When asked about the Redskins' young offensive nucleus of Dwayne Haskins, Terry McLaurin and Derrius Guice in the lead up to Sunday's game against the New York Jets, interim head coach Bill Callahan spoke glowingly about the trio's potential.
"We’re fortunate to have a young group of players in Dwayne, Terry and Derrius," Callahan said. "I think the sky's the limit for these guys. It'll be a lot of fun, we're looking forward to it."
Check out photos of the Washington Redskins during their regular season Week 11 game against the New York Jets.
Callahan understands their development will take time, and that's been evident with all three players early in their NFL careers. However, they've also shown flashes that help explain the coaching staff's excitement for the unit's future.
That was no different Sunday against the Jets, which marked the first time they all took the field together. And despite a 34-17 defeat, each member of this young core provided a highlight-reel moment that should inspire optimism in Washington. Here are the three plays that showcased the Redskins' offensive potential:
1. McLaurin's Acrobatic Reception
By almost every account, Terry McLaurin is having a sensational first season in the NFL.
Among all rookies, the third-rounder ranks first in receiving yards per game (62.9), tied for first in touchdowns (5) and second in catches (35) and receiving yards (566).
A big part of that has not only been his speed -- something he was known for before his rookie campaign, having run a 4.35 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine -- but his route running, which has allowed him to create separation from defensive backs.
But on Sunday, McLaurin showcased a third element to his game: catching the 50-50 ball.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Ohio State product ran a go-route along the left sideline, looking to make yet another chunk play. This time, though, it would have to come with a defender draped all over him, as Jets safety Marcus Maye matched him step-for-step.
Haskins threw in McLaurin's direction anyway, putting his trust in his college teammate to make a play. And McLaurin answered the call by going up, highpointing the ball and then wrestling the catch away from the defensive back to complete one of the more memorable plays of his career thus far.
"No matter what the coverage was, Terry is getting the ball," Haskins said about the 41-yard completion that set up the Redskins' second touchdown. "That’s just him making plays and being the beast that he is. I’m glad he is on my team.”
2. Haskins' Immaculate Throw On The Run
When the Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins 15th overall in April's NFL Draft, they knew they were getting a quarterback with a big arm.
"[Haskins is] big and talented with explosive arm talent," wrote NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein ahead of the team's selection, adding that he's a "chance-taker with the arm strength to get away with some tight window throws that most in this class can't make."
In his first start at FedExField on Sunday, that ability was on full display early in the second quarter. With the Redskins trailing, 13-0, Haskins danced around pressure, stepped up in the pocket and uncorked a deep pass with the flick of the wrist that McLaurin ran under for a 67-yard gain.
Though a holding penalty negated the completion, Haskins' proved he can make a throw not many around the league can execute.
"He made a tremendous play on the one deep throw that got called back," Callahan said after the game. "We opened up the playbook a little bit, trying to give him some opportunities to get the ball down the field."
In a press conference on Nov. 13, Callahan touched Guice's versatility as a running back.
"Prior to his injury, he was doing really well in the passing game in [different] types of roles ... being able to flex him out, move him, motion him, shift him into those various alignments where we can create a matchup with it," Callahan said. "He's been productive as a screen back, a checkdown back."
In Sunday's game -- his first since Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles -- Guice demonstrated those qualities once again, making the most of a screen pass offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell dialed up for him.
With around 10 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the second-year back caught the ball about five yards behind the line of scrimmage and, almost immediately, had to get by defensive lineman Steve McLendon, the one Jets' player able to get in the Redskins' backfield.
From there, Guice followed his blockers, led by guard Brandon Scherff, to the sidelines, where he would then turn upfield and fly by the remaining Jets' defenders. Moments later, with one final cut to get by Marcus Maye, the 5-11, 225 pounder rumbled into the end zone for his first NFL touchdown.
"I felt really proud of Derrius and everything he's had to overcome and all of the adversity he's had in his career," said Haskins, who's throw to Guice also accounted for his first-career touchdown. "For him to rely on me, for me to lean on him, and for us to make plays for each other, it meant a lot for me."