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McLaurin: Fitzpatrick Is "Empowering" Washington's WRs

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Terry McLaurin makes a catch during Washington's first practice of training camp. (Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)

It's already become obvious to Terry McLaurin that if Ryan Fitzpatrick makes it a point to tell him something, it's probably for a good reason.

"You feel his ability to get you in the right play," McLaurin said, "and know he's going to come to you."

Each of Washington's quarterbacks have their specialties directing the offense. For Fitzpatrick, that comes in the form of helping others thrive with him as the signal-caller. That much has been apparent since the start of OTAs, and fans got a firsthand look at his leadership to start training camp. That gives McLaurin and the rest of the receivers a boost of confidence, which should help the unit make strides this season.

"He really does a good job of empowering us," McLaurin said, "and also putting us in good situations to be successful."

"Empowering" is an accurate way to describe Fitzpatrick's overall approach to the game. It's a "pay it forward" attitude that motivates the 17-year veteran to put his teammates in the best possible situation to thrive on the field. The receivers are already familiar with how he likes to build chemistry, which is to make throws based on where he thinks they need to be and then discuss the reasoning for it.

Another way of doing that is by simply directing the offense based on what he sees from the defense. This is where Fitzpatrick's nearly two decades of experience working in different schemes comes in handy. If he sees something that may not be good for the play the offense is about to run, McLaurin said, he knows how to get the receivers into the best route possible.

Fitzpatrick has given McLaurin suggestions on the smaller details of the game, such as using his leverage to beat defensive backs, that he's never thought of before. And when he points it out, "it just makes all the sense in the world."

"It's been really nice, actually getting the springtime with him and OTAs because we got the opportunity to kind of work out some kinks and now we're starting to fine tune things."

Fitzpatrick has confidence, McLaurin said, not just in himself, but in his teammates to make plays. The quarterback isn't a "rah-rah" kind of person, but when he makes a big play, it's felt by the entire offense. Players can feel his ability to put them in the right play, and they know when he's looking their way. Case and point: Fitzpatrick's deep shot to McLaurin during team drills for a chunk play downfield.

"As a receiver, you just want a chance and a guy who's smart, who has confidence in his guys," McLaurin said. "I think that just kind of just matriculates down throughout the offense. You got to find a lot of confidence with everybody from the lineman to the skill players through the quarterback."

It's certainly a positive that Fitzpatrick is putting his faith in Washington's receivers, but it's only part of the equation. The receivers need to make sure that faith is rewarded, and McLaurin knows he and his fellow wideouts have the talents to do that.

"That's where the rest of the receivers come in," McLaurin said. "It's not just me, it's not just Curtis Samuel. We got a lot of guys fighting for positions that are really going to help us this year. If all of us can help, the better it is for our offense, the better it is for me, the better it is for the whole team."

Washington wants to get more production from its wide receivers; it's why it invested in Samuel, Dyami Brown and Adam Humphries this offseason. For them and the rest of the position, McLaurin wants them to have a "new year" mentality and come into the season with something to improve. It's how he's made progress in his career, and if they all adopt that philosophy, it will go a long way in showing Fitzpatrick they can be reliable options for him.

"I'm really excited [for] what he brings to the table," McLaurin said.

Each day during training camp in Richmond, Washington is featuring a different 2021 season home game and giving you an exclusive deal on single game tickets to that matchup. Follow this link to get the deal of the day.

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