Jamison Crowder, with 415 receptions, has accomplished more in his NFL career than any New York Giants wide receiver other than Cole Beasley, who has 556 catches and 5,744 receiving yards.
I had a chance to catch up with Crowder at Giants’ training camp earlier this week. Here is the result of our conversation.
What about that one-handed catch he made on Monday?
Crowder didn’t make a catch that was Jason Pinnock-level crazy. He did reach up with his left hand to make a sweet grab of a high throw from Tyrod Taylor on a quick out.
“It’s just instinct, reaction, some of it could be the technology of the gloves nowadays. It’s crazy because the last few days I’ve been working on one-handed catches, doing some JUGS and stuff. I’ll catch 50 balls with two hands and at the end I’ll try to catch 10 with one hand. I was doing that just yesterday.
“Just working on little small things like that, you never know when it’ll come into play. Today it came into play, so I was able to make the catch.”
You’ve been around the league. Do you have to remind these young guys you can play?
“100 percent. That’s the challenging part as you get a little older in this league. I’m still young in age, but as far as league years I’m obviously a veteran. I still can play, I still can play at a high level. Right now I’m just trying to go out there and get better every day. I’ve kind of been limited right now with the reps I have. I’m just trying to make the most of those.”
Why did you start camp on NFI?
Crowder spent the first few days of camp on the Non-Football Injury list.
“Obviously, I broke my ankle last year in Buffalo. Still trying to get the mobility and the range of motion back in that ankle. Just had a little bit of calf tightness in the offseason. Wasn’t major. I think I could have [practiced] last week, but the Giants training staff just wanted to use precaution. They’re gradually working me in with some reps, so that’s all it was.”
You have 415 career catches. Yet, you are fighting for a spot. Are you till trying to earn respect?
“100 percent. To that point, there’s a few guys in the room. We’ve got a really talented group of receivers. I enjoy being around a lot of those guys. Obviously learned a lot from Cole Beasley, obviously being in the NFC East playing against Sterling Shepard. Those guys are guys I’ve had a lot of respect for even going back to my days in Washington.
“You’ve still gotta earn your respect. I never want to feel like I’ve arrived or made it to a level where I’m too good. I’m constantly trying to learn, still constantly trying to go out there and do what I can obviously to make this roster. Just compete. Whatever reps I get I’m trying to go out there and make plays.”
Are you beyond trying to figure out how the depth chart will play out?
“I’ve never really been that guy, anyway. My talents already kind of spoke for themselves. When I was in Washington I went out there and earned my spot, the Jets I earned my spot. I’m not really that guy … that’s not in my pay grade. My thing is to just go out there and control what I can control and when I get an opportunity make a play. That’s kinda my mindset.”
What’s it like seeing Sterling Shepard get another chance?
“Guys like Shep, that’s a guy that I respected his game since he came into the league. I think his first year was my second year. I think the first time we played here in 2016 he caught he caught a SLUG, an out and up and scored against us. You could see the explosiveness. I even watched him when he was there at Oklahoma, too. You could see the explosiveness, how agile and mobile he was, the explosive plays he can create. It’s always great to see guys like that get another opportunity coming back from significant injuries.
“I’ve always respected Shep. He’s a heckuva ballplayer.”
Thoughts on Daniel Jones’ career development now that you’re up close?
“Daniel, he can dissect a defense. I think that goes very underrated in his play style. He’s really good at putting the ball where it needs to be. Accurate. He knows when to put enough zip on it, when to give you a nice touch pass. He’s just a heckuva player. I’ve seen him obviously when he was at Duke, so I’ve been able to watch him for a while. I think now that he’s going into his fourth, fifth year he’s confident back there, he understands the offense, and he has control of it. I don’t expect nuthin’ but for him to have a great year this year.”
Jalin Hyatt’s development?
“Really fast. He’s made some plays. He reminds me of a DeSean Jackson, he’s a guy that can take the top off. It doesn’t look like he’s running fast, but he really slides. I think that he’ll be a very explosive weapon in this league and have a really good career taking the top off. I think he’ll definitely be a huge impact in this offense this year.”
Hyatt can’t grow that beard you have, though?
“He’s still a babyface.”
Do you still feel capable of returning punts?
Crowder has averaged 8.2 yards on 95 career punt returns. He averaged 11.1 yards on nine returns for the Buffalo Bills last season.
“It’s always going to be part of my arsenal, if they ask me to get back there and do it. Last year in Buffalo they had me doing it and I was able to have some nice returns for those guys. If they get me back there obviously I’m not opposed to doing it. It’s just something that I’ve always done, and just something that I feel comfortable doing.”
How do you look at this opportunity with the Giants?
“I always tell myself in the morning before we get on the practice field just do what I do. What have I caught, 400 and some passes, something like that? I just tell myself go out here and do what I can do. Don’t put added pressure on myself, just go out there and make plays, be a viable option for Daniel, Tyrod, whoever’s at the quarterback position, and let the decision-makers make the decision when it’s all said and done.”
[NOTE: The lead of this story has been re-written to reflect the fact that Cole Beasley was overlooked in terms of career accomplishments].