility after the catch. Most guys catch that ball on a five-yard pass and they may get two or three extra yards and the move that he made on a dime that gets you 10 to 12 extra yards with his ability. So, it's cool for other people to see that, get to feel that. He looks like he has a good spring in his step. And I know he just wants to take it a day at a time and continue to build on that and stay healthy. So far, he's doing a really good job."

On chemistry developing with QB Carson Wentz:

  • "Yeah, I think it is. It's been great so far, just personally getting to know him, sharing some things we have in common, learning about each other and the backgrounds and our careers up until this point. I think we got to get out there in California before this started out and we really got to start talking through things. And now we're out here in game-like situations, the bullets are flying. It's a little faster, but I really like his aggressiveness. When he's trying to give us chances down the field, I think that's something that all of us, as an offense know we want to improve on. Taking those shots down the field, but also connecting on them. And so the only way you get better at those is taking 'em in practice and connecting on them. I think whether it's me, Jahan [Dotson] made some good plays down the field, Kelvin [Harmon], that not only increases your confidence in those plays, but it gives [Offensive Coordinator] Coach [Scott] Turner the confidence to continue to call those. And that could really help open up our offense even more."

On WR Jahan Dotson:

  • "I didn't know that was him at first in college, but he caught a one-hander against Ohio State. You kind of see his ball skills out here. I got to see him again in California and he's just very natural when he catches the ball. He's quiet, but that's a lot of rookies. He has a very business-like approach. You could tell he treats this as his job and a professional, and he has fun when he makes a play. You try to encourage him to smile. You know what I mean? Cuz it's hard to make plays in this league. And when you make explosive plays like he did today, those change games, those change possessions, and it gets the offense juiced up when you see receivers going down, making plays like that. So I just wanna continue to encourage him to be himself, help, continue to hone in on his skills, take the coaching really well, which he already does. I think he has a chance to help us a lot."

On what allows Dotson to make acrobatic catches:

  • "I think when you're confident in your ability to catch the football, you know what I mean? I think you're comfortable in a lot of situations. A lot of guys, sometimes you have a tough time tracking the ball down the field. Sometimes you may not be as sure of your hands and contested catch situations, but when you're a sure handed guy like he is and has been up until this point, he has a lot of confidence when the ball does get into his vicinity. I think what he did great on that, on that pass that he caught down the field is a lot of receivers may fade away a little bit and let the ball get caught inside. And it gives the DB a chance to get his hand in there. But when you trust your hands like he does, he kept the defensive back in between him and the ball and he caught it on his outside shoulder. He used really the good late hands, which it's kind of tough to do. I'm still working on that skill a little bit as well. The more you improve and the more you go against these great defensive backs in the league, you have to use little subtle things like that to keep them away from getting their hands in on the ball. So that was really good to see from a young guy. And I know he's just gonna continue to improve."

On if he is interested in mentoring Dotson:

  • "Definitely. My rookie year I had the opportunity to learn from a lot of great veterans. I kind of had that at Ohio state as well. When AGG [Antonio Gandy-Golden] was here as a rookie I tried to take him under my wing and Johan as well. And even, [WR] Dyami [Brown] and those guys. I take pride in that because it's hard to make it in this league and we all know we're fighting for the same jobs. We all know we're competitive and, and want to make plays. But if I can do anything that I can to share my wisdom, to share what I've learned from this game, to try to be infectious with my personality, with my confidence, with my competitiveness, I think that that breeds a stronger room. It breeds a healthy room to where guys know they could trust you. And you're looking out for their best interests, knowing that we're still competing and everything like that. But if there is any way I could help these guys, I'm going to do that."

Bobby McCain

On the strong defensive practice:

  • "Just coming out, competing. We had a good day; we have to stack another on top and keep going on top and another and another and another. And the offense that came out and competed but today we were just on top of things, and we come out tomorrow and hopefully have a better one." 

On Head Coach Ron Rivera and Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio's message of humility:

  • "You know, just coming to work man. Coming to work, being humble and understanding that we haven't done much. Like last year we didn't do much. We didn't make it to the playoffs and that's the goal make to the playoffs and win championships. So, you know, if you can just work each and every day and take it a day at a time, take it one game at a time, at the end of the year, you'll look around and you'll be in the tournament."

On the biggest advantages in the secondary:

  • "The camaraderie is nice and having guys you know is nice, but it's going to take some time man. And it's going to take training camp to really understand each other. Like we know our roles, we know who we are, we know how to talk to each other, we know how communicate. And that's the biggest thing man, if we all wrong, we're all right. So as long as we can work up front, it works together. Front works at the back end, the back end, works up front. And you know, you couldn't ask for a better rush in this league. So, um, just bringing it together, putting it all together each game at a time is what we're going to have to do."

On what's unique about focusing on QB Carson Wentz in the backfield:

  • "He's a dude, man. He's a real dude. He's been in his league for a minute, seen a lot of ball. You can tell he's poised back there, a big guy, six-four, you got a strong arm. I'm excited to have him. We're excited to have him and we're looking for big things from him." 

On how facing a QB like Carson Wentz affects defensive backs in camp:

  • "It doesn't really affect us. It's just more about we're not, game planning each other right now. So understanding that everybody's got a job to do, like whether you're quarter flat player, whether you're a deep half, that's really what it is. More or less what you're doing than what they're doing. And understanding that you know he's got a big arm, so you got to know, like at any time he could throw the big post at any time he could throw the fade ball and understand that's what could beat you."

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