When he is on the field, Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed completely changes the dynamic of the Redskins offense. His 6-foot-2 and 245-pound frame makes him a challenging task for opposing defensive backs to slow down, especially when the Florida product is assigned to run fade routes towards the corner of the end zone, an area where he has great success throughout his career.
However, Reed's highlight-reel type plays have been limited recently, starting in only 13 games over the last two years. Reed was forced onto the Injured Reserve list last season with a hamstring injury, which stemmed from fractures in his toes. During the winter, he had sesamoid bones removed from both of his feet during the offseason in hopes to give him back that explosiveness that Redskins fans have seen in previous years.
Prior to his arrival at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va., Reed had yet to step back onto the practice field. The six-year veteran made his return Thursday for the Redskins' first official practice of training camp, looking like he hadn't missed a beat.
"I'm really excited about this season," Reed said. "I feel like our offense is going to be much more explosive. I'm excited to see where we go.
"It's almost like being a rookie again. It's really exciting."
The Washington Redskins conducted their first day of training camp practice Thursday, July 26, 2018 at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
With so many players returning from surgeries this offseason, many of the staples surrounding the Redskins offense are tasked with not only getting back into football shape, but establishing chemistry with the man who will serve as one of the leaders of the locker room in quarterback Alex Smith.
The 14-year veteran has said he's still learning new things about Matt Cavanaugh's offense, but has progressed greatly since his official arrival to the organization on March 14. His connection with Reed holds a great amount of weight when determining the Redskins offensive outlook this season, mainly because Smith has relied greatly on his No. 1 tight ends in the past, including current Redskins tight end Vernon Davis from the duo's time together with the San Francisco 49ers.
"We're still getting to know him," Reed said. "It's been a couple of months now, so we still have a lot more to see. From what I see, he's a great leader. He knows what he's doing and he's exciting to play with."
Even with Thursday marking their first official appearance together on the practice field, their experience should allow them to form a relationship before the Redskins open their season against the Cardinals.
For the Utah product, he understands what things need to be said in order for him to become the top voice among the Redskins locker room, and hasn't disappointed thus far. It's encouraging to know Smith has no problem with inserting himself into this position, and though Reed only participated in individual drills Thursday, he's hoping to make progress every day.
"I think the coaches and the training staff is always great," Reed said. "Every time we get a second, we get some work in with Alex [Smith] and get some work in with Kevin [Hogan] to where it's not detrimental to our body because we're not on the field."
This first practice brought out plenty of smiles and excitement for anyone sporting the Burgundy and Gold, and as Smith prepares for the team's first padded practice in months this weekend, he's very much looking forward to targeting a new tight end.
"Really excited to start that process, like I said, I've watched a ton of film, played against him [Reed] and I know what kind of player he is, you know, I mean, he is truly, truly unique, gifted special player, and it's hard to put it into words," Smith said. "He is a unique guy at the tight end position that can do so many things - route running with the ball in his hands after the catch. He is often times the guy that it doesn't really matter who's lined up against him, you know, linebacker, safety, corner, I mean he is a guy that I think has the skills set to win against all these positions so, yeah, we just got to get him back into full."