Starting with a five-catch, 36-yard performance vs. Philadelphia in the 2013 season opener, then-rookie
Drafted by the Redskins in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Reed wasn’t expected to contribute a whole lot initially. Instead, he would learn to play a position he had only a few years of experience at from veterans like
But the former Florida Gator – who was at one point played quarterback – kept impressing.
Eventually, his consistent playmaking ability started making people realize he was much more than a project. He was ready to compete right away.
“He does have the athleticism to be a complete tight end,” said Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay, who previously served as tight ends coach. “We ask all of our guys to be more than just one-dimensional. We see the natural feel he has to the pass game. His skillset fits this offense tremendously.”
Against Green Bay Week 2, Reed recorded the quickest touchdown reception by a Redskins rookie since Chris Cooley in 2004. In Week 7, the former second-team All-SEC selection picked apart a Chicago defense with a reputation for being one of the stoutest against the pass.
By the final whistle, Reed’s monster game vs. the Bears – nine receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown – left little doubt that the Redskins made the right decision in selecting him.
“You see something special from a kid like him,” quarterback
“He’s made some big plays for us and can be a weapon (going forward).”
However, just three weeks after back-to-back 90-plus yard games, Reed suffered a concussion that would sideline him for the remainder of the season.
Working throughout the offseason to get back to full health, Reed said having the ups and downs from his rookie season has really helped his comfort level heading into year two.
“I feel more confident and I know what's coming,” Reed said. “I just feel like I know more of the offense even though there's some new offensive (schemes), it's a lot of the same plays and same running game, so it's not too much different. I just feel a lot more confident.”
Reed also knows that first-year Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has a history of helping tight ends take advantage of mismatches.
During his three seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive coordinator, Gruden got the best out of tight end Jermaine Gresham. From 2011-13, Gresham recorded 166 receptions for 1,761 yards, 15 touchdowns, leading to two Pro Bowl berths.
But Gruden also knows that Reed still needs to learn a few things before “we mention him with the great tight ends.”
“This is all new to him and really the tight end position is one of the most difficult positions to play in this offense,” Gruden said. “You have to know two tight end spots, you have to know all the patterns, all the hand signals, all the routes, not to mention all the blocking schemes and protections if you’re in protection.
“He has a lot on his plate right now, and he’s going to make a few mistakes here and there, but [tight ends coach] Wes Phillips has been working his butt of with him.”
One primary facet of Reed’s game he's been working with Phillips on has been improving his pass protection techniques.
“Coach Wes is a great coach,” Reed said. “(He’s) technical and understands the pass game, so he's been helping me a lot as far as my footwork and hand placement goes. Just the small things that make you a better blocker.”
Reed said he's looking forward to combating the dreaded "sophomore slump" this year by leaning on all the other offensive weapons surrounding him.
“It's great,” Reed said when asked what it’s like being just one of a slew of talented skill players on the offense. “The better players we have, the better we're going to be. DeSean (Jackson), Pierre (Garçon) and Andre (Roberts) are all great receivers.
“(Leonard) Hankerson's still coming off the injury and Al (
“I think we're going to be a really good offense.”