The 5 o’clock club is published from time to time during the season, and aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.
Terry McLaurin is better than most non-Commanders fans give him credit for. They judge him by comparing him to receivers on other teams, and using receptions, catch %, yards and touchdowns as the measuring stick. Normally, that’s the right thing to do, but with Scary Terry, the comparison is rarely apples-to-apples because of what has happened at the quarterback position in Washington during his career.
2019 rookie season
Let’s go back to Terry’s first-ever NFL game. Case Keenum was the starter in Week 1 of 2019, and Terry got to play with Keenum in 8 full games that season — Weeks 1-3, 6-8, and 16 & 17. In between, the team was quarterbacked by Dwayne Haskins (Week 4 in relief, then Weeks 9-15 as the starter. Colt McCoy was the primary passer for the Redskins in Week 5. Neither Keenum nor McCoy would ever suit up in burgundy & gold again.
So much for Terry’s rookie season — the one with possibly the most stability at the QB position. Terry was healthy for 14 games and put up 919 yards and a career high 7 touchdowns.
In 2020, Dwayne Haskins managed to be the primary passer in 6 games. The last of them was the loss to the Panthers, the aftermath of which led to the end of his career in Washington, and, basically, as an NFL quarterback. Kyle Allen played in relief of Haskins from Weeks 5-7 before breaking his leg and (effectively) ending his career in Washington. Alex Smith was the most prolific passer in 7 of the final 9 games of the season to help Washington reach the playoffs, but his hobbled performance against the Eagles in Week 18 spelled the end of his career in Washington and the NFL. The postseason was a gritty one & done effort against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which Taylor Heinicke was the only Washington QB to throw a pass.
Despite catching passes from QBs #4, 5 and 6 in his career (and the 3rd, 4th and 5th to end their Washington tenures in Terry’s first two seasons), McLaurin caught 87 passes for 1,118 yards — his first-ever 1,000 yard season.
As a footnote to the 2020 season, Terry technically caught a ball from passer #7 when TE Logan Thomas tossed a 28-yard completion to Washington’s top receiver, but we’ll ignore that in our ongoing tally for the sake of simplicity.
Washington Sets the Table w/ a Logan Thomas Trick Pass to Scary Terry
The 2021 season opened inauspiciously with Washington’s starting QB, Ryan Fitpatrick suffering a hip injury in the 2nd quarter of the opener against the Chargers that ended his tenure in Washington and his career as an NFL quarterback. The season was turned over to the pylon-diving phenom, Taylor Heinicke, who started the remaining games of the season — except for Week 15, for which the starter, Garrett Gilbert, was signed on Wednesday, beginning and ending his career as a Washington signal caller. For those keeping score, that makes 8 quarterbacks throwing to McLaurin in 3 seasons, and 7 Washington QB careers ended.
McLaurin broke 1,000 yards for the 2nd consecutive year.
The 2022 season, of course, began (and from a playoff perspective, ended) with Carson Wentz behind center. He was the primary passer for the Commanders in 7 games. We have to wait and see whether the former Eagle and Colt can manage to continue his NFL career, but his tenure in Washington absolutely came to a crashing halt. Taylor Heinicke led the team from Week 7 to Week 16 before being benched for Carson in the “We can be eliminated??” game against Cleveland. Heinicke would leave Washington in free agency just a few weeks later, bringing another Washington QB career to an end. Sam Howell, in what was hopefully the first of a long string of consecutive starts for the Commanders, became the 10th quarterback (and 11th overall passer) to throw a ball to Terry McLaurin in a regular season game in his 4-year career. The body count of QB Washington careers ended stands at 9, with Carson Wentz threatening to be the 3rd QB since 2019 to end his NFL career as a starting quarterback under Ron Rivera in DC.
Of course, Terry McLaurin had his career-best production, hauling in 77 receptions for 1,191 yards and 5 touchdowns; he was one of 4 Commanders (and the only one from the offense) to receive Pro Bowl honors.
Terry McLaurin’s career statistics
Terry McLaurin has been a team captain since 2020, his second year in the league. Prior to last season, Hogs Haven members overwhelmingly voted him as the “face of the franchise” ahead of starting QB Carson Wentz, #2 overall draft pick Chase Young, and head coach Ron Rivera.
number of starting QBs the last 5 years— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) May 7, 2023
12 - WAS
9 - DEN
8 - IND, MIA
7 - CHI, JAX, NYJ, CAR, NO
6 - CLE, ARI, NYG, BAL, HOU
5 - SF, CIN, DAL, DET, NE, LAR, PIT, TEN
4 - PHI, ATL
3 - BUF, TB, LAC, KC, LV
2 - GB, SEA, MIN
When McLaurin was hoping for a big-dollar extension from the Commanders a year ago, the overwhelming message from fans was, “Pay the man!”
In dreadful circumstances, playing with a patchwork of quarterbacks, Terry McLaurin has been the model of consistency since the start of his NFL career — not only putting up 4,281 yards in 4 seasons, but doing so while never complaining and describing his responsibility in the offense being to ‘make the quarterback’s job easier’. Terry McLaurin has been a leader and a model of sportsmanship — a fiery competitor to be sure, but a player that makes fans proud to be rooting for the burgundy and gold.
What does 2023 hold in store for Terry?
In June last year, I published an article in which I projected offensive production for the Commanders’ offensive skill players. In that article, I projected Terry McLaurin to have 1,200 receiving yards and 5 TDs. I got the TDs exactly right, but missed the yardage total by 9 yards.
With Eric Bieniemy taking over at offensive coordinator and Sam Howell at quarterback, I am going back to the same well.
Last year, I predicted that the Commanders offense would rush for 1,840 yards and pass for another 4,080. The actual numbers were 1,926 (close) and 3,220 (far short of the mark).
This season, I expect the rushing numbers to be pretty similar to last season — I’m predicting about 1,900 rushing yards. I’m going with 3,900 passing yards, a bit lower than my previous projection, but considerably higher than what Scott Turner’s offense actually produced. Both numbers are well in line with what Eric Bieniemy’s Kansas City offense has produced over the past three seasons.
Last year, Terry accounted for about 36.6% of the offensive passing yards. That seems like a good number. Applying that to my projected total passing yards gives me a 2023 projection for Terry of 1,425 receiving yards. And I’m gonna increase his TD projection to 6 for this season.
So, to recap my 2023 projections:
- Total rushing yards: 1,900
- Total passing yards: 3,900
- McLaurin receiving yards: 1,425
- McLaurin receiving TDs: 6
Predict Terry McLaurin’s receiving yards for the 2023 season.
This poll is closed
1,500 or more
less than 800
Predict Terry McLaurin’s TD total for the 2023 season.
This poll is closed
9 or more
7 or 8
5 or 6
4 or less