While many eyes will be focused on the running back matchup between future hall of famers Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson on Sunday, there will be another intriguing matchup on the perimeter with two of the NFL’s rising young talents: Terry McLaurin and Tre’Davious White.
McLaurin will once again be a focal point of the Redskins offense, accounting for 42.7% of the Redskins passing yards, according to Next Gen Stats. White will be tasked with the challenge of limiting McLaurin’s success. The Burgundy and Gold offense has not scored a touchdown in either of the last two games, and improving red zone efficiency has been a point of emphasis all week in practice.
“We are going to look at how we can be more efficient in the red zone and score touchdowns,” McLaurin explained after the Minnesota game on Oct. 24. “We are not pointing fingers, we are just looking at ourselves in the mirror, seeing what we can do better, and seeing what is slowing us down so we can get over that hump.”
Take a look at photos from Redskins practice on Thursday October 31, 2019 before they take on the Buffalo Bills.
White already has three interceptions this season and often shadows the opposing team’s top wide receiver. He has emerged as one of the anchors on the backend of the Bills third-ranked pass defense. Standing at 5-foot-11, White makes up for his lack of size with speed and sound technique.
“He’s an aggressive corner, he’s very confident in his technique,” said McLaurin. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence.”
McLaurin is not lacking confidence himself, as he has played against some of the NFL’s top corners. McLaurin matched up against Richard Sherman -- one of the NFL’s best and most intelligent cornerbacks -- against the 49ers. McLaurin knows he will need to continue placing a heavy emphasis on route running precision -- an area he has excelled in so far this season.
“When you’re going against those guys who are really cerebral, they have the ability to jump routes,” McLaurin said. “[Tre’Davious White] can really notice splits, if you cut a route short he’s gonna be looking to jump it.”
McLaurin is confident in his speed and has shown the ability on tape to consistently blow by opposing secondaries. White will recognize that speed and have to respect McLaurin’s ability as a vertical threat.
“If you’re a guy in my case that has shown on tape that you can run by people, hopefully that keeps them honest,” McLaurin said. “You want to be able to play fast and not let them get their hands on you when they play press.”
Ohio State and LSU have produced some of the best receivers and defensive backs, respectively, by football pundits around the country. McLaurin will have an opportunity on Sunday to add to that conversation, alongside his college quarterback Dwayne Haskins making his first career start. However, McLaurin is focused solely on helping the offense move the ball downfield and getting open for his quarterback.
“I’ve been preparing to win that matchup and I know it’s gonna be a back and forth,” McLaurin said. “At the end of the day, we’re all gonna rally around [Dwayne Haskins] and try to make his job easy this Sunday, it’s a really good defense.”