After recording two receptions for 21 yards including one that showed his hamstring is fully healthy, Jordan Reed got some work in before the regular season opener.
Jordan Reed felt a little rusty on Saturday before going onto the field for his first game action since last December, but the tight end quickly got back into the flow of things, recording two receptions for 21 yards in the first half of the Redskins' 31-13 preseason victory against the Baltimore Ravens.
His second catch, an eight-yard reception, was only possible after a full-extension dive on a ball placed out of reach of the defender.
Reed's hamstring, which forced him to miss weeks of practice and even the first two preseason games, held up just fine.
"Felt good to be back, man," he said after the game. "Back with my teammates and trying to help win this game."
Reed admitted that he felt his routes "kept getting stuck a little bit," but that the Baltimore game was the foundation for what he hopes is a season he can stay on the field more often.
Regardless of which quarterback is targeting him, Reed wants to make sure he can be a reliable outlet in the passing game.
That starts with getting into open space and making catches on the balls thrown his way.
"This offense is based on just being in a spot, so the quarterback knows you're going to be there," he said. "It's about footwork and things like that. You know, I've just got to be in a spot so that the quarterback can get it to me.
There were some concerns that Reed once again would succumb to the injury bug just as he did for parts of his rookie and second seasons when he was held out of the last week of training camp practices and the ones leading up the preseason game against the Detroit Lions on Aug. 20.
While some believe Reed is a talented but injury prone player, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden doesn't think the latter label should be applied to him.
"Just because a guy has a couple injuries early in his career doesn't mean they are going to happen all the time," Gruden said. "We hope it's just an occasional thing and it won't happen much. We are going to rely heavily on Jordan obviously and whoever else can step up into that role with him."
Reed was originally slated as the team's second tight end on the first unofficial depth chart, behind Niles Paul, whom Gruden complimented for his hard work fully transitioning from a speedy wide receiver into a well-rounded tight end.
But Reed is still is one of the top pass-catching tight ends in the NFL, though, and he's improving in the blocking facet, due in part to both to added weight and better fundamentals.
"Really what I've noticed is when we ask him to pass protect, he's doing an excellent job," Gruden said at training camp. "He really is. Even in the running game he's doing a good job. You can see he's got a little bit more strength, a little bit more confidence in his strength also. …He's got a ways to go in the running game and all that stuff, but I see a really big improvement out of Jordan Reed and a total package of being a tight end, not just being a receiver."