The last time we saw linebacker Tae Crowder on a football field he was returning a 43-yard fumble for a game-winning touchdown against Washington in Week 6. Unfortunately, just two days later, the New York Giants were stripped of their standout rookie, placing Crowder on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
Now, following his mandated three-game absence, Crowder is gearing up for a return to the gridiron.
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Crowder Returns to Practice; Ximines & McKinney Next?
On Wednesday, the Giants designated Crowder for return and announced that he will begin practicing immediately. As noted by ESPN’s Jordan Raanan “the clock is ticking on his return from injured reserve.” as the designation kickstarts a 21-day window for New York to reactivate the linebacker. If the Giants do not activate Crowder within the 21-day span, he will not be eligible to play for the remainder of this season.
However, this is not expected to be the case with the Crowder, as head coach Joe Judge has already hinted at having not only Crowder, but also pass-rusher Oshane Ximines and safety Xavier McKinney at the team’s disposal in the coming weeks.
While speaking to the media on Wednesday, Judge refused to rule out starting the 21-day clock on Ximines and McKinney as well. With that said, he acknowledged that the timeline of opening the 21-day practice window for those players will be “balanced against the reality of the Giants’ bye next week,” per NJ.com’s Art Stapleton.
Joe Judge acknowledged today that the timeline of opening the 21-day practice window for Oshane Ximines, Tae Crowder + Xavier McKinney will be balanced against the reality of the Giants' bye next week.
No reason to activate + lose a week if they're not ready to go Sunday.
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) November 10, 2020
Coach Judge discussed McKinney’s status last week with members of the media, noting that the team is very “optimistic” that we will see the second-round pick make his Giants debut this season.
We’ll see where he is in terms of the long-term, getting him back on the field. We’re all very optimistic and eager to get him back on the grass.
He’s doing a really good job in his rehab. I know the trainers are pleased with the progress he’s making. Obviously, everyone is on their own individual timetable, but I do know I see him in the weight room making progress. This guy’s in good spirits. He does a tremendous job for us in meetings, staying engaged, staying up on scouting reports of other teams.
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Crowder’s Ascension from Roster Bubble to Starter
Crowder, this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, has been anything but during his short stint in New York thus far. Buried on the depth chart this summer, Crowder was viewed by many as a longshot to even make the team, competing against three other rookie linebackers, all of whom were obviously selected ahead of him.
Yet, Crowder put his head down, went to work, and continued to make plays, much like he had during his Georgia days. The 23-year-old quickly soared up the depth chart and by Week 4 had unseated starter Devante Downs in Big Blue’s defensive lineup. Crowder would go on to start each of the next two games alongside defensive captain Blake Martinez.
In his five game appearances (two starts), Crowder recorded 18 total tackles (10 of which came in his most recent outing), one quarterback hit and one pass defended to go along with his aforementioned defensive touchdown.
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