Wide receiver Jamison Crowder will return punts and running back Chris Thompson will return kickoffs when the Redskins host the Dolphins on Sunday.
Jay Gruden said Crowder’s performance in practice convinced the coaching staff that he’s ready to handle the role as a rookie.
“He’s caught a ton of punts from Tress Way,” Gruden said. “Tress is one of the harder punters in the NFL to catch punts from. He’s gotten a lot of work [so] we don’t feel any worry.”
Crowder, who was a standout returner at Duke, took back one punt for four yards in the preseason.
Thompson, meantime, will be returning kickoffs in the regular season for the first time since 2013, when, in limited duty, he averaged 20 yards on eight attempts.
“I’m excited about it,” said Thompson, who learned that he had won the job while flipping through the special teams game plan Wednesday night.
Thompson added that he’s a much more refined player than he was two years ago.
“From 2013 to now, I see everything totally different,” Thompson said of his rookie campaign. "In ’13, all I was seeing was color when I was running instead of actually seeing guys. So I’m seeing everything a lot better now.”
Gruden added: "Because he's a running back, he hits it. He doesn't look afraid back there. Then you've got a chance to break the big one. Their kicker [Andrew Franks] booms them out of the end zone so we're probably not going to get a lot of kickoff returns anyway. But if we do, we feel good about Chris."
Jamison and Thompson will team up to replace Andre Roberts, who handled both punt and kickoff roles last season. Roberts remains the No. 3 wide receiver and figures to be the backup for both return jobs.