Redskins WR Jamison Crowder survives slip, learns lessons in debut

BALTIMORE -- His first punt return didn’t go as planned, nor did his first touchdown. For Washington Redskins rookie receiver Jamison Crowder, however, it was just important -- and good -- to finally be on the field.

After missing the first two preseason games with a hamstring injury, Crowder caught four passes for 41 yards in his debut. He also returned one punt, albeit for only 4 yards thanks to a slip. It wasn’t the debut Crowder was hoping for, but it provided him a learning experience that he needed.

Entering the preseason games, Crowder, a fourth-round pick from Duke, had a legitimate chance to unseat Andre Roberts as the top slot receiver. But after missing two games Crowder just needs to get experience and show what he can do. He nearly didn’t play because of his hamstring, which coach Jay Gruden said he tweaked again earlier in the week. But Crowder obviously felt good enough to play Saturday.

He also ended up being involved in the play of the night, catching a deflected pass inside the 10-yard line that he turned into a touchdown.

“Definitely not how I expected my first NFL touchdown to be, but I’ll take it,” he said. “It was crazy. I was close to the end zone, so it worked out -- right place, right time. When I scored it was surreal. I didn’t know what to do. I was happy I was able to get my first NFL touchdown.”

What he did was simply lay the ball down in the back of the end zone and accept congratulations. No touchdown dance; just a simple exchange of high-fives and slaps to his helmet.

As for his punt return, Crowder fielded a 53-yard punt, but had three guys bearing down on him. He then slipped as he cut. He said he wasn’t worried about his hamstring at that point. Crowder had another worry.

“I was like, dang, I slipped. I’m looking bad on TV, but I’m fine,” he said laughing. “I definitely set high standards for myself and have high expectations in that area. I was disappointed in my performance there.”

Crowder worked with and against the starters, which provided him an even better education.

“A lot surprised me,” Crowder said. “That whole experience, everything moved a little bit faster. Once I got in and settled down and got a feel for the game, I played OK. Obviously I could play better. … The first few times I could have been a little better making the right reads. A few times I made the wrong read in zone coverage. That was me just being anxious playing for the first time in the NFL.”