RICHMOND, Va. (AP) One of the smallest players at Washington Redskins training camp is having one of the biggest impacts on the team.
Jamison Crowder, a 5-foot-8 wide receiver drafted in the fourth round out of Duke, is winning praise for getting open and making plays.
A shoulder injury sustained by top receiver DeSean Jackson on Thursday will keep him out of action for 1-2 weeks, coach Jay Gruden said, and the injury has given Crowder and others vying for a roster spot a chance to show what they can do.
''Jamison does seem like he's getting better and better every practice,'' Gruden said. ''He's got great quickness in and out of breaks and he's got a lot more straight line speed than people gave his credit for coming out of the Combine.''
Crowder was limited Friday by a tweaked hamstring, but has been making catches on out patterns and over the middle since camp started. Gruden said it remains to be seen how he will perform in full pads and with live tackling, but he's seen nothing to give him concern.
''I don't see any fear in his eyes whatsoever,'' Gruden said. ''He goes across the middle fearless. He knows how to run every route from outside and inside already. What a great job the Duke coaching staff did with their offense and coaching their wide receivers.''
Crowder finished his college career tied with former teammate Conner Vernon for the Atlantic Coast Conference's career reception record with 283. His receptions went for 3,641 yards and 23 touchdowns, and he returned four punts for touchdowns as well.
He was among several Redskins auditioning for the punt returner's role in drills with the Houston Texans on Friday.
Crowder says the intricate offense the Blue Devils ran has helped him in making the adjustment to an NFL offense.
''It prepared me a lot,'' he said Friday before heading to the training room. ''Definitely the work load, we worked really hard at Duke and having the style of offense that we had definitely helped me to read coverages here and see different things and different option routes.''
Veteran Pierre Garcon, the Redskins leading receiver last season with 68 receptions, likes what he's seen.
''He's very quick and fast in the slot, something we definitely need, and he's been making those big plays for us,'' Garcon said.
Crowder, introduced on a radio show Friday as one of the biggest surprises in camp, said he works to deflect all that talk.
''I just try to come out here and do what I can each day and just be myself and just make plays,'' he said, adding that he never even entertained the thought that he wouldn't measure up at the NFL level.
''I'm very confident in my game and my skill and ability so I always feel like as long as I keep working on my craft, I'll be able to get open and find ways to get open. I never really had any doubt.''
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