Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin touched on a variety of topics during his Zoom conference with the local media Thursday. Here's what we learned:
1. McLaurin believes Dwayne Haskins Jr. is ready to become a franchise quarterback.
McLaurin has been working with Dwayne Haskins Jr. for the past month or so in Virginia, and he likes what he has seen from the second-year signal caller.
"Dwayne's looked great," McLaurin said. "He looks really cut up, he's slimmed down. He's having fun again I feel like. A lot was thrown at him his first year, and I'm not making any excuses for him at all, but I feel like his focus is great right now physically, mentally."
Haskins understands success will come because of hard work and dedication, McLaurin said, and he has been taking the necessary steps this offseason, even though that has meant training with a variety of receivers without any opposition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Haskins cannot wait to return to Redskins Park, McLaurin added, and showcase his refined skillset to teammates, coaches and, eventually, the rest of the NFL. All in all, McLaurin is pleased with how far his former college teammate has come.
"He's ready to prove himself right," McLaurin said, "and just ready to be the leader and the quarterback that this franchise needs and deserves."
2. After a historic 2019, McLaurin is aiming to prove himself to the new coaching staff.
Following one of the best seasons by a rookie wide receiver in franchise history, McLaurin took January off to mentally and physically recover. But he was back training the Wednesday after the Super Bowl, ready to prove himself to the mostly new Redskins' coaching staff.
"I just try to take it in stride, be humble, not be complacent with what I've done because there are so many things I feel like I can still do to get better and help our team," McLaurin said. "I'm coming in with a day one mentality trying to learn as much as I can and just being a guy who can take that next step and somebody that can continue to be depended on this upcoming season."
When asked what he wanted to improve on, McLaurin did not hold back: attack the ball, win 1-on-1 matchups, make contested catches and sharpen his route running. He's practiced these skills with on-field training and by studying his own film, hoping to take his game to "newer heights" in 2020.
"I just try to continue to focus on what I can control and not get complacent," McLaurin said. "While I'm happy with what I did last year, it's done and over with and I'm excited to get started for 2020."
3. McLaurin highlights his fellow young receivers.
McLaurin will enter 2020 as the team's No. 1 receiver, but a pair of fellow second-year wideouts -- Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims Jr. -- should be integral pieces of the offense as well. McLaurin trained alongside both of them recently, which makes him excited for what's to come.
Harmon has always had reliable hands, McLaurin said, but he's also been explosive and clean in his routes. McLaurin has also noticed the bond between Harmon and Haskins, who have been throwing together since February.
"When we're connecting on deep balls, usually everyone expects me, being the fast guy, to hit on them all and things like that," McLaurin said. "But Kelvin's timing has been great. Him and Dwayne are really building that chemistry."
As for Sims, who is known for his speed and quickness, McLaurin could not help but notice his exemplary footwork and route running during workouts. That combination will certainly pay dividends as Sims attempts to build on a surprisingly productive rookie campaign.
"I feel like he's probably made one of the biggest jumps to me personally because of how clean his feet are," McLaurin said of Sims. "I'm really excited to see him flourish in the offense that really can showcase his versatility inside or out."
4. McLaurin expects the Redskins to push the ball down the field under offensive coordinator Scott Turner.
McLaurin has had two private conversations with new offensive coordinator Scott Turner -- first after he got hired and second about a month ago to see how everything was going.
In talking to Turner and learning the offense during the virtual offseason program, McLaurin expects the Redskins to attack defenses vertically, which bodes well for Haskins and his young wideouts.
"I feel like the biggest thing that stands out about this offense and what Coach Turner wants to do is they just want to push the ball down the field and have some explosive plays, spread teams out," McLaurin said. "Obviously, we have some great backs at our disposal, so I know they'll be incorporated in, but a lot of our concepts and a lot of this offense is downfield throws, and that's what I feel like can really help with a quarterback that throws the ball like [QB] Dwayne [Haskins Jr.] and the receivers that we have."
5. "Racism exists, and we can't hide from that."
While McLaurin is an NFL wide receiver, he knows that first and foremost he is a black man. And when his career is over, he hopes to raise his family in a world built on inclusivity and equality.
In his mind, that remains a work in progress.
"I feel like until the people who aren't affected are as passionate and care about those who are, then there can't be change," McLaurin said. "Racism still exists, and we can't hide from that."
McLaurin does believe there are ways to move forward, though; people who have experienced racial inequality must communicate and educate, while those who have not must be empathetic, understanding and willing to be a part of the solution. These conversations, as long as they're continuous and not a result of national tragedy, can lead to be a better society, McLaurin said.
"I don't want to be somebody who's sitting down here just talking like I have all the answers because I don't, but I do know what it's like to be a Black man and the importance that it has to me and where I come from," McLaurin said. "I just want to live in a place where everybody can be comfortable being who they are and don't have to look over their shoulder about any type of injustice. That's kind of how I feel, and going forward I want to be a part of any solution that I can."