Through all of the offseason workouts, training camp practices, and yes, drama surrounding the team, two Redskins players have consistently stood out to observers and fans alike: Matt Jones and Jamison Crowder.
The third-round pick out of Florida and fourth-round pick out of Duke have had their names brought up constantly as Redskins to watch for the upcoming season. And on Saturday against the Ravens, both Jones and Crowder continued to show the flashes of potential that have people in Washington giddy over their possible impact in 2015.
Just be sure not to go and tell the running back and the receiver that they had strong performances against Baltimore, because they don't want to hear about it. In both cases, it sounds like they're their biggest critic, and when speaking post game, it felt like they were focused more on what they didn't accomplish than what they did.
"I feel like I could have played a lot better," Crowder said. "My first time out there, I was obviously anxious, nervous. I felt good overall, but felt like I could've performed a lot better."
"Overall, I felt like I played good," Jones said later, sounding a lot like his teammate. "And I could be better."
In his first taste of real game action (he missed Washington's first two preseason games because of a hamstring injury), Crowder caught four balls for 41 yards, including a tipped pass that he took in for a 22 yard score. It was a serendipitous touchdown for the receiver, though, and he wasn't afraid to admit it.
"Yeah, that was just a case of right place at the right time," he said. "Definitely not how I expected my first NFL touchdown to be. But hey, I'll take it."
But while Crowder figures to get some decent playing time at receiver — and while he looked very comfortable there during his first shot with the offense — it looks like he could really contribute on special teams as a punt returner. Against the Ravens, though, he only got one chance to return a punt, and it went for just four yards. Again, he wished he could've done more.
"I definitely set high standards for myself and have high expectations in that department, so I was kind of disappointed in my performance there," the 22-year old said. "I slipped trying to make a break. I definitely plan to do better on my next opportunity."
Saturday was Crowder's Redskins debut. It was Jones' third contest in the Burgundy and Gold, however, and he did what he's done each time he's taken the field for the Redskins thus far: stand out.
The 6'2", 230-pound tailback led his team in rushing, toting the rock seven times for 57 yards — good for an 8.1 yards per carry average. He also had one catch for 17 yards. Pretty solid night, right?
Well, Jones wasn't completely satisfied.
"I could've scored on a couple of 'em," he said.
In the grand scheme of things, hearing that Jones and Crowder aren't letting their early successes get to their head is encouraging. In the NFL, if you're not getting better, you're getting worse, and the two rookies are obviously aware of that fact.
With that being said, it's hard not to get excited over what Jones and Crowder did at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, and about what they've done ever since they've arrived to D.C, too. There's no such thing as having too many options on offense, and it certainly appears that Scot McCloughan has drafted two guys that will help out immediately.
Will Jones and Crowder admit that, though?