Each day during training camp, the Redskins Blog will be highlighting one rookie as they participate in their first professional camp and try to find their way onto the final roster. Today’s spotlight is on cornerback Richard Crawford.
Richard Crawford wants a championship, and he’ll do anything to get it.
That’s what the Redskins’ rookie cornerback said late last week when we caught up with him after a morning walk-through practice.
And Crawford — the team’s seventh-round selection out of SMU — has had a strong showing in training camp so far, showing just how bad he wants to claim that eventual title.
“I want to do whatever I can to help us with a championship this year,” Crawford said. “That’s my mindset. Coach Shanahan, when we talked about it before he drafted me, I told him that’s what I’m here to do.”
Crawford said he’s enjoyed a more physical environment at practice since the shoulder pads came on for the first time July 28.
He said the advantage shifts over from the receivers to the secondary once a little hitting is allowed.
“It’s actually a disadvantage for the offense and for the receivers because we get our hands on them now,” Crawford said. “We actually like when the pads come on.”
Crawford said he last put the pads on in January.
“It’s definitely been a while,” he said.
Let it go
There’s plenty of football-related skills Crawford would like to improve upon as he watches himself on film and talks with his coaches, but most of all, he wants to get better at not letting his mistakes get the best of him.
“The thing I need to improve on, really, is kind of letting plays go,” Crawford admitted. “Because when you’re a rookie, you make mistakes, you know, but I have a tendency to get upset.”
Crawford said getting upset doesn’t affect his play, but his coaches still want him to stay more level-headed at all times.
Technical mumbo jumbo
Skills-wise, Crawford sees one area in particular in his game that needs improvement.
“Just playing the hands,” Crawford said. “Because I’m so big on playing the ball.”
Crawford said his love for the interception should be leveled with a desire to simply make a play on each pass thrown his way.
“I don’t really look in at the receiver,” he said. “I always want to look back, but they want me to start playing the hands a little bit more and practice that.”
Crawford was 5-foot-7 when he graduated from El Camino High School in Oceanside, Calif.
The major college football programs, in turn, passed on offering Crawford — a short-but-speedy defensive back and kick returner — a spot on their teams.
Two years later, Crawford — now four inches taller — had transferred from Saddleback Community College in California to Southern Methodist University, where he would continue to move up the lists of professional football scouts nationwide.
Crawford said the growth spurt didn’t touch his athleticism, but it definitely has helped on the field.
“It just helped me,” he said. “More length is better, and, you know, this game is played by inches, so all four of those inches help me.”
Richard on Josh
Crawford was college teammates with current Redskins’ rookie Josh LeRibeus, whose quirky attitude has quickly caught on around Redskins Park.
Crawford said LeRibeus was the exact same way at SMU.
And he “can’t lose” in the video game “Halo.”
“He can beat the whole team in Halo,” Crawford predicted.
Crawford said LeRibeus developed the nickname “XBox 360″ when he came into football one year at college weighing at least 360 pounds.
“He ran one of our conditioning tests and he kind of just finished and he rolled over and he was just like, ‘I can’t do this anymore,” Crawford recalled. “That’s when he started losing weight. The surprising thing was, when he was like 380, he was just as quick as he is now. It was crazy.”
But, like Compton, we don’t have a high school photo of Crawford to show you.
Fortunately, via the power of the internet, I was able to dig up this photo of Crawford from his freshman year at Saddleback Community College:
When he was showed this photo late last week, Crawford said it brought up some “real fun memories in junior college.”
“There were some struggles there, too, but it was real fun overall,” Crawford said. “I miss all my friends that I had there. I’m thankful to the coaches that I had there … I think we only lost four games in two years there, so it was pretty good.”
Five W’s and one H:
Who is the greatest California-born athlete of all time?
“I was going to say Marion Jones, but she got busted for all that stuff. So I’d really think Marcus Allen.”
What NFL player do you model yourself after?
“At first it was Jerry Rice, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders. In the modern-day game, guys like Charles Woodson, Darrelle Revis and D-Hall (DeAngelo Hall) when I was younger because he got in the league when I was like 14. I try to watch highlights of this dude named Dick ‘Night Train’ Lane — he holds the record for single-season interceptions. I really want to break it or try to, but I respect what he’s done. There’s Rod Woodson — I could go on forever — Darren Woodson, Hines Ward, Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu.”
When did you learn to tie your shoes?
“I was kind of a slow learner with that. Like 4 or 5.”
Where is your favorite fast food restaurant?
“I really don’t have one because I don’t go that much.”
Why has Mission Viejo, Calif. (near hometown of Oceanside), produced so many NFL quarterbacks?
“Coach Rob Johnson at Mission Viejo High School is a quarterback guru, so if any quarterback goes there, they’re probably going to the NFL.”
How would you describe defensive backs coach Raheem Morris?
“Funny. Real fair dude. He’s getting me better.”
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