Through four games last season, Jamison Crowder had nearly 200 receiving yards on 18 catches and two touchdowns.
Through four games this season, Jamison Crowder has just over 100 receiving yards on 14 catches with zero touchdowns.
In his third season with the Redskins, many expected a breakout campaign for Crowder this year after the departure of Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson from the 2016 offense. So far, it hasn't happened, and Washington head coach Jay Gruden took some of the blame.
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"I think you’ll see more of Jamison Crowder hopefully. He is one of our best skill players. We have got to get him more involved in the offense. That is partly my fault, to get more balls targeted for him," the coach said.
Injuries might be a factor, too, in Crowder's slow start. The wideout has dealt with a hamstring strain as well as a hip issue in the early parts of the season, and his name has popped on and off injury reports for a few weeks. Gruden said injuries could be a part of Crowder's production, "a little bit, possibly," but the coach also wants to get more passes his way.
"Whether it’s quick game, whether it’s getting the ball out in space somehow, bubble screen, whatever it might be, I have got to get the ball to him in space more often and get him in the flow early," Gruden said.
It's also worth pointing out the Redskins offense has shown a renewed commitment to the run game this year.
In their first four games last season, the Redskins ran the ball 85 times for 372 yards.
In their first four games this season, the Redskins have run the ball 116 times for 520 yards.
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In turn, Kirk Cousins has thrown the ball much less. In four games this year, Cousins has 121 pass attempts. In the first four games last season, Cousins threw the ball 151 times. 30 fewer throws in four games, that works out to almost eight less pass plays per game.
Looking at all the factors, it's good of Gruden to shoulder some blame for Crowder's slow start. That's what good coaches do. But it doesn't seem particularly accurate.
The Redskins have been running more, throwing less, and Crowder is fighting through nagging injuries as well. Much of that could change Sunday against the Niners.
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