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Can Crowder turn around Redskins' return woes?

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Can Crowder turn around Redskins' return woes?

Although Jamison Crowder is listed at just 5 foot 8, the fourth round draft pick could make a huge impact next season if he’s able to produce as the Redskins’ punt returner.

Crowder returned a total of 47 punts the past two seasons as Duke and averaged 14.5 yards per attempt. He also scored four touchdowns, including an electrifying 68-yarder in the Sun Bowl last December.

“I feel like I can help out in multiple ways,” said Crowder, who also eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving each of the past three seasons for the Blue Devils. “For one, I can come in and be the return man, punt return guy and be able to help set up the offense with good field position, score touchdowns. Otherwise, [I can] come in and be a good slot receiver as well. I can come in and make plays, and do whatever is necessary to help the team win.”

The Redskins are deep at wide receiver with DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garçon and Andre Roberts currently occupying spots 1-3 on the depth chart. Crowder might be able to join that mix as a rookie, but his best opportunity to make an impact early in his NFL career could be at punt returner because, well, the Redskins need a productive one.

Roberts got off to a decent start as the punt returner in 2014 but his effectiveness slipped down the stretch as the team slogged to a 1-7 finish. He finished tied for 19th, averaging 7.4 yards per return.

This offseason, Crowder figures to find himself in a competition with Roberts and possibly running back Chris Thompson, who returned seven punts for 36 yards in 2013.

Crowder describes himself and decisive and elusive as a returner.

“The main things I always work on are just the little things,” Crowder said.  “Making sure I deal with the ball first, make sure you take care of the little things first, make smart decisions. Be a great decision maker back there. I don’t want to have any fumbles or get hit, because you don’t want to make a fair catch when it’s too tough. Just make great decisions. That’s the main thing I always think whenever I go out on the field for punt returns. Be a great decision maker first, field the football and after that, just make the first guy miss. The rest is just natural ability, running ability.”

Coach Jay Gruden said he could see Crowder as the Redskins’ No. 1 returner this fall.

“Oh yeah, I could envision it,” Gruden said. “He’s been productive at it when he’s had the opportunity. He’s such a good receiver at Duke that they probably didn’t use him as much they would liked to have because he was such a key weapon for them on offense. But he’s the type of guy did a lot for them and he’s got the great, quick first step and he is a natural at punt returner.”

RELATED: [Redskins aimed to bolster special teams in later rounds]

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After viral 2018 scuffle, Taylor Lewan offers to make peace with Josh Norman

After viral 2018 scuffle, Taylor Lewan offers to make peace with Josh Norman

Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and Titans tackle Taylor Lewan got into a widely-discussed altercation after Washington's Week 16 loss to Tennesse last season.

But on Thursday, Lewan said he's finally ready to let bygones be bygones. 

Lewan tweeted he wants Norman to come on the "Bussin' With The Boys" podcast he co-hosts with former Redskins linebacker Will Compton to "settle our differences."

Judging by what happened last December, there are plenty of differences: Norman threw his helmet at Lewan after the latter approached him, Lewan later accusing Norman of trying to hurt Titans running back Derrick Henry.

"I'm not worried about Josh Norman, man," Lewan told reporters after the incident. "I'm an offensive lineman, he's a [defensive back]. I don't know who that is."

"I was pissed. He was trying to hurt Derrick [Henry]. That's BS. That’s not the way football’s supposed to be played, man. It’s not our fault you’re not relevant anymore."

"Why would you come to another man's sideline?" Norman said of the dust-up. "And then after you won a game, you pick fun at the player that is relevant. You go out of your way to come to his bench, his sideline, to go at him in that kind of way."

"We're not having it. We will not tolerate disrespect. That's zero tolerance for that. That was the ultimate disrespect. You just don't do that."

The incident happened months ago, so it's about time the pair made peace. And as an ex-Redskin and ex-Titan, perhaps Compton can help mend the fences. But if Norman does accept Lewan's invitation to come on the podcast, we might be in for even more verbal fireworks. 

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PHOTOS: Alex Smith makes an appearance during the Redskins' third day of OTAs

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PHOTOS: Alex Smith makes an appearance during the Redskins' third day of OTAs

Considering how serious that November leg injury was and how difficult the subsequent surgeries were, any time you see Alex Smith out, about and smiling, it's encouraging.

On Thursday, the Redskins posted a couple of pictures of Smith helping out at the team's third day of OTAs. The QB was photographed hanging out with coaches and even tossing a football:

You can't tell in the pictures whether Smith is still wearing the external fixator on his right leg, but regardless of whether he is or not, it's still great to see him in Ashburn around the organization. 

It remains unclear what kind of role Smith will have with the 'Skins in 2019. However, if he's willing, he'd be an ideal mentor for Dwayne Haskins and overall a positive influence on the entire roster, seeing as many players don't hesitate to praise the leadership he displayed in 2018.

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