Jay Gruden eager to give Jamison Crowder bigger role

With the departures of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon this offseason, there will be a bevy of targets available in Washington. One player who figures to benefit from the Redskins shaking up their receiving corps is Jamison Crowder.

The 5-foot-8 dynamo led all Redskins wideouts last season with seven touchdowns. Crowder racked up 847 yards on 67 grabs, and also was tops on the team with 383 yards after the catch, per Pro Football Focus. He provided Kirk Cousins with a nice security blanket primarily in the slot, but his role could expand this campaign.

"I've said all along Jamison can play anywhere," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said, via The Washington Post. "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." 

Around The NFL's own Marc Sessler hailed Crowder as his Redskins pick for a first-time Pro Bowl nod. As Sessler noted, all seven of Crowder's touchdowns last season came from the slot -- which only trailed Sterling Shepard's eight, per PFF.

Despite elite production over the middle of the field, the belief around the Redskins' coaching staff is that Crowder can also be explosive on the outside due to the fact that he has no problem overcoming his small stature.

"He just continues to prove every day why we like him so much," Gruden said. "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. He plays a lot longer than his size. 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."

With Gruden's willingness to line up him on the outside, inside and even in the backfield, Crowder figures to be a crucial chess piece in the Redskins' aerial attack going forward.

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