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Duke in the NFL: Crowder continues second-half resurgence

Former Duke receiver Jamison Crowder has reestablished himself as a threat for Washington in recent weeks.
Former Duke receiver Jamison Crowder has reestablished himself as a threat for Washington in recent weeks.

Nearing crunch time in the NFL season, Jamison Crowder has gotten back on track for Washington and Ross Cockrell has steadily improved for the Giants. The Blue Zone recaps the past week for former Blue Devils in the pros. 

Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington 

Crowder continued his second-half resurgence this season against the Saints Sunday, catching seven passes for 72 yards in Washington’s overtime loss. Crowder, who was targeted eight times, has reasserted himself as one of the top receivers for Washington over the past several weeks, reaching 70 receiving yards in each of his past three games. 

But the most positive development for his role going forward is a net negative for Washington: the loss of top running back Chris Thompson and wide receiver Terrelle Pryor to season-ending injuries. With so many top options off the field, Crowder figures to be a critical option for Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins for the rest of the season, beginning with a Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Giants. 

Ross Cockrell, CB, New York Giants

One man who will be trying to limit Crowder’s production on Thursday is Ross Cockrell, who has seen an increase in snaps for the Giants over the past few weeks due to the absences of Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple. 

With Apple sitting after missing practice last week for personal reasons, Cockrell was on the field Sunday for all but one defensive stop for New York. In addition to making six tackles, Cockrell was very effective in shutting down Kansas City's receivers, as he was targeted just twice. 

As a team, the Giants defense was impressive against the Chiefs’ Alex Smith, who tossed two picks and threw for just 230 yards and no touchdowns.  Cockrell will hope to translate his solid play into more time on the field against Washington lined up against Crowder, his former teammate.

Vincent Rey, LB, Cincinnati Bengals

One week after recording six tackles in Cincinnati’s loss to Tennessee, Rey recorded two tackles before suffering a hamstring injury in the second quarter that ultimately forced him to miss the remainder of the game. 

Rey had been a point of dependability for the Bengals before Sunday, appearing in all the team’s games thus far this season. There has been no word from the team about Rey’s availability going forward. Cincinnati did not initially rule out a return to the game Sunday before downgrading him to out for the rest of the game.

Thomas Hennessy, LS, New York Jets

Hennessy and the Jets may have lost this week to the Buccaneers 15-10, but for Hennessy and many other Jets, some of the best news these past few weeks has come off the field. 

Jack Jacinto, a sixth-grader diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia this past spring who had developed friendships with several of the players on the team, was released from the hospital and allowed to return home earlier this month with his cancer in remission. Hennessy became one of Jacinto’s closest friends on the team earlier in the season, tossing a ball with the avid football fan and making sure to say “hi” when Jack got the chance to experience warm-ups with the team through a live video feed on a mobile robot earlier this year at Met-Life Stadium. 

Jacinto was released from the hospital Nov. 2, and made it to the Jets’ game that night against the Bills with his dad in time to see to Hennessy and the rest of the team before making his way home.


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