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Returning Comes 'Naturally' For Jamison Crowder

With a plan set in place to bolster every facet of their special teams unit, Jamison Crowder hopes to be the Washington Redskins' answer in the return game.

Could Jamison Crowder be the next great returner for the Redskins, joining the ranks of guys like Brian Mitchell and Mike Nelms?

Check out these photos of Duke wide receiver Jamison Crowder, the Redskins' 105th-overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

He certainly believes he can be, and proved in college that if given the time to maneuver around coverage, he can be a major weapon on special teams.

During his career at Duke, Crowder returned 44 kickoffs for 930 yards along with 65 punts for 869 yards and four touchdowns – the most all-time in school history.

The Redskins, meanwhile, have not recorded a punt return for touchdown since the 2010 season when Santana Moss returned one 80 yards for a score. Last season, they averaged just a little more than seven yards per punt return.

"Punt returns are something that, you know, I've been doing since middle school ball and high school ball," he told Larry Michael in a recent "Redskins Nation" appearance. "I led the state one year, my junior year I believe, and then in college, I was given an opportunity to go back there and field a few punts and returned a few. In college, punt return was a weapon we used, special teams as a whole was a weapon that Coach [David] Cutcliffe and Coach [Zac] Roper, the special teams coordinator, thought was a weapon for us. It was, and punt return is something I enjoyed doing. I feel like I can get the football in open space and make things happen…[and] score touchdowns."

Punt return is a craft only few have been able to perfect over the years.

Outside of guys like Mitchell, Nelms and former Chicago Bear Devin Hester, most players that return kicks and punts don't usually make a career out of it.

While Crowder certainly wants to make noise on offense as well, the 5-foot-8, 185 pounder said a lot of what he does, especially when it comes to punt return, comes "naturally."

"The most important thing is just fielding the football," he said. "You always want to have ball security and make smart decisions back there. You definitely have to get a feel for the gunners, here they call them flyers, but guys that are coming down. A lot of that comes from watching film and film study throughout the week."

And if he's given time to make moves in the open field, he'll burn the coverage.

"You have guys that get down there fast, you have guys that get jammed up at the line, so if they get jammed up at the line, I get a little bit more time and be a little more aggressive," he said. "Just watching film and getting a feel for the punt coverage. But first and foremost is always ball security, making sure you catch the ball and making smart decisions."




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