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Consistency has been a commodity largely absent from the Jets’ 2020 season. Thus their 2-13 record entering Sunday’s season finale against the Patriots (6-9) at Gillette Stadium.
Jamison Crowder has been one of the rare exceptions. The sixth-year receiver has been the Jets’ most dependable playmaker — on either side of the ball.
The 27-year-old, in his second season with the team, represents general manager Joe Douglas’ finest free-agent find to date.
Crowder enters Sunday’s game fresh off a do-everything performance last week against the Browns at MetLife Stadium — when he threw a 43-yard touchdown pass on a trick play, caught seven passes for 92 yards and rushed for 14 yards on an end-around.
About the only thing Crowder didn’t do last Sunday was the laundry.
Since the moment he arrived to the Jets after four productive seasons in Washington, Crowder has become quarterback Sam Darnold’s security blanket. Whenever Darnold is in need of a play, he seeks out Crowder.
“He’s as a playmaker, man, he’s a baller,’’ Darnold said.
“I take a lot of pride in being a reliable target,’’ Crowder told The Post after Friday’s practice. “I’ve been playing ball since I was in fourth grade. I just try to go out there and be as consistent as possible. It’s just been a knack, a God-given ability that I’ve carried for a while. Going back to fourth grade, I always had that playmaking ability. I was a little bit exceptional compared to the other kids. Then when I got to middle school and high school it was the same.
“In the NFL, I’ve been pretty consistent, being a target, a weapon for the quarterback. That’s where I try to make my money.’’
For the Jets, he has been invaluable. Thankfully, he has one more year remaining on the three-year, $28.5 million contract.
Money, though, is not what motivates Crowder most. His brother Jamaris does.
Jamaris, who’s nine years younger than Jamison, has Down syndrome, is on the autism spectrum and is non-verbal. Still, Jamison is on FaceTime every other day speaking to his brother and making him smile.
Jamaris has always provided Jamison with more perspective than your average millionaire professional athlete who takes so much for granted. In these COVID-19 times, that has been magnified.
“I’ve seen the challenges he goes through, and it’s a blessing to be here,’’ Jamison said. “It makes you sit back and put things in perspective and appreciate the many blessings I have — to play in the NFL to provide and help out my family as much as I can.
“My brother keeps me grounded. He’s a huge inspiration. Seeing the challenges he’s gone through and the things he hasn’t been able to do growing up that I was able to do … I’m playing for him. He’s been the centerpiece to my motivation to play the game. He’s been an inspiration throughout my whole journey.’’
So, in a small way, part of Jamaris Crowder was out there at MetLife Stadium last Sunday throwing that TD pass to Braxton Berrios and catching those seven passes for 92 yards.
The beneficiaries are Darnold and the Jets, who are better because of Crowder.
“He’s a good football player,’’ Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “He’s quick, he’s got a good burst, he catches the ball well, he’s got good instincts, knows how to get open, very good with the ball in his hands, hard guy to tackle.’’
Coach Adam Gase said before the Jets signed Crowder, he spoke with current 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who had coached Crowder in Washington, and, “he was really high on him, had a lot of great things to say about him.’’
“The tape showed exactly what we saw,’’ Gase said. “It was a good fit for us at the time, and I would say he’s probably been our most consistent guy over the last two years. He’s the guy that’s always where the quarterback needs him and when we need a big play, he seems to make it.’’
Running back Ty Johnson summed Crowder up this way: “Playmaker, man, plain and simple. When we need a play, he’s making plays. He’s throwing the ball, he’s blocking, he’s catching, he’s doing anything you ask him to do. He’s a dude, definitely one of the most consistent guys I’ve been around.’’
The Jets need more Jamison Crowders in 2021.
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