Gary Clark has seen several wide receiver corps for the Washington Commanders since he, Art Monk and Ricky Sanders, one the most dynamic group of receivers in NFL history otherwise known as the Posse, helped the franchise win Super Bowl championships over the years.
Few, if any of them, have been able to match the trio's talent. That might be changing this year, though.
Prior to the Commanders' Week 7 game against the Green Bay Packers, the Posse and the team's current group of wide receivers went to dinner, where the group that combined for 1,851 receptions, 26,622 yards and 159 touchdowns passed on some valuable knowledge to the younger generation.
"This receiving corps...quite honestly looks most like the Posse, the Fun Bunch that I've seen in a few years," Clark told media members with Monk and Sanders standing with him at last Friday's practice.
The 2022 season is the first time McLaurin, Samuel and Dotson have been together. McLaurin has been a threat since he was drafted by Washington 2019; he is already 13th on Washington's all-time receiving list. Samuel and Dotson are more recent additions but have been key contributors so far this season. Samuel is tied with McLaurin for the most first downs on the team, and Dotson leads Washington in receiving touchdowns despite missing time with a hamstring injury.
Part of Clark's excitement for the group is because McLaurin, who he noted has had to carry much of the passing game throughout his career, is now paired with weapons that can take some of the pressure off him.
"I'm excited to have the offense built around them," Clark said. "They need to make the passing game fearless, so when people see those guys come out, they've been thinking about it the whole week."
Clark also likes how deep the Commanders are at the position, pointing to Dyami Brown specifically as an example of how the offense can get production from players outside of the top options. Brown had the best game of his young career against the Tennessee Titans with 105 yards and two touchdowns.
Clark said Brown looked so similar to Dotson during the game that he thought Dotson had changed his number from No. 1 to No. 2.
"It's nice to be that deep," Clark said. "Your fourth guy can be you No. 1 guy or your No. 2 guy."
The Washington Commanders have wrapped up their week of practice ahead of the Week 7 matchup against the Green Bay Packers with Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders visiting the facility. Check out the top photos from Friday afternoon. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders).
That praise is not lost on McLaurin, who said the dinner was a unique experience to hear from the players who "have built this place and have built our position."
"It was a nice time to break bread and share a good word and a good meal, but also learn from them and hear their experiences of what they went through to become the players that they did," McLaurin said.
Even though the Posse was imposing their will on defenses long before McLaurin was born, the wideout knows that the trio was a force "to be reckoned with." So, the fact that Clark believes he and his teammates were even in their stratosphere is "crazy to hear."
"They were dead serious," McLaurin said. "To hear that from how much respect they have for our group, how much admiration they have for us, I think that that kind of motivates us to continue to make them proud."
Samuel said he and his teammates spent most of the dinner asking the Posse questions about their experience and taking advice from the group. The biggest tip they received was to feed off each other's success.
"Just stay together, stay close as a group," Samuel said. "Just from talking with them, you see how close they are still to this day. As receivers, we're always hanging out, we're always around each other. I feel like that's why we play the way we play."
Advice was not the only thing McLaurin, Samuel and the rest of Commanders' receivers got at the dinner. Sanders brought both of his Super Bowl rings and allowed each player to admire the pieces of franchise history.
Being a champion is the ultimate motivation for McLaurin, as it is for his teammates. The hope is that eventually, McLaurin and the rest of the receivers will have a ring of their own.
"To hear the stories of what it took to be there, the type of hours, the type of work they had to put in to make sure that ring became a reality like that, it just brought things full circle for our group," McLaurin said.