Any opinions expressed in this article do no necessarily reflect the opinions of the team.
The Washington Football Team has a chance to improve its record to 3-2 with a home matchup against the New Orleans Saints this weekend. Here are three players who could have pivotal roles.
There's no denying it. Terry McLaurin has been a gravity-defying, electrifying talent over the past four games. Washington fans already knew this, of course. But after the third year-wide receiver helped propel the team to a late win against the Falcons last weekend with two touchdowns and 123 receiving yards, which pushed him to seventh among pass-catchers, pundits and armchair experts from Beverly Hills to Bethesda are celebrating his ability.
Looking ahead to Sunday's game, it seems the Ohio State product will have another big opportunity to terrorize an opponent with his specific strengths. McLaurin's 25 receptions are tied for sixth-most in the league. Meanwhile, the Saints have among the least-effective defenses when it comes to getting stops on plays in the air. New Orleans has given up 283.3 yards per game, which ranks 27th in the league.
This kind of matchup should have McLaurin itching to get on the field.
The Washington Football Team finishes its week of practice leading up to its Week 5 matchup against the New Orleans Saints. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Karlee Sell/Washington Football Team)
While McLaurin's been a difference-maker for the Washington offense this season, Cole Holcomb has been an explosive catalyst on the other side of the ball. The linebacker and his mullet rank fifth in the league with 41 tackles. He also comes into the game flying high after a stellar outing in Atlanta in which he delivered a team-leading nine tackles.
Holcomb's skill at bringing opponents down will be critical for Washington against New Orleans. The visitors come into FedExField with one of the league's top rushing offenses, averaging 132.8 yards per game.
On Wednesday, Washington announced that tight end Logan Thomas was placed on the Injured Reserve list with hamstring injury he picked up in the first quarter of the Falcons game. Ricky Seals-Jones got word of the news about his teammate during a press conference.
"He's a guy in our tight end room we all look up to," Seals-Jones said. "Now, it's next man up."
As it turns out, Seal-Jones is the player Washington will turn to for the foreseeable future.
For that reason, the fourth-year tight end will be one to pay attention to against New Orleans. Seals-Jones has already shown this season that he can make big plays when it counts. His touchdown against the Giants was instrumental in Washington's Week 2 win.
Not to mention, his teammates and coaches have expressed confidence in his ability to fill the offense' Thomas-sized hole. McLaurin said the second-string tight end is elusive, possesses steady hands and is ready to seize his moment while offensive coordinator Scott Turner called Seals-Jones' performance against the Falcons "outstanding."