With Jordan Reed's status in question after suffering a concussion, the Redskins could turn to Derek Carrier at the tight end position.
With tight end Jordan Reed's immediate status up in the air, Derek Carrier could be looking at an increased workload for Sunday's NFC battle between the Washington Redskins and Atlanta Falcons.
The Washington Redskins on Friday, Aug. 21, 2015, announced the acquisition of tight end Derek Carrier. Take a look at his NFL career in photos.
Listed as the team's No. 2 tight end on the unofficial depth chart, the Beloit College product was acquired by the Redskins via trade on Aug. 21 after both Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen suffered season-ending injuries. Now, Reed is out indefinitely with a concussion, as well as a sprained knee and ankle.
So how is Carrier feeling after just a month and a half with his new team?
"Very comfortable," Carrier told reporters on Wednesday. "Each week just grow in comfortability [with] how things are going. Like I said, since the beginning, been picking up on little details every step of the way."
Carrier said the Redskins are "anticipating Jordan being out there," but know there's a possibility he will not be able to play against a currently undefeated Falcons team.
"We're preparing as if he wouldn't be [ready]," Carrier said. "So have all the hope that he's going to be out there with us on Sunday, but if he's not we'll be ready."
Reed has been in-sync with Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins all season, as the third-year Florida tight end leads the NFL in first down receptions (18) and ranks first in the NFC in receiving yards (278) from the position and receiving yards per game from the position (69.5).
Filling those shoes won't exactly be easy.
"Obviously Jordan's a great player, that's without question," Carrier said. "But our goal is to be as prepared as we can on Sunday, and do what we can do to help the team win. "
While Carrier is a different player than Reed, the way the offense has been operating through the first quarter of the season allows tight ends to be pass-catching targets for Cousins.
"It's definitely part of the offense," Carrier said. "It's also technique, but part of the offense will move the tight end around and get them a lot of opportunities to create mismatches and make big plays."
Redskins head coach Jay Gruden admitted that tight end may be the most difficult position to grasp concepts outside of the quarterback, but Carrier has been a quick learner and is "one of our pleasant surprises."
"We have a lot of personnel groupings," Gruden said. "Heck, when we're playing two tight ends, he could play the Y or U. When we're in three receivers, he's the Y, but when we're in three tight ends he could be the V, the Y or the U. That's a lot to learn for a guy and he's done a excellent job. Wes [Phillips] has done a great job of teaching those guys – he and [Anthony] McCoy. They'll both be ready to go and if have to use [Tom] Compton a little bit we could possibly. But, I feel good about the two we have if Jordan can't go."
While Atlanta has yet to record a loss thanks in large part to their high octane offense that heavily features Julio Jones, their pass defense ranks among the worst in the NFL, as they give up more than 305 passing yards per game.
This could bode well for a Redskins offense that appears to have momentum in their favor following a 90-yard game-winning drive against the Philadelphia Eagles.
"Whenever you get on the field, you just want to relax," Carrier said. "Let the plays come to you and do everything you can out there to help the team win and that's just what I did last weekend."