The Redskins offense has undergone a transformation at wide receiver. The fact that they have taller players at the position is not news to anyone who is reading this. A lot of attention has been paid to free agent signee Terrelle Pryor and to Josh Doctson, apparently recovered from an Achilles injury that derailed his rookie season.
But the starting receiver corps has not been totally transformed. There still is a spot for the little guy Jamison Crowder, who stands at 5-foot-9 and weighs 182 pounds. Working primarily out of the slot last year he caught 67 passes for 847 yards and a team-leading seven touchdowns.
While Crowder said that he likes the idea of having bigger players lining up to catch passes with him, he knows that he just has to do his job.
“For me, regardless of who’s out there, just doing what I can do and make sure I’m getting better each day and making plays whenever I get the opportunity,” he said.
Jay Gruden believes that Crowder plays as big as some of his larger teammates.
MORE REDSKINS: A LIST OF 20 FAMOUS REDSKINS FANS
“He plays a lot longer than his size,” said Gruden. “He has got really long arms. He goes up and gets balls. Sometimes he plays bigger than a taller receiver because he uses his height [and] he’s got great jumping ability and times the jumps extremely well. Some tall guys you see, they misjudge it and they don’t jump. But Jamison, he times them perfect and makes big plays.”
Gruden thinks that the team has just started to tap into the abilities of the 2015 fourth-round pick.
“I’ve said all along Jamison can play anywhere,” said Gruden. “He can play outside, inside. He can play running back probably if he wanted to, so we’ll utilize Jamison and try to get him more involved, not just in the passing game and the running game.
“He’s an excellent player, dynamic player. He just continues to prove every day why we like him so much. He’s great on option routes, he can run vertical stems. He can run just about anything you ask him to run... He gets himself open because he’s got a great feel. He’s got quickness in and out of his breaks.”
I don’t think we’ll see Crowder lined up at running back on a regular basis, although it could be a fun wrinkle every once in a while (Wildcat with Pryor at QB and Crowder at RB, anyone?).
Gruden did not mention Crowder’s punt return ability. Last year against the Ravens he took one back 85 yards to score the Redskins’ first punt return touchdown since 2008.
As of now, it looks like Crowder will continue in that role despite his value to the offense. It would not be surprising to see him get significantly more than the 99 targets he got last year as quarterback Kirk Cousins may look for a familiar receiver on the other end of his passes.