Here is what you need to know on this Monday, September 28, six days before the Redskins host the Eagles.
Jordan Reed off to a hot start
The Redskins are getting what they need out of Jordan Reed.
Going into yesterday’s games, the third-year tight end led the NFL with 14 receptions for first downs (having played three games with most of the rest of the pass catchers having played two). He has 19 receptions for 241 yards and a touchdown. Over a 16-game season those numbers project to 101 catches for 1,285 yards and five touchdowns.
Reed and Kirk Cousins got together for what was perhaps the team’s most important play so far this season. With the Redskins leading the Rams by just a touchdown and facing third and four in their own territory midway through the fourth quarter. Reed ran an option pattern down the middle, Cousins hit him with a perfect pass and the Redskins had a first down in Rams territory. The went on to score the clinching touchdown.
Reed had a chance to make a couple of other important plays last Thursday against the Giants. Twice in the first half, when the game was still competitive, he beat his defender in the end zone. But Cousins was not as sharp has he had been just a few days earlier and he underthrew both passes. Instead of the score being 15-6 at halftime it could have been 15-14.
And he has improved his weakest area on the field, blocking. “You saw Jordan Reed I think had his best game as a tight end as a blocker by far that I’ve been with him,” said Jay Gruden after the Rams game. “He’s starting to buy in obviously which is huge. They understand that it’s going to open up everything else down the road for us. So far everything has been positive.”
I know exactly what the readers here are thinking—as long as he stays healthy, he’s great. But he can’t stay on the field.
And that’s fair. Going into this season he had been on the Redskins’ roster for 32 games. And he was either on injured reserve or listed on the injury report for 17 of them, over half.
Then when he missed a good chunk of training camp and all but one preseason game with a hamstring, it was “here we go again”. He made it through the season opener but in practice for Week 2 he suffered a pulled quad that had him questionable for the Rams game.
When asked how Reed suffered the injury, Jay Gruden simply said, “Running,” in an exasperated tone of voice. The head coach seemed to be in the “here we go again” frame of mind, too.
But he played against the Rams with no apparent ill effects with six receptions on six targets for 82 yards, including the key play noted above. And he played well four days later against the Giants.
Of course, three games played constitute baby steps. There is still a long way to go. Sometimes players go through their careers an have difficulty staying on the field. Others might start out perpetually injured and then learn how to take care of their bodies better. We will see where Reed falls in that spectrum. In the meantime, he should continue to help the Redskins’ offense.
—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:45 a.m.; Jay Gruden news conference and player availability after practice, approx. 12:45
—Days until: Eagles @ Redskins 6; Redskins @ Falcons 13; Redskins @ Jets 20