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Terry McLaurin's favorite route forces defenders to be honest

Terry McLaurin has run countless routes during his five-year NFL career, and suffice it to say that the former third-round pick is pretty good at all of them. 

There's one that he loves more than the rest, though, and there's a specific reason why. 

"It forces the defender to be honest," McLaurin told Charissa Thompson. 

It's called a shake route, and it highlights several of McLaurin's best traits. It requires speed (McLaurin ran a 4.3 at the NFL combine back in 2019) and quickness to work properly, and when executed correctly, it forces defenders to account for multiple outcomes. When a player like McLaurin runs it, it's almost impossible to cover. 

"It's good against any type of coverage in my opinion," McLaurin said. 

The shake route starts out with a five-step vertical, followed by a three-step post and an out to the sideline. The change of direction isn't enough to fool a defender, though. Once McLaurin begins running the post portion of the route, his entire demeanor has to appear as if he's about to run for the middle of the field. 

If the defender is in man coverage, it will force them to try and jump the route, hoping to cause an incompletion of grab an interception. That forces McLaurin to make a decision before he begins running for the sideline, depending on the defender's leverage. For example, if the defender is within reach, McLaurin will try to throw him and get underneath his coverage. 

Then, all McLaurin needs to do is make the catch in open space. By now, we know how easy he makes that look. 

The shake route is one that McLaurin has relied on throughout his NFL career. Against the Houston Texans last season, he used it convert a second-and-14 with an 18-yard gain. Later in the season against the New York Giants, he used the route to get open against safety Dane Belton and set the Commanders up inside the 15-yard line. 

Every veteran receiver has an arsenal of routes and moves that they know are going to work more often than not, regardless of who is defending them. For Mclaurin, the shake route is his "go-to" to shake off defensive backs for easy yardage.  

So, if the Commanders are in need of a conversion while playing the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football, perhaps we'll see McLaurin run the route to keep the chains moving. 

You can check out McLaurin's full conversation with Thompson in the video above.

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