RICHMOND—Expectations for Jamison Crowder are continuing to grow after an impressive first week of training camp for the Redskins rookie.
“Jamison does seem like he’s getting better and better every practice,” Coach Jay Gruden said of the fourth-round wide receiver.
Indeed, if there’s been one player who has managed to consistently stand out through the first nine days of practice, it’s been Crowder, whose precise route running, ability to create separation and reliable hands has Gruden and his staff gushing about the Duke product’s potential.
“He’s got great quickness in-and-out of breaks,” Gruden said. “And he’s got a lot more straight-line speed than people gave him credit for coming out of the Combine.”
Just ask Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson about Crowder's underrated straight-line speed. Jackson, a five year starter and ProFootballFocus.com’s 11th ranked corner last season, got roasted by Crowder a couple of times during one-on-one drills last week. On the first play, Crowder elicited oohs and aahs from the crowd and Redskins' sideline when he made a cut that caused Jackson to slip on a moist field. On the other play, Crowder turned Jackson around and hauled in a pass over his shoulder for a touchdown. (Click here to watch both plays.)
Sure, it’s just a couple of reps in an August practice. But the dynamic 5 foot 8, 185-pounder has been doing stuff like that all camp.
The next test for Crowder will come Thursday, when he’s expected to suit up for the Redskins’ preseason opener. (I say expected because he sat out Saturday’s practice with a tweaked hamstring. The team was off Sunday, so the next update might not come until Monday.)
If Crowder does play, Gruden said he’ll be interested to see how he performs in a live situation—as a slot receiver and punt returner. On offense, Crowder is battling for a spot at a crowded position that already features veterans DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts and well as up-and-coming sophomore Ryan Grant. On special teams, he's looking to edge out Roberts.
“The one thing we haven’t seen yet is when the pads get on, and it’s live,” Gruden said, referring to Crowder. “We’ll see. I don’t know see any fear in his eyes whatsoever. He goes across the middle fearlessly. He knows how to run every route from outside and inside already. What a great job the Duke coaching staff did with their offense and coaching their wide receivers.”
Gruden added: “He came in and it’s been a really easy transition for him mentally and physically and obviously the hopes are very, very high for Jamison.”