In what ultimately may be Jamison Crowder’s “last call” as a Redskin, he may be poised for his most successful year as a pro.
The stars are aligning for Crowder, as he approaches the 2018 season in good health and with a new quarterback excited to feed him. Adding into the fact that his rookie contract will expire at the end of this season, it is easy to see that Crowder is primed for success.
But why this year? It’s easy to answer this question first and foremost. He’s healthy. In what many have deemed as a down year for Jamison, he accumulated 66 receptions, 789 yards, and three touchdowns. Although this shows a slight regression from the 2016 season, he was still targeted 103 times in 15 games in 2017.
Take into account he had a hamstring strain last July (reported on the 30th), and never truly recovered. With training camp currently underway, you can see that this injury occurred during the heart of practices, and he never had the time to get right.
If you ever have had a soft tissue injury, you know that the best remedy is rest and he never had the chance to do that. Instead, he toughed it out for 15 games.
Now let’s delve further into Jamison’s stats. About midway through the season, Crowder eventually became right and he started to perform to his abilities.
Starting in week seven, Crowder was targeted (13,11,8,10,7,6,7,4,7) at a significantly higher rate than he was earlier in the season.
Not surprisingly, he recorded his highest yardage outputs of the season, including a seven catch, 141 yards performance with a touchdown against the Giants. His three touchdowns came during this stretch as well.
The Alex Smith Effect
In addition to health, the arrival of Alex Smith should also produce an uptick in production. Early feedback from camp has the Smith-Crowder combination in mid-season form. And this shouldn’t be a surprise.
According to fivethirtyeight.com, Smith was the fourth most conservative passer in the NFL, throwing passes short of the first down marker 49.6% of the time. Or in other words, a check down.
But, before you counter that Smith was the league’s best deep passer in 2018, just know that Drew Brees led the league according to this metric at 53%. So it isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s just a testament to the times, the NFL views short passes as an extended hand-off for the most part.
This is why the stat above is important. Smith is known for reading his offenses from the inside out. Throughout his career he had quick outlets to distribute the ball and he (and his receivers) have largely been successful.
Vernon Davis, Travis Kelce, Jeremy Maclin, have all thrived between the hashes under the surveyance of Smith. In fact, Smith’s propensity to take the “easy look” was considered a criticism for much of his career.
Considering Crowder’s strength is his route running, his shiftiness will be rewarded because he wins quick.
When looking at Crowder, Smith will essentially have a target that’s easy on the eyes, and a comfortable outlet he won’t mind dipping into over and over. Therefore, Jamison should expect an outburst of a season and will soon be a favorite of the quarterback (if he isn’t already).
If the last nine games are an indication of what Crowder can produce, Redskins fans will be happy this fall.
If you take his last nine games (when he was healthy) and averaged them out, you see an average of 5.2 catches and 71.1 yards per game. Extrapolating that over 16 games, that’s 80 catches, 1,136 yards and 6 TD’s.
Taking the above into consideration, Crowder may be in store for a big payday at the end of the season and the NFC east may be eating crow. Pun intended.