NFL PLAYER NEWS

Redskins WR Crowder to have larger role in 2017

Sports Xchange

June 07, 2017 at 9:31 pm.

May 24, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder (80) participates in drills as part of Redskins OTAs at Redskins Park. Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder (80) participates in drills as part of Redskins OTAs at Redskins Park. Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

ASHBURN, Va. — Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder has already established himself as one of the NFL’s top slot options.

With 126 receptions over two seasons, Crowder has become a reliable presence for quarterback Kirk Cousins and will play an even larger role in the offense this season following the departure of veterans Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. But he feels far from a finished product.

“My confidence definitely has to grow more,” Crowder said. “I’ve had two semi-productive years. But I’m not where I want to be. I always strive to be the best, or one of the top guys in this league whether it’s in the slot or out. I want my confidence to rise catching the football.”

Slot might not be Crowder’s primary position this season. Washington head coach Jay Gruden has said all offseason that the 2015 fourth-round pick would move to the outside in some packages and the Redskins have shown that during OTAs, including on Wednesday.

“I’ve said all along Jamison can play anywhere. He can play outside, inside. He can play running back probably if he wanted to,” Gruden said. “So we’ll utilize Jamison and try to get him more involved, not just in the passing game, but the running game.”

Crowder’s success, Gruden says, comes because he’s so quick in and out of breaks and is a versatile route-runner on vertical stems and option routes. Cousins has long said Crowder’s freakishly long arms expand his catch radius. That helps him play taller than his 5-foot-8 height. As for his confidence needing to grow?

“I don’t believe that. I think he just couldn’t think of anything to say so he said that,” Gruden joked. “Jamison has never lacked confidence in my mind. As a young football player you’re going to have some indecision here and there. I think the more you do something, the better you’re going to get at it. But as far as him lining up, thinking he can beat any defender, I think he’s confident in that regard.”