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Reed's Record Performance Shocks No One


In the 81-years of Washington Redskins football, there have been a number of stellar tight ends, from receivers like Jerry Smith, blockers like Rick 'Doc' Walker and all-around talents like Chris Cooley.

All of them have earned their place in franchise history. None of them have done it as quickly as Reed.

Through the first four games of his career, Reed tallied a respectable 17 receptions for 164 yards and a touchdown. On Sunday vs. the bears, he flashed his superstar ability with nine receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown.

The performance exceeded his personal bests in every category, giving him his first career 100-yard receiving day in his fifth-career game.

For comparison's sake, it took Cooley 53 games to reach the first of only two 100-yard games in his career. It took teammate Fred Davis 44 games to get his only 100-yard game to date.

In recent history, few have managed to land in the same ballpark as Reed for instantaneous success with Tony Gonzalez needing 51 games (31 career), Antonio Gates needing 13 games (21), Jimmy Graham needing 18 games (10), and Rob Gronkowski needing 16 games (8).

Only fellow Florida Gator alum Aaron Hernandez bettered Reed's number, tallying his first-of-four 100-yard games in just his second NFL contest.

For Reed, it was obviously a career day, but also the type of performance that he hopes defines his career.

"I've never had this many catches in a game. To be honest this is my first time," he said after the game. "After the first couple games, I realized that it wasn't that hard out there, and I could do it.

"It gives me confidence because I work hard every day at practice and stay after with my coach and work on things. Just to see that it's paying off gives me great confidence that hard work pays off."

Reed has proven his value early, which validates the approach the Redskins brass took in drafting him with the 85th overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft.

"When we looked at Jordan, we felt we had a guy that was very special catching the football and very special in and out of breaks – more like a wide receiver than a tight end," head coach Mike Shanahan explained. "You could not see on film, consistently, how he blocked, so we weren't sure if we were getting a polished wide receiver or a tight end.

"Very quickly we could see that he was a very competitive player and he's done a good job in both areas. We thought he was a special player and we thought he was a first round talent, but you could not see the blocking ability, so that's why we took him when we did – and it was based on talent."

Reed was the sixth tight end selected in his draft class, falling behind Tyler Eifert (No. 21), Zach Ertz (No. 35), Gavin Escobar (No. 47), Vance McDonald (No. 55) and Travis Kelce (No. 63).

To date, he has more receptions and yards than any tight end taken before him and has as many touchdowns as the other five players combined.

Reed's teammates praised not only his natural talent, but also his execution right out of the gate.

"He's a natural receiver. He's just a natural, natural receiver," Pierre Garcon said after the game. "They put him at tight end, but he's definitely making plays, definitely catching the ball, definitely making plays and running after the catch.

"That's definitely an advantage for him."

Left tackle Trent Williams lines up alongside Reed on many plays and has a first-row seat for the blossoming of a star.

"You're watching a huge NFL talent," he said of Reed. "He's going to be a start in this league for a long time. We were blessed to get him.

"You see what he's able to do. Whenever the ball's in his hands, he's a threat."

Most importantly, Reed has the confidence of his starting quarterback, who worked out with him all offseason while the two recovered from injuries.

"I'm no tight ends coach, but I am a quarterback and I kind of know what you've got to do to get the ball thrown to you so I tried to help him in that sense," Robert Griffin III said. "He's done a good job at absorbing everything that Sean McVay, the tight ends coach, and [offensive coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] have been trying to teach him.

"He knows his stuff; he's on top of it. He doesn't have too many busted assignments. That's something that is a great thing when you are a rookie coming into a new offense."

From here, the sky is the limit for Reed, but the young tight end said he is just looking forward to taking it one step at a time without letting the spotlight get too bright.

"It felt great just to have an opportunity to be out there playing with these kind of caliber athletes feels great," he said. "To have that kind of role is awesome. I just have to keep working hard.

"The win feels better than the stats. I'm just happy that I was able to be part of a win and help us get down there at the end of the game and just come out with a win.

"I'm just trying to get open the best I can. [Griffin III]'s seeing me out there. He's throwing perfect passes, and I'm catching balls."




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