Jamison Crowder was open and in Sam Darnold’s sightline for what would have been a short gain. But Crowder could see there was no one to his right.
Crowder darted toward the opening, caught Darnold’s pass 1-yard beyond the line of scrimmage and with no Giants near him, he ran down the right sideline for 27 more.
Three plays later, Darnold and Crowder hooked up for a 3-yard touchdown in Thursday’s first preseason game. It didn’t take long for Darnold and his new slot receiver to get going.
It was a small sample size — one series, two targets and without Le’Veon Bell — but Darnold-to-Crowder is something Jets fans and the rest of the NFL probably should get used to seeing and hearing.
“Jamison’s a great player,” Darnold said. “He’s got such a good feel out there. You could tell in practice just the way he runs routes. Some of the option routes that he runs, they’re so clean and for me they’re really easy to read.
“I felt there was a big hole there. He could have sat that down and continue to sit or he could have gone to that area. I felt there was a massive hole over there, and he obviously felt it, too. It was really cool to be on the same page there and I was able to dump it off to him for a big gain.”
The Jets — who return to practice Sunday after two days off — signed Crowder to a three-year, $28.5-million deal to fill a huge role on the team and in Adam Gase’s scheme.
Gase is going to open up the offense, and the slot receiver has been a big part of his system. In Gase’s three seasons as Miami’s head coach, the slot led the team in targets, catches and receiving yards each year.
Jarvis Landry was thrown to 292 times and caught 206 passes in his two seasons playing for Gase. The two feuded and Landry was traded to the Browns. But Gase’s system was one of the big factors in Crowder, 26, leaving the Redskins after four seasons to sign with the Jets.
“In this offense slot guys had success,” Crowder said. “That was one of the things that really caught my attention. I just felt this was the right place at the time. I’m glad to be here and I’m ready to get out there and make plays for the team.”
Everything about the Jets is a work-in-progress with so many new players on both sides of the ball, a new head coach, defensive coordinator and general manager. But the Jets offense has weapons. If they live up to what they’ve been hyping, they should be much less predictable than in past seasons and much more difficult to defend.
It starts with the improving Darnold. He now has Bell in the backfield as well as the versatile Ty Montgomery. With Bell expected to garner plenty of attention, it should open up the field for wide receivers Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa, and Crowder.
Gase plans to take advantage of those openings, and knows Crowder will be able to create and find some on his own.
“Any time you have a slot that can get open versus man-to-man like he can, but then he has great awareness in zones,” Gase said. “He fits in this offense well. He can do all the things you need him to do. He’s got something about him. He’s a veteran player that just knows how to get it done for the quarterback.”
“Jamison is a pro, he’s a vet,” he said. “I like to call him a basketball player out there. He’s really shifty, understands leverage. He’s really good for us in the middle. Then when he lines up outside and gets a good matchup, it’s hard to guard him.”
Crowder totaled 221 receptions for 2,628 yards and 14 touchdowns in four seasons with the Redskins. Slowed by an ankle injury last season, Crowder played in just nine games, catching 29 passes for 388 yards and two scores.
But after Crowder caused a little scare early in camp when he rolled his ankle, he has been healthy and looks forward to connecting a lot more with Darnold in what has been a slot-driven offense.
“I feel like it fits me,” Crowder said. “It opens up ways for guys in the slot to get the ball and make plays, as well as guys on the outside. I think it’s a good offense.
“Each day I try to go out there and do my job. I’m trying to learn this offense as quickly and as much as I can. I feel like I can have a solid role.”
Truesdell signed, Derrick Jones waived
The Jets signed tight end Nick Truesdell and waived cornerback Derrick Jones, a 2017 sixth-round pick. Cornerback continues to be an area of concern for the Jets. GM Joe Douglas could bring in some players for tryouts.
Jamal Adams knows how to make an entrance and exit. The third-year safety rode a motorized bike to his news conference Tuesday. When he was done, Adams got back on the bike, sped off and wentinside the Jets building. He says he rides it “through the hallways, to breakfast, to lunch, to dinner. Guys just smile at me. A guy just told me I need a radar gun to clock how fast I’m going because I am definitely flying. I might get a ticket.” Adams rode the bike to practice last week. Safety Rontez Miles posted video of it on his Instagram page.