Crowder: ‘It was a lit­tle weird’ not to see Gar­con, Jack­son at OTAs

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY MATTHEW PARAS

ASH­BURN | Red­skins wide re­ceiver Jamison Crowder showed up to Red­skins Park in April and both DeSean Jack­son and Pierre Gar­con were gone. The two wide­outs signed else­where in free agency and had been the team’s top re­ceivers since Crowder was drafted in 2015.

“It was a lit­tle weird, a lit­tle dif­fer­ent,” Crowder said.

But with Jack­son and Gar­con in Tampa Bay and San Fran­cisco, Crowder is ad­just­ing to new team­mates. And while he’s played pri­mar­ily in the slot through­out his ca­reer, Crowder will also see more time on the out­side.

Dur­ing OTAs, Crowder has spent some of the time prac­tic­ing on the op­po­site side of the field of Ter­relle Pryor.

“At the end of the day, whether you’re in­side or out­side, you’re run­ning routes,” Crowder said. “That’s what a job de­scrip­tion of a wide re­ceiver is, to run routes and catch the ball. I don’t spend a lot of time on the out­side, so I don’t put a lot of thought process into it. I just go out there and play.”

Crowder’s ver­sa­til­ity, though, has served the Red­skins well. In 2015, the for­mer fourth-round pick had 59 re­cep­tions for 604 yards, which set a fran­chise record for most re­ceiv­ing yards for a rookie. He emerged in the slot and used his speed to blow by de­fend­ers, de­spite be­ing only 5 foot 9.

Last year, Crowder had 67 re­cep­tions for 847 yards and caught seven touch­downs in­stead of two. Of those seven touch­downs, four of them were for more than 25 yards, mak­ing Crowder a re­li­able op­tion for mak­ing a play when it was needed. Crowder also re­turned an 85-yard touch­down as a punt re­turner.

Red­skins coach Jay Gru­den said Crowder gets him­self open be­cause of his feel for the game, us­ing his quick­ness

in and out of breaks.

“He plays a lot longer than his size,” Gru­den said. “He has got re­ally long arms. He goes up and gets balls. Some­time he plays big­ger than a taller re­ceiver be­cause he uses his height [and] he’s got great jump­ing abil­ity. Some tall guys you see, they mis­judge it and they don’t jump. But Jamison, he times them per­fect and makes big plays.”

Crowder has set­tled into a rou­tine by now. He has spent OTAs try­ing to get back into the rhythm of foot­ball and fur­ther try­ing to im­prove him­self.

Gru­den will again be the call­ing plays af­ter for­mer of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Sean McVay was hired to coach the Los An­ge­les Rams, but the move doesn’t mat­ter to Crowder. He said he doesn’t see much of a dif­fer­ence and has never fo­cused on it any­way.

In­stead, Crowder has spent his time get­ting to know Pryor and Brian Quick, who was signed as a free agent in March. Both re­ceivers stand 6 foot 4 and Crowder said their height adds more of a dy­namic fac­tor to the of­fense, with Pryor and Quick be­ing able to go up and grab balls.

Asked if their height will help Crowder, the re­ceiver said he thought so.

“We’ll have to see re­ally once the sea­son gets here,” Crowder said. “But I think with big­ger tar­gets out there, it def­i­nitely helps me out with the stuff in the mid­dle.”

Wash­ing­ton Red­skins re­ceiver Jamison Crowder is ex­pected to spend more time on the out­side af­ter years in the slot.

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