RICHMOND — You know who's having a fantastic training camp? Jordan Reed. You know who's not having a fantastic training camp? The people who are being asked to cover Jordan Reed.
The two dominant storylines here revolve around the three-man QB competition and Trent Williams' absence. If you search beyond those, however, Reed's performance through three practice days has to be the most important development.
Reed's 2018 season was disappointing, but not for the usual reasons. The tight end appeared in 13 out of 16 contests, which was the second-most of his six-year career. However, he wasn't much of a factor, totaling 54 grabs, scoring only twice and posting his lowest catch-rate as a pro by far.
If July Jordan Reed can stay in the groove he's in right now and then become September Jordan Reed, though, expect 2019 to go much differently.
"He's always looked good to me, but he looks phenomenal right now," Jay Gruden said during a Saturday presser. "He's a special player and he can be used all over the place."
No. 86's explosion seems to have totally returned, and he's running his routes so smoothly. He credits that to the fact that he's had a full and healthy offseason, which is a pleasant change for someone who's usually dealing with something once Washington's schedule wraps up.
"I feel a lot different," he explained. "I was able to train this whole three months leading up to camp. Before, I was just trying to walk again and just getting out of the boot and things like that. I feel a lot better not dealing with as much pain, and I feel stronger."
To win beginning in Week 1, the Redskins will likely have to follow the path that helped them start off 6-3 last year. That means featuring the running backs and trying to take over the clock.
But still, the signal caller who claims the starting job will have to throw at some point, and a dynamic, back-to-his-old-self Reed would be an enormous boost.
The wide receivers are mostly young and unproven, and while there's hope a couple of them can emerge, it doesn't appear that any of them will be game-changers. Reed, meanwhile, showed in 2015 and 2016 he absolutely can be a game-changer. He's the only pass catcher on this roster who could really dominate weekly.
Now, the 29-year-old will likely miss some matchups for the Burgundy and Gold; at this point, you just have to operate under that assumption. But if he can give Gruden 13 appearances again, and play at the level he looks to be at currently, then the potential of the offense changes quite a bit.
It's very intriguing to follow what's happening at quarterback. It's very fun to imagine what this loaded backfield could do on the ground. Do not overlook Reed, though. And if you are, it feels like he's about to remind you how dangerous he can be.
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