“I get no respect, I tell ya — no respect at all”. Back in the late 1970’s through the mid 1980’s, the legendary and late, great stand-up comedian / actor Rodney Dangerfield used to always use that catchphrase to describe his on-stage persona: which was that despite being good at what he did (comedy), the people in charge of the comedy industry never would show him any respect or express any acknowledgement of his pure talent as an on-stage performer.
At the height of his fame back in a 1986 interview, he explained the origin of his “respect” trademark / gimmick:
“I had this joke: ‘I played hide and seek; they wouldn’t even look for me.’ To make it work better, you look for something to put in front of it: I was so poor, I was so dumb, so this, so that. I thought, ‘Now what fits that joke?’ Well, ‘No one liked me’ was all right. But then I thought, a more profound thing would be, ‘I get no respect.’ “
Now fast forward some 32 years later, and that famous line could equally be applied to the accomplishments in the past year and a half to Saints 3rd year CB Ken Crawley; who last year during the 2017 season was considered to be one of the NFL’s most improved players.
As noted by Canal Street Chronicles football analyst Ellias J. Williams in an article a few weeks back: Crawley tallied 54 Tackles, 17 pass deflections, and one interception last season, and at one point in Week #4, he was Pro Football Focus’ highest graded corner (click HERE to read).
Crawley went on to finish the season as the #39 ranked CB in the League overall, suggesting he played like a “high-end” #2 CB and was considered an above average player at his position.
As a result: the combination of Ken Crawley and 2017 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore became to be recognized as one of the NFL’s premier CB starting tandems; and Williams notes that the former undrafted University of Colorado star is criminally underrated at the outside boundary / “cover” corner position and became an integral part of the Saints secondary last year.
Williams even goes so far as to compare Crawley’s skill-set to former Texans and current Jaguars cover man A.J. Bouye; who Williams notes is another current undrafted free agent corner who is making the impact that Crawley made last season, and that (UDFA cornerbacks becoming among the very best players at their position) just doesn’t happen that often historically.
Yet the 6-foot-1, 180 pound Crawley as the late, great Rodney Dangerfield would say, still doesn’t get any respect — often even from some Saints fans themselves — who still (perhaps falsely) view the Washington, D.C. native as a “liability” for the much-improved Saints defensive unit of last year.
Part of that false narrative surrounding the 25-year old likely stems from Crawley being kept out of the first 2 games of the season last year as a “healthy scratch” (a player with no known injuries who is still declared inactive and held out of that week’s game) in favor of reserve player De’Vante Harris (who himself clearly struggled in Crawley’s absence); which the former H.D. Woodson High School star from our nation’s capitol, took in stride.
“I was very anxious to get out there,” Crawley said to reporters after his subsequent return to the line-up in the Saints’ win over the Miami Dolphins in London, England; in which he made a huge interception in the end zone on a momentum-changing 1st quarter play on an errant pass thrown by Dolphins QB Jay Cutler.
“But as games were going on I was taking mental reps and putting myself in a place out there and envisioning me making plays out there.”
“Just getting better.”
Ken Crawley had himself a day! pic.twitter.com/nH4pTokAlB
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 1, 2017
During his rookie 2016 season two years ago, the former Washington Post D.C. Area 2011 High School Player of the Year award winner found himself pressed into action after the Saints lost BOTH starting CB’s in Delvin Breaux and P.J. Williams.
Crawley struggled at times as all rookie NFL CB’s often do, and was even victimized a few times on some big plays, most notably in a Week #2 loss against the New York Giants.
And although Crawley’s play improved throughout the season, he was no “lock” to make the Final Roster last year coming to Camp with the return of all the Saints starters and the addition to the secondary of the team’s top 2017 Draft pick in Lattimore.
But Crawley bounced back strong with a phenomenal 2017 Training Camp, and here at Saints News Network we even listed Crawley as THE most improved player during the entire 2017 off-season.
It goes without saying that our projection was fairly accurate, given Crawley’s accomplishments when the season was finally over.
Nevertheless, as Canal Street Chronicles’ Williams cautions: at times Crawley’s ball skills at the catch point can some times leave a little bit to be desired, his slim frame can cause him to get dragged by running backs, and he doesn’t necessarily make all that many plays in zone coverage.
But the improvement for Crawley from his rookie season in 2016 to now is damn near remarkable; and clearly the lack of respect from his most vocal of detractors — again the majority of whom seemingly are from a segment of Saints fans that just seem to have a inexplicable dislike for the personable young star — would seem to be both misguided, and certainly unwarranted.
Now as we ultimately head forward and inch closer towards the eventual start of what will be Year #3 of his impressive young career thus far, Ken Crawley no doubt will be looking to silence his critics in the 2018 NFL season.
And perhaps more importantly: finally get the long overdue respect, that he so clearly deserves.