Despite dealing with several quarterback changes over the past few years, Terry McLaurin has already established himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.
Since entering the league in 2019, McLaurin has played with six different starting quarterbacks. While most players would need to make serious adjustments, the Ohio State product just continues to put up big numbers on a weekly basis.
McLaurin’s ability to adjust to a different quarterback was put on display just a few weeks ago, as Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick went down in Week 1 with a serious hip injury. As a result, the team needed Taylor Heinicke to take over as its starter.
During Heinicke’s first start this season, McLaurin carried Washington’s passing attack with 11 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. It was an exceptional performance on Thursday Night Football against an elite cornerback in James Bradberry.
Even though Washington as a whole hasn’t played that well this season, McLaurin is confident the reigning NFC East champions will bounce back.
We caught up with Terry McLaurin to discuss his NFL career thus far, Washington’s start to the 2021 season, representing Team Milk and much more.
This interview is presented by GonnaNeedMilk.com.
— Milk (@GonnaNeedMilk) September 3, 2021
The Spun: Can you tell me about this partnership and what it means to you to be a part of Team Milk?
Terry McLaurin: I think when Team Milk reached out to my representatives, they provided me an opportunity to partner with them in a way that’s unique, and I think people will get to see that as more content comes out. I think when we first partnered together, they wanted to know how my milk journey was, how I got into drinking milk and how it’s been a part of my life. I started off by telling them I didn’t necessarily care for milk growing up at first, but as I got older and started getting more competitive, I started understanding the benefits of milk, not just outside of strong teeth and healthy bones but the fuel and recovery aspect of it. It was really cool to partner with somebody who allowed me to be myself and show my personality. Also, they allow me to showcase why I think milk is important not just for nutritional reasons but physical benefits as well.
The Spun: You talked about showcasing your personality. What was it like catching a football out of cannon for Team Milk?
TM: Yeah, it was pretty crazy. It took some tries, but shoutout to the people who set that up. There was more work done behind the scenes than just that day trying to catch the ball, so shoutout to everyone involved. It was a unique experience because when I finally caught the ball it felt like everyone was cheering. You never know, you hope it works, but it’s a lot harder to judge when the ball is in the air and the wind is swirling. So, when I finally caught it, I felt like everyone on set was cheering.
— Milk (@GonnaNeedMilk) October 1, 2021
The Spun: Speaking of Team Milk, can you tell me a bit about your workout routine? Does it change every year?
TM: That’s a good question. I think you always need to be ready to adapt. It’s important to have a routine, and I developed one early at Ohio State because of Coach Meyer. He really pushed how important having a routine is – how you prepare mentally for a game, how you prepare physically for a game. There are some things I’ve taken from college and brought to the NFL, but there are also some things I learned exclusively in the NFL. It’s extremely important to be cognizant of what you put in your body and how you treat your body because the best ability in this league is availability. You want to be able to perform at the highest level when the time is right.
The Spun: You’ve played with several different starting quarterbacks. How do you continue to perform at an elite level despite the constant changes at that position?
TM: I think it’s the mindset I try to bring to the situation. Obviously, I can’t control who’s back there playing quarterback. But I can control how much trust they have in me. Getting on the same page and building my rapport with each quarterback is important to me. I’ve learned from each guy, and they’ve made me better as a receiver. One thing I learned from my receiver coach in college, Coach Hartline, is that my job is to make the quarterback’s job as easy as possible. I want them to trust that I’m going to do my job and come through for them. I kind of have a no-excuse mentality when it comes to that, no matter if it’s extra coverage or shadowing me with the best cornerbacks. I come in with the mindset of getting my job done each and every Sunday. I feel like I’ve slowly taken gradual steps every year because I don’t get complacent at all.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 19, 2021
The Spun: Were you disappointed the Dwayne Haskins era didn’t last very long?
TM: From a personal standpoint, Dwayne is someone who’s been a little brother to me. We had a relationship dating back to Ohio State, so on draft night we had all these dreams and aspirations. We did some great things together, but obviously, it didn’t work out for him here. He’s still young and I think he used his whole time here as a learning experience. He had some good things; he had some things he would want to take back and improve on. He’s got all the ability in the world and it’s cool to see him bounce back. When he gets his opportunity again, I think he’ll be ready for it.
The Spun: With Ryan Fitzpatrick out, how does the offense feel about Taylor Heinicke leading the way?
TM: The thing I try to do when there’s a quarterback change is to get on the same page with the new quarterback. We try to have those discussions, especially when we get the game plan. We want to figure out where he’s looking to throw the ball and how we want to execute certain one-on-one matchups. Obviously, we didn’t get all the reps with Taylor in the offseason because Fitz was the main guy. But what’s unique is that Taylor played with us last year, so we know that he can play ball. He’s always prepared for the moment and he’s very accountable when he mistakes. It’s cool to play with a guy who’s going to give you a chance to make plays.
Update: Terry McLaurin is still good pic.twitter.com/fjfLH0ZSAx
— Mark Bullock (@MarkBullockNFL) September 26, 2021
The Spun: Which cornerbacks do you enjoy matching up with?
TM: I like going against James Bradberry and Darius Slay. I think I’ve faced them three times or so in the last few years. Those are the unique opportunities where I get to go against a really good cornerback multiple times, and each time you go up against them it gets a little bit harder. If you get to see a good cornerback multiple times, each matchup is different. So, you have to adjust on the fly because they have film on you. It’s something I really enjoy about playing the top cornerbacks.
The Spun: Have you been able to watch your alma mater, Ohio State, and if so, what are your thoughts on Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson as prospects?
TM: I don’t miss any of those games [laughs]. I’m always trying to watch Ohio State football. It’s cool to see this year’s wide receiver unit. I think it’s the best group in the country, and I feel like the numbers would support that. Seeing Garrett do his thing is fun to watch. I think he’ll translate really well to the slot in the NFL, but he can also play outside. He’s very savvy with the way he runs routes, has unbelievable hands, and he’s great at the catch point – which is extremely important. With Chris Olave, I think he’s smooth as well but also very precise with his routes. He can run any route on the route tree from inside and outside. He can stretch the ball vertically and has great run after the catch ability. I think both guys can hear their names called very early next spring.
HBD, @TheTerry_25! 🎂🎁🎈
— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) September 15, 2021
The Spun: Were you surprised Urban Meyer signed with the Jaguars? And how long do you think it’ll take for him to turn things around?
TM: When I first saw it happen, I was somewhat surprised but not totally surprised. Coach Meyer and I have a great relationship to this day, although we don’t talk as much now since we’re on different teams. Just being the guy that he is – football is in his blood. To see him back on the sidelines doing what he loves is cool. As far as the turnaround time, you never really know how long those take. Each year is so different. We’ve seen teams go from worst to first and from first to worst, you know what I mean? What he brings to an NFL team is attention to detail, competitiveness, and the ability to focus on the task at hand. He’s a winner as well. There are a lot of differences from college to the pros, but there are some core things about football that transcend at any level.
The Spun: Is making an All-Pro team or the Pro Bowl something that motivates you?
TM: That’s a good question. I think it’s a goal of mine to make those All-Pro teams, make the Pro Bowl, and hopefully, one day, be a Hall of Famer. It doesn’t happen overnight, though. You need to have a process of improving every week. You need to be able to learn from the things you haven’t done well. I think you’ll notice the guys that make the All-Pro teams are consistent, don’t have any drop-off in production and constantly make big plays. That’s what I’m striving to do right now. I’m going to continue to work until that does happen.
Love y’all! https://t.co/lEdqihjSo8
— Terry McLaurin (@TheTerry_25) September 17, 2021
The Spun: After your touchdown in Week 2, you jumped into the crowd. How nice was it to be around the fans again?
TM: It was great. It felt good to be able to do that again. You never really know how much you miss the fans until they’re gone. It was a really tough year for the whole world, so to have the fans back out here is great. The fans make this sport what it is. To be out there in front of them at home games and away games is a blessing. Hopefully, we have a great turnout in Atlanta.
The Spun: What would be your message to Washington fans worried about the 1-2 start?
TM: We have a team that understands we have some deficiencies we need to fix, but we have a great group of leaders led by Coach Rivera at the top. We just need to do our jobs better. Offensively, we need to limit those turnovers and penalties that just hamper our drives. It’s hard to beat any team in the league with so many negative plays. So, we need to take what the defense gives us and try to execute as much as possible. We know our defense wants to play at a higher level, so we need to play complementary football.
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) September 14, 2021
The NFL world already knew what McLaurin can do on the gridiron, but his leadership skills off the field should not go unnoticed. Although he’s just a third-year player, he has provided a calm and steady voice in Washington’s locker room.
McLaurin will try to lead the Washington Football Team to a victory over the Atlanta Falcons this weekend.
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